The heart of our school lies in its namesake and inspiration, Mrs. Pat Butler. It is a longstanding Paso Robles tradition to name schools after local educators. Our town honors the pursuit of learning and the individuals who dedicate their lives to creating new generations of knowledgeable, talented, creative individuals. Each time we sing our school song, composed and written by Mrs. Butler, we are reminded of our unique privilege of carrying on her legacy of life long learning and involvement in education.
On May 22, 1921 in Dallas, Texas, there was born a baby girl who was given the name of Luna Belle Beachum. She was a happy child as she grew up in Dallas in a loving home surrounded by the caring and supportive Beachum Clan, who encouraged her in all her endeavors. Mrs. Butler graduated from Adamson High in 1938-40. Her next two years were spent at North Texas University from which she received a Bachelor of Music degree and both high school and elementary teaching credentials in 1942. She was involved in many activities on campus and was a member of the prestigious A Capella Choir.
The summer following her graduation she sang with and "fronted" the stage band at Radio Station WTAA in Dallas. "Saturday Leave" was presented each week in the studio auditorium to entertain the servicemen on weekend leave. This is when Lena Belle changed her name to Pat--and the name stuck. In the fall of 1942, Mrs. Butler was off to her first teaching adventure at a junior high in Ballinger, Texas, and loved it. There she met here future husband, Robert O. Butler, at rehearsals for a USO show put on by the community and the personnel at the Air Force Base located nearby. Bob was a pilot in training and also an accomplished musician. Together they performed one of Mrs. Butler's original songs on the show.
Captain Bob Butler and Luna Belle "Pat" Beachum were married in 1943 and after Bob's discharge from the Air Force moved to California. In 1952 they found Paso Robles. Both were hired as teachers and their two sons Robert A. and James C. entered a superior school district and subsequently graduated from Paso High as proud Bearcats. Both boys went on to college, led happy and successful lives, Bob as a research engineer, and Jim as an accountant and building contractor. Bob gave them two wonderful grandchildren, Kerry and Robert. Both Mr. and Mrs. Butler were actively involved in the community through their music, school, and church activities.
Paso Robles was privileged to have Mrs. Butler teach in Paso Robles for thirty years, working with her third graders whom she loved so dearly. She loved to share music with them and for years was in charge of the Pifer Christmas program. As an outgrowth of an especially good Christmas Chorus one year, she started a performing chorus called the "Minisingers." She wrote them a theme song and they were on their way. Each year a new chorus was formed and each year they were invited to sing at many local functions and events. One highlight performance was for Ronald Reagan when he was campaigning for governor. Mrs. Butler loved being in the classroom and getting to be a part of her students' daily lives and having fellow educators as her extended family. After 36 1/2 years of teaching, she retired in 1982.
During her years in Paso, Mrs. Butler has been involved in many school and community activities. She was a member of a vocal trio, "The Pifer Pipers," who sang on many PTA and service club programs. When her sons were in the High School Band, she was in charge of the Band Boosters booth at the Mid-State Fair. She appeared in Pioneer Players productions for years and was a charter member of the SLO County Chapter of Sweet Adelines, Inc., and served as their director for eighteen years. Mrs. Butler was a part of the music ministry of Plymouth Congregational Church from the time she came to Paso in 1952, having served as a choir member, director of Junior and Senior Choirs, organist, and Handbell Choir arranger and director.
Mrs. Butler held offices in the Paso Robles Teachers Association and served as the president one year. She was a worker for the Community Concert Association, on the Paderewski Festival Committee, and served as a judge in the annual competition for young piano students. She was also a member of the American Association of University Women, the Republican Women, the North County Symphony Guild, Retired Teachers Association, and was a Paso Robles Library docent.
Special recognition that Mrs. Butler has received include: the PTA Honorary Life Membership in 1962, the first Paso Robles Teacher of the Year Award in 1966, Roblan of the Year in 1985, and Honorary Life Membership from the Paso Robles Teachers Association. In 1995 she was honored as the Woman of Distinction by the Tres Condadas Girl Scout Council, Inc.
September 4, 1990, was a day Mrs. Butler would never forget. She attended the dedication of a new school in Paso Robles named in her honor -- Pat Butler Elementary School. Through the following years she has proudly attended many celebrations and activities at "her" school, judged various contests, tutored students, and been a member of the fifth grade book club.
After retirement Mrs. Butler remained active in the community and had more time for her hobbies of reading, knitting, crocheting, quilting, and spending time with her cherished friends.
Pat Butler Elementary is truly blessed to have an inspiration and role model like Mrs. Butler.
We love you, Mrs. Butler!