Missions advocate dies at 95, leaves a ‘no regrets’ legacy of being on mission

Missions. It’s a story Marguerite Butler went looking for and once she found it she just couldn’t stop chasing it. 

It all started with a tornado, she told The Alabama Baptist back in 2017. It had rolled through Guin in 1973 and almost wiped the town off the map, but what Butler remembered most was a lady who sat weeping in her Sunday School class the following weekend. 

New purpose

“She was retired but she had gone back to work so that she could earn the money to buy a pleasure boat,” Butler said. “It got blown away with the house. She just cried and said she had spent two years working for nothing.”

That day started a new narrative in Butler’s life — one with new priorities and purpose. She and her husband, Gilbert, called the North American Mission Board and told them they would go anywhere they needed five sets of hands (they had three children too). 

And for the rest of her life, until she died Aug. 28 at age 95, she invested her life going on as many missions trips as she could.

Her family did missions work in St. Louis, assisted visitors to the Southern Baptist Convention in Atlanta and served at the Seaman Center in Mobile. After the kids went off to college she and her husband served three summers in China, a year in Guyana and six months in West Africa. They traveled to Ukraine twice and taught school in American Samoa. A map at their church, First Baptist, Guin, is strewn with pins marking the places they’ve been over the years.

Rod Marshall, president of Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries, called her a “giant for the cause of missions.”

“Her legacy is indeed rich,” he said. “In addition to holding a record for most missions trips she also served as an ambassador for our ministry in her association.”

Scott Stokes, director of missions for Lamar Baptist Association and former pastor of First, Guin, said she was a missionary at heart.

“It’s been a lifestyle for them for a long, long time,” he said of the couple.

It’s a story Butler loved living, and a story TAB loved telling. We love sharing stories of what God is doing through missionary hearts all over the state. Have you been on a trip lately that you think would be a blessing to share with others? Drop us an email at news@thealabamabaptist.org with some details and pictures.

And if Butler’s story has inspired you to think about going for the first time, we know she would tell you this, something she said emphatically in 2017: “If you’re considering doing missions go for it — you’ll never regret it.”

So in honor of her legacy, go do it. Live it. And we would love to tell as many of your stories as we can. (Grace Thornton)