She was a city girl who discovered the mountains and never looked back. At 92, she has moved on again.
Patricia Adams was born in Southern California in 1927. She earned her elementary education credential from Cal during World War II, and first taught in a one-room school on Donner Summit. In the early1950s, she moved to the Tahoe City school where she met and married the high school ski coach and editor of a local newspaper, Gordon Butterfield.
With two young children, Pat continued to teach in Tahoe. Both parents worked on the 1960 Winter Olympic Games in Squaw Valley, Pat as a member of the hand-timing team, and Gordon as press liaison. She met many Sun Valley people during the Olympics—Ed Siegel, Win Grey, Pete Lane, Charles and Mary Proctor, Pete and Rabbit Smith, Ed Scott and more.
The family moved to the Wood River Valley in 1965 as Pat continued teaching school and Gordon became marketing director at Scott USA. Over a 27-year career in Blaine County schools, hundreds of local students learned to read in her classes at the old Ketchum Elementary (now Atkinsons’ Market) and later at Hemingway Elementary.
Pat had lifelong interests in geology, archaeology and Native American studies. She appreciated minerals, gems and artifacts, and was an accomplished self-taught oil painter and a voracious reader. She loved rockhounding expeditions to the Spencer opal mines, Snake River jasper outcrops and the buffalo jumps near Challis. She painted vistas she saw in her mind’s eye of the terrain before modern development—mountains, lakes, rivers, caves, camps and scenes of indigenous people and settlers.
Pat was an advocate of progressive democratic issues and freedoms, and deplored fascism in all its stripes. She was a strong supporter of the teachers union and ethical education standards. She fought for school funding and the best learning tools and opportunities for all students. She was a long-time volunteer for the Ketchum-Sun Valley Historical Society and was instrumental in raising the funds to upgrade the buildings and establish the museum at Forest Service Park.
She was preceded in death by her brothers, Don and Mark Adams. She is survived by her daughter, Cathy, and son, David. Pat requested there be no formal service, but the family would be honored if people would visit a favorite stream, lake or mountain vista, take a deep breath, perhaps pick a wildflower, and appreciate the beauty of nature she loved so much.