May 10th birthday
Rogene Maclean was born on May 10, 1919, in a house on Stadium Street in Leon. She is the daughter of Charley and Crete Maclean.
Her father had built the house a few years earlier across the street from the Leon High School football stadium. Shortly after she was two, she was joined by a brother, Charles. She had lost a sister, Ruth Margaret in 1917 from complications during childbirth.
She remembers happy times growing up with the neighbor kids. She remembers the Depression, when times were hard. She said that they didn’t have anything, but neither did anyone else. She also remembers the Dust Bowl Days, saying that her mother put wet sheets over the windows. During the hard times, the family went without meat often, but her mother cooked lots of fried potatoes in homemade lard.
Rogene attended the Leon schools and graduated with the Leon High School Class of 1937. There were 13 girls and 13 boys in her class. She is the last survivor of the class. After high school, she attend the Susan B. Allen School of Nursing. She was sent to Keighley to help take care of Bernice Butts, who had suffered a stroke. It was there that she met Melvin Butts, Bernice’s son and they were later married on Oct. 27, 1940, following Bernice’s death in April of that year.
Following the marriage and honeymoon, the couple returned to a house they purchased at 412 N. Main in Leon. After 78 plus years, Rogene still lives in that home. Melvin was a farmer and stockman, and owned land near his father’s farm at Keighley. Their first son, Don, was born in 1942, and Lucretia followed in 1945, and finally, Lionell in 1951. It was during that time that she helped Dr. Last with home baby deliveries.
Shortly after Lionell went to the first grade in 1957, Rogene began her career at Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital. She remembers working the night of the El Dorado tornado. She first worked on 2-North, which she describes as being like a nursing home for patients, before there were nursing homes. She soon got to work in the newborn nursery, which she describes as the happy part of the hospital. She worked in that department for 25 years, retiring in 1985. She loved the nursery and was taking care of the second generation of babies.
Rogene was baptized in 1930 in the Leon Christian Church and was active there. She taught in the junior department for many years and helped with many holiday programs. Following her retirement, she joined an exercise group with the Leon Senior Center and eventually became the leader of the group. She served on election boards and helped with blood drives. She currently belongs to two bridge clubs and enjoys many activities at the Leon Senior Center, where she enjoys the daily lunches.
Rogene’s family includes: her son, Ret. Col. Don (Jeanne) Butts; daughter, Lucretia (Jerry) Hawks; son, Lionell Butts; grandchildren, Cole (Stacy) Hawks, Tracy Holland, Dr. Steve (Traci) Hawks, David (Amanda) Butts, and Megan (Marc) Nicholas; and 16 great-grandchildren.
When asked why she thinks she has live so long, she says it’s because she doesn’t “doctor.” She has been blessed with good health and takes no prescription medications. She has trouble with vision and hearing, but says she’s in pretty good shape for the shape she is in.
A 100 birthday party is planned. She would enjoy cards sent to: Rogene Butts, PO Box 126, Leon, KS 67074. No gifts, please.