Mae Barkley Butler was born June 6, 1928 to Martha Lulamae Allison Barkley and James Aurelius Barkley in Johnson City, Tennessee. She was the youngest sister to siblings Aurelius James, Novella, Octavia, and Jesse, who predeceased her. The family was brought up in the Christian Church. After graduation from Langston High School in Johnson City, she attended Swift Memorial College and transferred to Winston-Salem State University to complete her studies with a degree in Education, 1948. She secured a job in Charlotte, North Carolina and was invited by her housemate to come to Fayetteville one weekend, where she was introduced to George Butler. They married March 18, 1949 and Mae acquired additional family of mother-in-law, Bertha Butler; sisters and brothers-in law Ernest, Louise, Annette, David, Ruth--predeceased; Pauline and Enoch remaining. She took a sabbatical from teaching for five years while she and her husband lived in Washington, D.C., as George completed studies in Dentistry at Howard University. During that time, they had births of two daughters, Janice and Dianne. They returned to Fayetteville in 1955. Mae secured a job with the Fayetteville City Schools, and during the summers earned a Master of Education from Catholic University, continuing to teach for 30 years until retirement.
In 1971, she became a grandmother to Angela, daughter of Janice. She was widowed in January 1974. After "retirement," she did not retire. She continued the work that she and George began with property investments. She had untiring devotion to St. Joseph's Episcopal Church, serving on the Altar Guild, Lay Reader, Church Treasurer, Breakfast Ministry for the homeless, and vestry. She, as well, worked in service projects to include member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc--pledging at Winston Salem State, life member of NAACP, served on Board of Adjustments-City of Fayetteville, volunteered for Meals-on-Wheels, and Community Home Health and Hospice. She also enjoyed reading, sewing and was an avid traveler. Until 2013, when Alzheimer's beset her, she worked daily as if she were punching a clock.
She is survived by her daughters, granddaughter, nieces and nephews from the Barkley and Butler families, extended family and friends. Her snappy, sassy, witty, and no-nonsense personality will be missed.