Marie L. Butera, 87, of Mashpee died July 4.
Born to Santo and Concetta Gentile Butera, Ms. Butera was the second of four children. She went from playing games of tag in her Brighton neighborhood to convincing teachers in high school to allow girls to participate in activities only offered to boys.
After graduating from Brighton High School in 1951, Ms. Butera attended Sargent College at Boston University. During the “Sargent Camp” held each summer, she gained entry and instruction in a variety of sports. She went on to compete at the highest levels of field hockey and lacrosse available at the time.
With her BU degree in 1955, Ms. Butera went on to be a physical education/wellness teacher and coach in Weston for 38 years, until her retirement in 1994. She coached the field hockey and lacrosse programs. She started the girls’ lacrosse program in 1958, making it the first public high school lacrosse program in Massachusetts.
She was the first woman to be named the Sons of Italy Coach of the Year, was a Boston Globe Coach of the Year three times and a recipient of two BU Hall of Fame awards and was recognized by the National Federation of Interscholastic Coaches for Excellence in Coaching in field hockey and lacrosse.
Her hobbies included golf, and she was a member of the New Seabury Country Club, winning the club championship more than 20 times. She also served on the executive committee of the Women’s Golf Association.
Ms. Butera leaves her sisters, Sally Butera Lucente and Mary Butera; her brother-in-law, Patrick O’Toole; and her nieces and nephews, Caryn (O’Toole) Vachon of Medfield, P.J. O’Toole of Millis, Robert O’Toole of Newton, John Butera of Norfolk, Diane Nozawa of Brighton, Joan LaVoie of Walpole, Paul Butera of Newton, Rick Lucente of Norfolk, and Wayne Lucente of Framingham.
She also leaves her 17 great-nieces and -nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother and sister, Santo Butera and Celia (Ceci) O’Toole; her great-niece, Cici Vachon; and her longtime partner, Ed Connolly.
A funeral Mass was celebrated yesterday at St. Theresa-Avila Church in West Roxbury.