Obituary of Lois Alma Butz
April 17, 2018
Lois Alma Butz passed away at home in Celestial Valley on April 8, 2018. She was 93. The last of four generations of the Butz family to live in the Valley, she often said that there might be better places to live but she didn't know of any and she wasn't looking.
Lois liked hard work, corny jokes and cowboy poetry. Tearing down a motor, building cabinets and cedar decks, hunting deer or weeding asparagus were routine, but facing a new and complicated task was fun. Once an "impossible" project was resolved, she loved to recite: "Somebody said it couldn't be done…so he buckled right in with the trace of a grin…he tackled the thing that couldn't be done and he did it!"
As a young woman in the 1940s, although she didn't know it at the time, Lois tackled a bigger thing that had not been done. The Marlboro-smoking "girl" who liked to wear earrings and canvas pants became the first woman to have a career working at a saw mill. She was also the first woman member of the volunteer fire department in North San Juan. Later on she played a key role in getting the NSJ Senior Center off the ground.
Whether at Senior Center lunches or with friends and family gathered around her kitchen table, Lois shared endless jokes and stories, songs and poems that she knew by heart. At any time she could pop up with something silly: "On the other hand, she had a wart!"
Lois is survived by her sister, Thelma Gates-Jackson of Grass Valley, and a zillion friends and relations. Memorial contributions may be sent to the volunteer fire department in North San Juan or Camptonville. A celebration of life will be scheduled in June at the North San Juan fire station. Per Lois's instructions, the music will include the timeless number, "The bridge washed out, I can't swim, and my baby's on the other side."