Vale Norm and Beryl Butters

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Today I acknowledge the lives of two extraordinary Oatley residents, Mr and Mrs Norm and Beryl Butters, who both sadly passed away earlier this year on the same day, 10 August 2020. There are few people who have made as large an impact on the community as Mr and Mrs Norm and Beryl Butters. Norm and Beryl got married in 1956 and soon after moved to Norm's childhood suburb of Oatley, where they raised their children and together built strong relationships within the local community. Most notably, Beryl was a founding member of the Kogarah Historical Society, which works to encourage the study of Australian history and promote awareness of the history of the former Kogarah municipality. She served as president three times and held almost every office besides treasurer over the past 50 years of membership. Beryl's efforts towards the society have been honoured through the establishment of life membership to the society. She remained eager and involved throughout the organisation until the very end, which is why it sees Beryl as its "corporate memory" for passing on her years of wisdom and experience.

However, the pair's dedication to involvement in the community was not limited to the Kogarah Historical Society. Both were founding members of the Oatley Senior Citizens, which serves as an invaluable society that facilitates meetings and events for the senior citizen community of Oatley. Norm was the society's first president, despite not being a senior at the time. Beryl would also go on to serve as president. They both loved every aspect and every member of the organisation. Together they took an active role in organising activities, including bingo, bridge and even exercise sessions. They were also renowned for their special events such as Melbourne Cup lunches, Christmas feasts and bus trips throughout the community. Everyone always looked forward to those events and that is where Oatley's seniors were able to form so many wonderful memories and everlasting friendships.

It is for those reasons that at the fiftieth anniversary event—attended by the member for Parramatta—the centre was renamed the Norm and Beryl Butter's Senior Citizens Centre in their honour. Beryl and Norm have two daughters, Julie and Kerrie, who have fond memories of helping to set up function spaces and being looked after by other members of the society. Beryl was strongly involved with the Oatley Public School and Penshurst Girls High School P&C committees, where she was the secretary of both. Beryl also served as secretary of Oatley Girl Guides and Oatley's 150th anniversary celebrations of the land grant to James Oatley. They were also the adored grandparents of Matthew, Lauren, Stephen and Daniel, who are already growing up inspired by their hard work and community spirit.

In addition to their passion for community service and improving the lives of those in the Oatley area, the pair both pursued their own individual careers—Beryl being a secretary and Norm a plumber. It is a wonder as to how either had enough time to pursue such careers whilst being so involved in community organisations. This dedication further exhibits the pair's unique spirit, which will never be forgotten. Beryl loved to travel and she spent a lot of her adult years exploring new landscapes and new opportunities with her dear friend and faithful travel companion, Cath Sullivan. Betty Goodger was another close friend of Beryl's. They were never far apart and they loved to talk for hours on end. Cath and Betty were both at the service to mourn the loss of their lifelong friend, reminiscing about their younger years and the incredible memories they had all shared.

In recognition of all their fantastic achievements, they have both been awarded senior citizens Premier's Awards and they were featured inKogarah Volunteer Heroes, published by the council in 2009. Beryl was also lucky enough to receive a Centenary Medal in 2003 and Kogarah City Council's Australia Day Award for Senior Citizen of the Year in 2007. These awards only begin to commemorate and remember the legacies of Beryl and Norm Butters for their outstanding involvement in the local area. The community of Oatley is forever grateful for all their hard work, which has ensured that our community is safe, happy and enjoying of each other's company. They will be dearly missed.