Rebecca Gass Butler
Rebecca Gass Butler, 58, of Reading, Penn., passed away peacefully at home March 1 after a battle with complications from colon cancer. She was the loving wife of William Butler.
A beloved professor of music at Albright College for 32 years, Becky Butler had a tremendous impact on generations of students. A shepherd and mentor as well as a teacher, she introduced many to the joys of music and rekindled that joy in others. She conducted the concert band, and served as chair and co-chair of the music department. A talented pianist and flutist, Becky was a consummate accompanist, always giving on herself to elevate the music she heard in those around her.
She received her undergraduate degree in music education and piano performance from Oberlin Conservatory and went on to earn a Master of Music degree in accompanying and chamber music at Temple University. Rebecca has been principal keyboardist for the Reading Symphony Orchestra performing keyboard parts as required, as well as accompanying guest soloists in conductor's rehearsals and performers for special symphony events.
She toured with the prestigious American Boychoir of Princeton, N.J. She accompanied the Berks Classical Children's Chorus, the Reading Choral Society and was the staff accompanist for the New England Music Camp in Waterville, Maine. Through her work as an accompanist for the Reading Musical Foundation Scholarship auditions she helped launch the careers of many talented young artists.
Becky and her husband Bill built a cabin in Monroe, Maine, which grew into a house where they spent many wonderful summers and holidays together with family and Maine friends. Becky especially liked tending her garden and swimming in their spring-fed pond.
In Pennsylvania she enjoyed time at home in her sunroom doing crossword puzzles and reading. She was also a compassionate caretaker of the family pets, which accompanied her and Bill in both homes.
Born in New York City on Oct. 7, 1955, she was the daughter of Henry Gass and the late Elizabeth Stephenson Gass. In addition to her husband, she is survived by her sister Lisa Gass of Los Angeles, Calif.; her brothers Steve Gass and wife Colleen of South Heidelberg, Penn.; John Gass and wife Kathie and nephews Ryan and Elijah of Camden, Maine; and her grandchildren Liz Kurelia and great-grandchild Teagan of Golden, Colo.; Macie Kurelia of Gainesville, Fla.; and Grace Mills of Sinking Spring, Penn.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be directed to Albright College Music Department or any of the above mentioned musical organizations. Pictures, comments and online condolences can be found at www.theocauman.com.