The Aug. 21, 2013 Platteville Journal included a photo of Eila Butterworth of Platteville celebrating her 100th birthday at the Platteville Golf & Country Club.
Six years later, Butterworth is celebrating her 106th birthday today where she lives, Park Place in Platteville.
When asked what turning 106 was like, she said, “I don’t know what it’s like until it’s been.”
When asked how someone gets to almost 106, she said, “All these people say what’s your secret? I don’t have any secret.”
Butterworth was born in Whiting, Iowa. She graduated from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, with a home economics degree.
“It was the Depression, and very hard to get a job,” she said. “I got a job in Blairsburg, north of Ames, and taught there two years,” she said. “I got a scholarship to the University of Arizona, and got my master’s there” in home economics.
Butterworth also met her future husband, Arthur — who as a Wisconsin Mining School student helped design its logo in 1912 — while she was in Arizona. She moved to Washington, D.C., to work as an editor for the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Butterworths married on Easter Sunday 1939, and at the end of their honeymoon came to Platteville, where Arthur started Electrons Inc., a chemical products company, in 1940. They built a house on Dayley Avenue. She helped raise Arthur’s son, Arthur, Jr., and worked at UW–Platteville.
“I lived a typical life in a small town,” she said. Her activities included bridge. She joined Volunteers In Service To America when she reached 60.
Arthur Butterworth died in 1961, and Arthur Jr. died in 1977. Both are buried in Greenwood Cemetery. Before her husband’s death, the Butterworths designed a headstone from a large rock, acquired from a farm, that looks like a calf lying on its side.
Eila Butterworth has lived in Park Place since 2016, where she said she is “perfectly satisfied here.” Her friends there include a woman who lived across the street from the Butterworths and babysat Arthur Jr.’s best friend.
“I’d say they’re older than me, but they’re not,” she said. “My relatives have all died and my friends are here.”
She walks with the use of a walker.
“I smashed this ankle but good, so I spent a lot of time in therapy,” she said, adding that she made sure Park Place kept her room available to which she could return. “When I still had my eyesight I like to read, but my eyesight is failing.”
Butterworth does have a daily highlight, however — her 4 p.m. glass of wine.
“There’s just nothing remarkable about me,” she said, “except that I’m still hanging around.”