2017: Immediate Change

Immediate Means Now.

Requiem for a Great Woman


Dan Ryan Expressway, I-90-94

Dan Ryan Expressway, I-90-94, view north from 59th St. bridge. (Photo credit: Steven Vance)

There was a great woman, born on the northern edge of Englewood. She saw the Dan Ryan replace her neighbors’ homes when she was young, and the housing replaced by Robert Taylor Homes a few blocks east. She saw John F. Kennedy ride down 55th from Midway Airport w/Richard J. Daley, on their way downtown when he ran for President.  She saw her family grow and prosper, and learned much from their hard-working examples on how to make life good with what you had, and the rest would come. They made sure that her and her brother saw where they came from, visiting every year and bringing other relatives up from the south to make it in Chicago.

She saw her mother chastise every child within the sound of her voice, if they transgressed, including me. She also saw her mother make ice cream every summer for all of the neighborhood children that she chastised, so we didn’t mind at all. Lemon flavored, walnut, not just vanilla; there was a rotation! She saw her father, with the only car in the six-flat building, take people where they had to go, if he wasn’t at work. A 1963 Pontiac Sky Chief, taupe. It was beautiful. Her father didn’t fuss at us unless we threw the ball into his backyard garden, a no-no.

Chicago Skyline

Chicago Skyline (Photo credit: Frank Kehren)

She grew up smart and ready for life, hanging out with her best friend [my sister, memorialized here] until life took them on separate paths after high school. That didn’t last long, because they were together through good times and bad until my sister’s death in 1986. Since that time, she’s always looked in on her friend’s children, even though she lost her only son several years ago. She and my sister were both in the choir at their respective churches, and God was the mainstay of her life. Through losing a child, divorcing a husband, she was steadfast,  a person you could always go to for the truth, no sugar-coatings there. All of us need someone like that in our lives, one who always brings you back to reality in a sentence or two. And it was always said in love.

On Wednesday, February 20, 2013, the great voice was silenced. Ms. Dianne Regina Johnson-Butler went home to be with the Lord on that day. She will be sorely missed. There should be a memorial placed in City Hall, where she spent many years working until Rahm came along. He doesn’t know whom he outsourced this time; a woman who can teach him a thing or two about persuading people to work together for a common cause.  Now, he’ll never know, but her friends, family, and acquaintances will forever cherish her memory and quick wit. God Speed, Dianne, we’ll miss you.

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2 comments on “Requiem for a Great Woman

  1. REBECCA
    02.23.2013

    O.K. JULIA IF I DON’T READ ANYTHING ELSE YOU WROTE I READ SOMETHING VERY BEAUTIFUL TODAY! REBECCA

    • jsbnew
      02.23.2013

      Thank you so much, Beck. God Bless.

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