Honoring Marie Butera, Coach and Teacher at Weston High School
Update November 2: The video of the ceremony is now available on Weston Media Center here.
On the 50th anniversary of Title IX, Marie L. Butera, women’s athletic coach and physical education teacher who worked for Weston High School from 1955-1994, is being honored by former students from the class of 1966. A granite bench will be installed and dedicated to her memory. Butera died July 4, 2021 at the age of 84 (her obituary link can be found here).
Butera was a pioneer in women’s athletics and started teaching women’s lacrosse at WHS in 1958 when even men’s lacrosse teams didn’t yet exist. It was the first lacrosse program in a Massachusetts public school, so her teams played against private schools for many years. In field hockey, her 38-year career ended with an astounding win average of 84 percent. She was the Boston Globe Coach of the Year three times and was the recipient of many other awards.
After the news of Butera’s death was announced in the Boston Globe, it was soon posted on the Class of 1966 Facebook page. Anne (Nan) Purdy O’Pray of Laurel Springs, North Carolina, suggested the class do something to honor her memory. That suggestion brought immediate contributions from classmates all over the country, according to one of the organizers, Shelley Dunn of Portland, Maine.
Another organizer of the Class of 1966 , Penny Curtis of Topsham, Maine, noted that “Before the benefit of Title IX, Ms. Butera’s teams achieved incredible success in field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse. She taught us life skills as well as athletic skills and she is the reason I chose to go into physical education and coaching.”
Linda Kingsbury Stevens of Cape Cod, MA, said, “As a member of the Class of ’66, I was eager to help pull this dedication project together because she was such an inspiration not only in competitive sports, but as a role model for characteristics like patience, commitment, humility, and intelligence. It’s actually quite difficult to put her influence into words, but the simple fact that we wanted to create this memorial 56 years after we last had her as a teacher should speak volumes.”
The bench dedication will take place on Saturday, October 29 at 1 pm at Weston High School, 444 Wellesley Street. Ceremony participants include WHS Principal Paul Peri, WHS alumni from the Class of 1966, and Ms. Butera’s nephew, Patrick O’Toole. Later that day, at 6:30 pm, the Weston Girls Varsity Soccer team will play against Waltham in their senior night–an event one imagines that Ms. Butera would have very much enjoyed.
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Contact: WHS Principal Paul Peri at 781-786-5800 or. Shelley Dunn, Organizing Committee, at 207-773-3515