Elizabeth (Betty) Butler Gaither

elizabeth (betty) gaither
Elizabeth (Betty) Butler Gaither of Nashville, Tennessee died at her home on Sunday, October 16, 2022, after a brief battle with cancer. She was 78 years old. Betty is survived by her partner Alton Huffines, her children, Chris O’Rear (Lynda), Mike O’Rear (Julie), Casey O’Rear Wilson (Jamie), and her 11 grand-children – Rachel, Jessie, Elizabeth, Michael, Jacob, Anna Grace, Mary Catherine, Katy Grace, Johnathan, Sydney, and Dru – and her 4 great grandchildren – Mason, Michael, Malory and Jonah. Betty is also survived by her sister, Luan Butler Vinson of Pawley’s Island, South Carolina. Betty was born on May 10, 1944, in Louisville, Kentucky to Herman and Lorelei Smith Butler. Betty earned a B.S. degree from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and a B.S.N. from Belmont University in Nashville. Betty worked as a neonatal intensive care nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and later provided nursing care in at least three different substance abuse programs in Kentucky and Tennessee. Betty and former husband, Doug O’Rear, the father of her three children, were active members of First Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Woodmont Baptist and Harpeth Heights Baptist Churches in Nashville. Betty taught several Sunday School classes and she was appreciated for her insight and humor in teaching. In her later years, Betty attended Crosspoint Church and First Baptist Churches in Nashville. More recently, Betty practiced a more private spirituality and had become more ecumenical and interfaith in her beliefs. She had a generous spirit towards all people. She was a persistent advocate for the marginalized of our society and advocated for radical love for all. She appreciated the beauty of nature and enjoyed traveling when she was able to. She was an avid gardener and loved animals. She was a regular contributor to animal causes. Betty enjoyed time with her children and grandchildren and created wonderful opportunities for gatherings at holidays and birthdays. Her backyard pool was the site of many memorable gatherings. She provided opportunities for family vacations at different beaches over several years. She will be remembered for her generous spirit, her silly sense of humor, her deep faith, and her care for people and animals who were less fortunate. There will be a small family memorial service at a later date in which the family hopes to once again gather at a beach together in her honor. Memorial gifts may be made to the Nashville Humane Association at Nashville Humane Association at 213 Oceola Avenue Nashville, TN 37209 or by giving online at https://nashvillehumane.org/give/. Arrangements in the care of Compassion Funeral & Cremation Services, 6949 Charlotte Pike, Suite 104 (615) 857-955. We are proud to be West Nashville & Bellevue's only locally owned and operated burial and cremation provider.

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  1. I’ve been following Betty Sue with her terrific postings on Facebook. We would share comments frequently. She went from a sweet southern belle to a person who stood up for justice and peace. sorry that we’ve lost her. Still sweet I was hoping to see her at the reunion. what a bummer. she never said she was sick We will keep her in our heart

  2. I think of you often, sweet friend. So many memories have flooded my mind lately. Trips with you and the family to Pawley’s Island, discussions about nursing on the beach, a mutual love of Louisville, and Sue Grafton books. I will miss our talks about God over coffee or along the Greenway. I loved hearing your stories. Your generosity and kindness were ever-present. Thank you for the life you lived and the love you left behind. Thank you for your friendship, acceptance, and encouragement over the years. You saw the beauty in the smallest of things…I dedicate the song “Ordinary Miracles” to you, by Sarah McLachlan. Rest well.

  3. Aunt Betty was my favorite Aunt. She was my Mom’s only sibling (5 years younger); so when I was born, she was only 17. I thought she was the coolest, funniest person I ever knew. I looked up to her; and she looked out for me. Once, when we weren’t quite teenagers, my sisters and I spent about a week with her and my Uncle Doug O’Rear in Alabama, where they lived. We had a fun time; and listened to (a lot) of Elvis records. It was the first time I realized that there were different time zones. We made up a silly nickname for her – Aunt Body-O. She thought it was hilarious; and it stuck until we were mature enough not to call her that anymore. Growing up, we were fortunate enough to be able to spend almost every Thanksgiving with her, Uncle Doug, and our cousins, Chris, Mike, and Casey. I remember jumping in piles of leaves in Atlanta; watching Alabama football games on TV; and going to the horse races at Church Hill Downs in Louisville, KY where we cousins, uncles, and Grandaddy would place $2 bets on our favorite horses and eat sandwiches and homemade desserts packed for us by Grandmother Butler. Grandmother, Mom, and Aunt Betty got to take the day off and go shopping together while we were gone. Aunt Betty was the one who called on the phone one August afternoon in tears to tell my Mom that Elvis had died. It was 1977 and I was 16. I remember attending Aunt Betty’s wedding in Pawleys Island, SC with cousin Chris officiating at my parents home at Pawleys Plantation. We enjoyed visiting with her and the cousins and their families on the beach at Pawleys several times. When I talked to her via Face Time a few weeks ago, she still had her beautiful smile and uplifting spirit, despite her circumstances. I’m glad I was able to tell her how much I loved her and how much she meant to me. I know she’s still smiling and uplifting others with our Lord in Heaven. Aunt Betty was my favorite Aunt. Kathy (Vinson) Cates

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