Local centenarian Dorothy, above, celebrated her 106th birthday this week. At bottom, Butler cradles her great-great-great-granddaughter Psalm Richards. Butler is the matriarch of six generations.
Friends, family gather to honor Dorothy Butler
By JANELL PARFAIT
Local centenarian Dorothy Butler celebrated her 106th birthday on Thursday at the Franklin Health Care Center and Rehabilitation Center.
She was surrounded by family and friends, which included caretakers, fellow residents, pastors, mayors, councilmen and students.
“It’s not every day somebody gets to live to be 106,” said Pastor Allen Randle Sr. of Lighthouse Missionary Baptist Church in New Iberia. “And it’s always a joy when others are willing to share their lives with those who do.”
Butler was born March 13, 1911, in Glencoe. She married Clarence Guienze and raised two children, one of whom is still alive at age 88.
“(Butler) said as a child, she grew up in the church…the Bible declares train a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart,” Pastor Randle said. “She has not departed from the grace of God.”
When asked about her secret to longevity, Butler said, “You just have to behave yourself. You have to remember the Master.”
After Pastor Randle’s speech, he led the party to sing “This Little Light of Mine.”
Butler then led the party to sing one of Butler’s favorite hymns, “Old Rugged Cross.”
“She always believed in education and reading, and she was president of the (Parent Teacher Organization,)” said granddaughter Guienzy Brent. “She was instrumental as one of the members of the Broussard-Harris Park Board.”
During the Great Depression and World War II, Butler worked as a caretaker and laundress for wealthy families in Franklin. Her work paid for her son’s college education, where he was at the top of his class. Husband Clarence Guienze was a mechanic.
One of the most amazing things Butler, or Mama Dot, witnessed was granddaughter Brent’s birth. Brent managed to survive her birth despite life-threatening complications.