BUTERA, Marie L.
January 31st, 1934 - July 4th, 2021
“Winning tournaments and games is wonderful but, what it’s all about, really, is seeing the kids develop through school and athletics and live a good life.”
This statement, made by Marie in an interview with her then, 11 year old great nephew, defined her mission as a dedicated teacher and coach for many years to come. While many would go on to further achievement in the athletic realm, she hoped that her instruction and the experience she provided impacted all she met in a meaningful way. Her passionate lessons on the fundamentals, fitness, improvement, teamwork, sportsmanship and “winning attitude” continue to resonate among those she has touched. In this way, her many beloved student-athletes, friends, and family members will ensure that the “winning” never ends.
On Sunday, July 4th, 2021, Marie passed away peacefully following a long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease. While this disease gradually stole a lifetime of cherished memories, she has now won them all back as she moves on to her eternal home.
Born to the late Santo and Concetta Gentile Butera on January 31st, 1934, Marie was the second of four children. She went from motivating games of tag in their Brighton neighborhood to convincing teachers in high school to allow girls to participate in activities only offered to boys.
Desiring to become a teacher after graduating from Brighton High School in 1951, she chose to attend Sargent College at Boston University. During this time, particularly during the “Sargent Camp” held each summer, Marie gained entry and instruction in a variety of sporting activities. She loved and excelled in all of it, grew fiercely competitive, and went on to compete at the highest levels of field hockey and lacrosse available at the time.
With her BU degree in 1955, Marie went on to be a dedicated physical education/wellness teacher and coach in Weston for 38 years, until her retirement in 1994. A devoted member of her family, her only hiatus from coaching occurred in 1988 when she took a year to care for her beloved mother. Over her tenure, she coached many sports, but was most revered for developing the highly competitive field hockey (402 wins, 54 losses) and lacrosse programs (237 wins, 70 losses). She started the girls’ lacrosse program in 1958 (before the boys even had one), making it the first public high school lacrosse program in the state of Massachusetts. Her 84% winning percentage in field hockey, including multiple undefeated seasons, ranks her within the top 15 in wins nationally to this day.
Beyond her competitive success, Marie prided herself on her teams’ outstanding sportsmanship, which was often noted by her peers in the coaching community. Among her numerous accolades as a coach, she was the first woman to be named the Sons of Italy Coach of the Year, was a (3x) Boston Globe Coach of the Year, a recipient of two BU Hall of Fame awards, and was recognized by the National Federation of Interscholastic Coaches for Excellence in Coaching (in both Field Hockey and Lacrosse). While her list of honors as a coach is extraordinary, her true impact extends her coaching legacy well beyond the trophies and plaques, and into the hearts of her beloved players.
Along the way, Marie fell in love with the game of golf. Her passion for this new game and fondness for the beach motivated the purchase of a cottage in Mashpee and her membership at the New Seabury Country Club. Like with everything else she competed in, she was a phenomenal golfer, winning her own club championship over twenty times, including her final time at the young age of 72. Marie spent most summers on the Cape honing her “fundamentals” and playing (and winning) many tournaments. While she served on the Executive Committee of the Women’s Golf Association, her greatest joy was introducing this newfound love to her family and friends.
Marie was a passionate, decorated sportswoman and coach who courageously forged her own path through a time when women did not have the same opportunities they have today. She was a pioneer, a fierce competitor, and a deeply loyal friend. And in her own humble, classy way, through the people she has touched, she was an inspiration...not just to break barriers, work hard, get outside, and exercise...but to be a kind soul and live a “good life.”
Marie was predeceased by her beloved parents, her dear brother and sister, Santo Butera and Celia “Ceci” O’Toole, her brother-in-law, Guerino Lucente, her great niece, Cici Vachon, and many dear friends, particularly Eleanor “Ellie” Cosgrove, and her long-time partner Ed Connolly.
Marie is survived by her sisters, Sally Butera Lucente and Mary Butera, her brother-in-law, Patrick O’Toole, and her nieces and nephews, John and Caryn (O’Toole) Vachon of Medfield, P.J. and Amy O’Toole of Millis, Robert and Nadia O’Toole of Newton, John and Cathy Butera of Norfolk, Diane Nozawa of Brighton, Joan LaVoie of Walpole, Paul and Diane Butera of Newton, Rick and Donna Lucente of Norfolk and Wayne (Marlow) and Laura Lucente of Framingham. She is also survived by her seventeen great nieces and nephews, many of whom play lacrosse and other sports, carrying on her love and legacy.
On Thursday, July 15, 2021, a visiting hour will be held in the Robert J. Lawler & Crosby Funeral Home, 1803 Centre St., WEST ROXBURY from 8:30 to 9:30am. Followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Theresa-Avila Church, 2078 Centre St., West Roxbury, at 10 A.M.
Interment will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the “Marie Butera - Empowering Women through Sports - Scholarship Fund” via GoFundMe at:
https://gofund.me/8ea823c9. This fund will be used to establish an annual scholarship award for a deserving student-athlete at Weston High School.
To send flowers to Marie's family, please visit our floral store.