Elsie Covell Butler
 

 ELSIE COVELL

 
   
Elsie Melvine Covell was born January 9, 1927 on the Covell farm in Steuben County near Angola Indiana. 
   
   
She was the 5th of 10 children born to Jesse and Margaret Covell, a family which ended up being made up of an even number of 5 girls and 5 boys.  
   
 

She attended public schools and later graduated from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.  While in West Lafayette, she met William Abbott Butler, a handsome Cuban-American from Havana.  Bill Butler swept her off her feet and they were married.  While they lived in El Paso Texas, their first child, Susan was born. The family moved to New York, where the first son, William, Jr. was born.  Then, much to the delight of Bill's parents who lived in Cuba, the family settled near Havana Cuba and a second son, Jimmy, was born.  Elsie had three little ones to care for while her husband worked for General Electric in Havana.  Bill and Elsie decided that Cuba was where they wanted to build their dream home and with the help of Bill's parents set about the process of finding the perfect lot, the perfect plans, architects and contractors.  Everyone was delighted with the new home.

When the first shots were of the Cuban revolution were fired it was hoped at first that order would be restored, but soon it became evident that Fidel Castro had plans to turn Cuba into a socialist wasteland that was no place for a new Cuban-American family.  General Electric ordered the Butler family to New York for its next assignment.   The family left, without the new home or any of its contents, and without even any compensation for the home or any of its contents or even any hope of future compensation.  Goodbyes were said to Bill's parents Harold and Ofelia Butler who planned to stay in Cuba, their retirement home.  They didn't see how it could possibly get much worse and didn't want to give up their beautiful home in La Sierra.

The next assignment for the Butler family was Manila Philippines.  Elsie as usual was the glue holding the family together.  During this difficult time she discovered she was expecting her 4th child.  At the same time she realized she had to move the entire family to the other side of the world, a daunting task, facing many unknowns.  After a long plane trip of over 15 hours spread over about a day of travel, she discovered she had lost the baby and spent a difficult night in a Manila hospital while her children had to be left with a strange babysitter in a strange hotel, a situation which must have terrified her. 

Life in the Philippines after that was relatively calm after that.  The children attended school at The American School and lived in a house in a neighborhood not much unlike American homes.  Notable exception: Broken glass was glued to the walls surrounding the houses to prevent thieves from climbing the walls.  One year, Elsie asked for and got a Camaro with red interior and really enjoyed driving the kids around town.  Called it "sporty".

Sally and Joe, the last two children to be born into the family were born in the Philippines.  Sally was born in 1962 and Joe in 1965. 

In 1967, the Butler family made the front page of the Manila Herald when their sailboat road out Typhoon Wilma (Wilmeng) and was beached in Cavite after a wild night with Elsie, Bill and the three oldest children.  All three children were scared to death.  Read more about the typhoon story.

In the late 1969, the family left for Caracas, Venezuela, where they lived until about 1981.  Elsie enjoyed entertaining and frequently put together elaborate parties with bartenders, elaborate menus, and fancy attire. She also joined the Venezuelan American Association of University Women and was elected president one year.  She did quite a lot of volunteer work and was frequently out of the house playing bridge or socializing with her friends.  Overall, she seemed to enjoy her life in Venezuela.

In about 1981 the family moved to Miami, Florida. 

Elsie's first grandchild Kimberly was born in Santa Clara, California. She was so excited that she was there before the baby popped.

Lindsey, Elsie's second grandchild, was born later.

In 1984, Elsie's third grandchild Daniel was born in Austin, Texas.

Elsie passed away in 1986.

Grandchildren born after she died were: Katie , Samantha , Cody , Jessica , Mick and Kenny .

 
About 1936
About 1936
1937
June 1938
1938
Ready for School, About 1943
Age 16 - 1943, modeling Aunt Mabel's wedding dress
Scott Center High School
About 1943
 
 
 
High School Graduation, about 1945
1944 with Catherine in Washington
 
 
About 1945
 
About 1948
 
Elsie and Madeline
   
   
Lilah, Madeline, Elsie, Rose and Catherine, about 1950
Lilah, Madeline, Elsie, Leu Sellers, about 1950
   
 
 
  Click to enlarge
1950?
In Cuba, 1951
1954
1956
1956
1957
1957
1957
1957
1959
1960
1962
1962
1965
1969

In 1969, Elsie was bitten by a German Shepherd dog while going through a vacant house with a realtor.  She opened a door where the dog was and was bitten.  This is the year the Butler family moved to Venezuela.  Siboney was shipped aboard a Philippine sugar freighter to Panama. Then, Bill sailed Siboney from Panama to Caracas.

1970
1978
   
1980
   
   
1973 - Dropping Susan off at Purdue
1982 - holding first grandchild, Kimberly Marie Elder
At a Covell reunion, 1985
1125 Bella Vista, Gables By The Sea, Coral Gables, Florida
   
With Mike, about 1986
"Thoughtful mother, sister and friend.  We will love and miss you forever."
1987
1989
1998, in Texas

Kim, Lindsey, Danny, Katie, Samantha, Cody, Jessie, Mick

(not in pic: Kenny)