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Regina Fennell Butte Obituary

The following message of condolence was received from Jane Randolph Sellers when Regina Fennell Butte passed in 2011.  Jane is the daughter of Rosemary Moran Randolph.  Rosemary and Regina were classmates at Bradford High School, were Gypsy Coeds on the 1939 trip to the New York Worlds Fair and were cousins.

To the Family Of: Teresa Regina Fennell Butte

Message of Condolence: My Mom was Rosemary Moran Randolph.  My parents were great friends of your parents, and I remember how much fun they used to have when they got together.  The “Gypsy Coeds” are laughing again together today.  They were truly women ahead of their time.  What wonderful people our parents were.  What great examples for us.  They will be missed very much.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. – Jane Randolph Sellers

BRADFORD – Teresa Regina Fennell Butte of Bradford, Ill., died peacefully surrounded by family at 1 p.m. on Friday, March 18, 2011, at her Henry, Ill., residence from complications of a stroke she suffered in 2008.

Regina was born May 22, 1919, in Camp Grove, Ill., the daughter of Robert Joseph and Theresa Gill Fennell. On May 22, 1941, her 22nd birthday, she married Donald R. Butte, who preceded her in death Sept. 24, 2010.

Surviving are seven children, Donald (Helene) of Easton, Md., Ronald (Eileen) of Chillicothe, Kathleen (Raul) Grimes of Lincoln City, Ore., John (Carmen) of Dunlap, Angela (Dennis, deceased) Stange of Bradford, Mary (Stanley) Crawley of Morton and Edward (Patricia) of Pewaukee, Wis.; 28 grandchildren; and 23 great-grandchildren.

Regina was preceded in death by her parents and 10 brothers and sisters, Mary Tully, Celeste Blakeslee, Francis Fennell, Hubert Fennell, Louis Fennell, Rita Campbell, Joseph Fennell, Robert Fennell, Aileen Fennell and Gerald Fennell.

In 1939, Regina and several friends known as “The Gypsy Coeds” drove a unique 1926 Model T Ford, The Silver Streak, to the New York World’s Fair. The group included Marge and Darlene Dorgan, Winnie Swearingen, Rosemary Moran and Anne Holland. They were greeted at Dearborn, Mich., by Henry Ford, given a place to camp and shown through the Ford plant. While they were attending the New York World’s Fair, all expenses were taken care of by the Ford Motor Co.

Regina graduated from Bradford High School and from Normal School of Teaching and taught for two years at the Smith School in rural Marshall County. While raising her young family, Regina worked as a substitute teacher for Milo Grade School and St. John’s Catholic school in Bradford.

Regina’s greatest joy in life was watching her children and grandchildren as they experienced life and grew in knowledge and faith. Ever the teacher and role model, she inspired family, friends and caregivers with her spirit of living, loving and acceptance.

In 1949, as a part of the Catholic Bishops Relief Program, Regina and Don sponsored and welcomed into their home a displaced World War II Hungarian family. This developed into an enduring friendship with the Oscar and Charlotte Janky family.

Regina was a homemaker, mother and spiritual pillar of the family. She was a member of the Tiskilwa, Ill., St. Mary’s Catholic Church Altar & Rosary Society for 67 years and taught religious education for 25 years at St. Mary’s, preparing children of the parish for their first Holy Communion.

She was an avid gardener who loved her tomatoes most. She also enjoyed reading, doing crossword puzzles and playing cards. Beginning in 1982 and for almost 20 years, Regina and Don spent their winters as snowbirds in Arizona, Texas or Florida. They could be seen driving their 1927 Chevrolet Landau in local parades. She and Don were also members of the Flemish American Club in Kewanee where they enjoyed dancing. She and Don celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary in 2010.

Visitation services for Regina will be held at the Wyoming Funeral Home from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 25, 2011, with recitation of the rosary at 8 p.m. A solemn funeral Mass for Regina will take place at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Camp Grove at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 26, 2011. Interment will follow in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Camp Grove. The women of the parish will serve a luncheon at the St. Patrick’s Church Hall immediately after burial.

The family would like to thank Hospice Compassus and the wonderful caregivers for their commitment to their mother’s care.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Compassus of Peoria, 2000 W. Pioneer Parkway, Peoria, IL 61614, St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Tiskilwa or Henry, Ill., St. Patrick’s Catholic Church Cemetery Fund, Camp Grove, Ill., or to Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp, 425 W. Giles Lane, Peoria, IL 61614,

Private condolences may be sent to the family via

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