We are humbled and touched by the outpouring of love. It will take us some time to respond to all of your messages and letters, but we are profoundly grateful for your love, care, and support. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Bee’s name:
Abbott Lee Butler—preferred name Bee and pronouns she/her/they/them—crossed over the Continental Divide at age 14 on a seven day back country hiking trip in Rocky Mountain National Park. Bee loved hiking. Climbing Little Whiskey Mountain in the Wind River Range during the summer she turned six, extended trips through her beloved northern Michigan camp, Hayowentha Arbutus, including a three-week Alaska adventure kayaking, climbing and hiking the Chilkoot Pass in 2018. Hiking companions would be treated to spirited conversation, including probing questions such as favorite music lyrics, what kind of animal would you be and, of course, identifying your spirit dinosaur.
Bee loved all animals, including cute animal pictures, videos and memes, but especially Bailey and all the beloved dogs who helped raise her, and Soot, a cherished cat whose loving companionship eased her final days. Hobbies included completing 1,500 piece puzzles, building extensive Lego creations and curating an amazing museum on “Animal Crossing” in addition to loving reading, music, art and movies. She created powerful collages and impactful films, including a particularly incredible one when she was just 14 weaving together Black Lives Matter images with Martin Luther King, Jr after watching the movie Selma.
Bee was a passionate advocate for the disenfranchised as well as the environment. She loved the diversity of her early childhood school, fell in love with student teaching before the pandemic brought a premature ending and dreamed of being a teacher in a Chicago inner-city school. Or a film maker or an urban sustainable farmer…
She had a 1,000 watt smile, a quirky and amazing sense of humor, and the ability to see with a wisdom beyond her years. She was always thinking about others and went out of her way to do everything in her power to listen and be there for them, even when she herself was struggling with the many challenges she faced. Bee was really bothered by how vision challenged she was both up close and at a distance (she used to express profound concern that she would never survive during a zombie apocalypse)…in truth the only one she couldn’t see clearly was herself.
Bee will be missed every day of our lives. She leaves behind her parents, her older brother, her step-siblings, her best friend, Soot, Bailey, and countless others who were touched by her all too brief presence on this earth. This spring, even as Bee was carrying burdens too great for her 18 years, she expressed gratitude that our family was always surrounded by a large, loving community of friends and family.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to one of the following in Bee’s name:
please know that there is help available, and that support and treatment can work. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a hotline for people in crisis or for those looking to help someone else.
You can call 1-800-273-8255 for help any time.