Celebrating the life of

Jean Elizabeth Smith Butcher

April 01, 1928 - April 07, 2020

Jean Elizabeth Smith Butcher

Jean Elizabeth Smith Butcher, 92, made her transition at Azalealand Nursing Home on April 7, 2020.

Born April 1, 1928, in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, Jean was the daughter of Robert and Belle Smith.  She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Health Education at State Teachers College in East Stroudsburg, and her Master’s Degree in Counseling from Johns Hopkins University.

Jean met the love of her life, Thurman Butcher, at a YWCA dance while he was in the Army. After a short courtship, they were married on February 19, 1955.  Jean then joined Thurman in Germany where he was stationed.  In 1956, they moved to Baltimore and then to Columbia, Maryland where they raised their daughter, Cheri Butcher Hester.  They greatly supported Cheri in her love for theatre and in her stage career.

Working in the Baltimore Public School system, Jean was a guidance counselor at Catonsville High School where she loved interacting and helping students.   After the Butchers retired, they moved to Savannah in 1992 where they helped their daughter and son-in-law raise their four children, who loved their "Grammy."   Jean loved to cook for them.  One of her many specialties was homemade Dill Dip and Sourdough Bread!

Jean was a member of Wesley Monumental UMC for many years.  She then transferred to Asbury Memorial UMC when her son-in-law, Billy Hester, became Asbury's senior minister.

Jean and Thurman loved to travel the world together, especially on cruises. They were also active bowlers. They cherished being with family and friends on cruise ships, in bowling alleys, at church, at their home, or anywhere else they could spend time with friends and loved ones.  Jean was known for her bubbly personality, her infectious smile, and her tremendous meals.

Jean was preceded in death by her husband, Thurman, of 63 years; and her brother, Bob Smith.  She is survived by her daughter Cheri Hester (Billy); four grandchildren: Chelsea Hester-Bradt (Chris), Christi Hester, Wendell Hester, Wesley Hester; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Ozella and Leon Walker; and many nieces and nephews.

The family wishes to express their sincere thanks to Jean's wonderful personal caregivers:

Sharon Cannon, Carmellia Allen, Carrie Henderson, and Aratavia Fulton.  The Hesters would also like to thank the staff of Azalealand and the staff of Hospice Savannah.

Due to COVID-19, there will only be a small graveside service at this time.  Plans will be made later for a Memorial Service. 

Remembrances: Asbury Memorial UMC, 1008 East Henry Street, Savannah, GA, 31401.




Aunt Jean was very likely the happiest person I ever knew. She often told the world this was so; broadcasting one of the biggest smiles whenever one was fortunate to make eye contact. I always felt better leaving a visit with her, no matter how short, than when I arrived. Throughout the years I attended school in the evening, when she and Uncle Butch lived in Columbia, MD, she "made" stop by for dinner before every class. Those evenings, the conversations we had, were always an oasis–no matter what else was going on in life. I recall she had a funny thing about funerals and kids. When my siblings & I lost our first grandparent, she took care of us. When I had trouble sleeping that first night, she made me a tomato sandwich and sat and talked about things (anything but the funeral). She's been many miles away for many years but never forgotten, always in my heart. There's a hole now that cannot be filled. But whenever I think of it, I can't help but smile, no matter what I'm doing. I believe I'm smiling back at her.

- Bob Smith, Severna Park, MD

Services under the direction of:

Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel

  • A Celebration of Life Will Be held at a later date