Katharine Gorrell Butler obituary
Katharine (Kay) Butler passed away on Monday, June 17th, 2019 in Monterey, California where she had
resided since 1990. She was 94 years old.
Kay was born to Talbot John Howell Gorrell and Katharine Parmenter Gorrell in Chicago Heights, Illinois
in 1925. She grew up in the family residence on the second floor of Parkland Hospital which her father
owned and operated. She excelled in school and attended college at Miami University of Ohio. While at
Miami University she met the love of her life, Joseph Franklin Butler (Joe). They married on September
1st, 1943 in Connecticut just before Joe left to fight in WWII as an Army Air Corp pilot in the European
theater. When he returned in 1945, they settled in Kalamazoo, Michigan where they would have their
three children – Kathy, Andy, and Paul. In 1964 the family moved to San Jose, California.
After earning a bachelor’s degree from Miami University of Ohio, Kay earned a master’s degree from
Western Michigan University, and a doctorate from Michigan State University. She went on to have an
illustrious career advancing education and research on communication disorders. She held
professorships at Western Michigan University, San Jose State University, and Syracuse University. She
served two terms as president of the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association and one term as
president of the California Speech–Language–Hearing Association. She was the founder and editor of
the influential peer-review journal, Topics in Language Disorders. She was a remarkable mentor, leader,
collaborator, and friend to colleagues. Her retirement in 2005 was met with widespread expressions of
appreciation, admiration, and love within her professional community.
Kay also lived a rich life beyond her career. She was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. She
enjoyed cooking gourmet meals for her family and friends. She was the organizing force behind many
memorable family vacations and trips abroad. She and Joe traveled much of the world together,
including trips to Europe, Asia, and South America.
Kay is survived by her sons Andy and Paul, nine grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, her son-in-law
Clyde and her daughter-in-law Cindy. She is predeceased by her husband, Joe, her daughter, Kathy, and
her brothers, John and Ralph.
A celebration of Kay’s life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 14th at 10551 Hidden Mesa Pl,
Monterey, CA 93940. It will be followed by a burial at sea in the Monterey Bay.