Some members will remember Mollie Butler who was a regular exhibitor at our Art Exhibitions. As most people know, she sadly passed away last year and will be hugely missed by us all.
Mike Butler, Mollie’s son has very kindly sent me a copy of Mollie’s Eulogy which is definitely worth reading. Mollie was not only a talented artist but had many other talents. She was obviously a very busy lady throughout her life.
I hope everyone is keeping well and busy painting pictures for our next online art competition in March. I am looking forward to seeing the entries!
Stay safe everyone.
From Sara Hargreaves (MAC Exhibition Secretary)
Born in 1934 to her parents, Sam and Elizabeth, Mollie was an older sister to Jean (not present) and spent the majority of her life living in the Ilkley area with the last 25 years being spent in Menston.
Today, she will be missed by you all, but especially her sons Paul and Mike, her daughters-in-law, Caroline and Rebecca and her grandchildren, Emma and Andrew, and Nicole, Ollie and Fin. Julie, you have lovely memories to cherish too. Her nieces, Carol, Tracy and Christine will also sadly miss a much-loved aunt.
Mollie has made many friends over her long and outgoing life – and today friends from her loves of singing and art represent the many who, over the years must have enjoyed knowing such a dynamic, able and friendly person.
It has been really interesting to spend time talking with Paul and Mike – both of whom have introduced me to the life Mollie has lived. As Paul put it, ‘Anything she turned her hand to, she excelled in’. And there was so much!
At school and college, Mollie thoroughly enjoyed sport and particularly excelled in athletics. It would be a couple of decades before anyone could beat her sprint records.
It was perhaps through her love of sport that resulted in Mollie meeting her husband Alan…who himself was a successful amateur racing cyclist. The couple married in Ben Rhydding in 1957 and were together for 52 years before Alan sadly passed away in 2009.
Mollies vocation in life was teaching, even setting up her own school in Ilkley on Grove Road, before returning to state education and eventually becoming a department head at Benton Park Secondary School in Rawdon. Even in retirement she continued to tutor children continuing her love of helping with learning.
There must be many who remember their time as students under the teaching of this inspirational woman – not least those from Ilkley Grammar School, who walked for a month in Iceland with her. By this time, Mollie was already a successful film-maker and made a film of that trip.
She was a keen amateur cinematographer and member of the Mercury Movies club in Rawdon - winning an amateur film making “Oscar” (Movie Maker Magazine) in 1981 for the film “Magnum Opus” – and an IAC (Institute of Amateur Cinematographers) International award in 1976 for the film “A Game for 3”.
Her creativity was also expressed through art, and she became an accomplished artist and member of Menston Arts Club. Later in life she discovered her interest in Chinese brush painting and was a member of the Chinese Brush Painting Society. She made many friends through pursuing this hobby. She was painting almost to the end. (Two paintings will be on display (1 x Chinese Brush painting of birds and another painting of Grandaughter Nicole and Husband Alan)
I know you will also miss Mollies voice. She made many friends through her other passion which was singing and most recently sang with both St Oswalds Church Choir Guiseley and the Fairfax Singers.
And there were other examples of Mollie’s high achieving too. Just a couple of other snapshots include, making a German friend and learning to speak German fluently within a year – and being a published author of children’s short stories in 1965. Mollie set herself no limits it seems.
For Paul and Mike, there will be so many family memories of growing up with an inspirational mum – not least, the family holidays -taking the caravan to destinations including North Berwick, Seahouses, Bamburgh and Cornwall, sometimes including film making, as Mollie loved nature and filming seabirds gave her great satisfaction.
You’ll remember the times of setting off in your pyjamas to sleep on the back seat of the car, arriving with bleary-eyed parents at a far-flung part of the country. Your parents would sleep in the caravan whilst you boys were allotted the tent by the side.
You remember your mum as being someone who always encouraged you – not least by her example, I imagine, to be your very best selves. She encouraged you especially in sport and the arts, as were her own passions. It was such a happy childhood – something to be thankful for in itself.
As a grandma (or G-Mol, even referring to herself as G-Mol reflecting her early struggles with gmail!) she has been deeply loved and very formative in the lives of her grandchildren.
Emma and Andrew, you have both known the encouragement of G-Mol with your own shared love of creativity, be it animation, painting or other artistic expression.
Nicole, you will remember sitting with your Grandma reading and her encouraging you with your studies. Ollie and Fin, travelling to see G-Mol was always an adventure - her house was like a hotel for you, and there will be great memories of days out on the moors or at Bolton Abbey.
There have been some lovely family occasions – and the younger generations should definitely keep up the fun and games after Christmas dinner in her honour.
As Mollie got older, Paul has shouldered the majority of care and I know how grateful Mike is for this, living further away. It has not always been easy! Mollie’s fierce independence has meant that whilst she has always appreciated help she rarely asked for it - and would often go out of her way to demonstrate that she didn’t need it!
Mollie would spot that something would need doing in the house and before you could even get in your car, Paul, your Mum would have contacted several tradesmen!
There were still adventures to be had, even in later years, and as Mollie loved the sea, a very special trip back to northeast a couple of years ago must have been so enjoyable for her. The Farne Isles and Bass Rock looking magnificent on a calm day…
Less demanding pleasures included enjoying a cup of tea and a slice of Yorkshire Curd tart from Betty’s – and she loved visiting flower shows at Southport, Harrogate or Burton Agnes. Paul, you would say, ‘Oh, I like that red one’ – to which your mum would respond with the Latin name.
Let me finish by quoting from a paper I was reading about Chinese painting; “An artist's technique is particularly important, the brush must be gripped in a certain manner, and the artist must be fluid in his posture, sturdy but flexible. The brush as well must maintain elasticity with resilience …”.
It seems to me that these words sum up something of what you have told me of Mollie– fluid yet sturdy, flexible yet resilient.
A hugely talented, motivated, purposeful and independent lady; always sociable, always successful; always able to reinvent herself and find new pleasures – has left us. She is deeply loved and will be sadly missed.