We called her “Miss Caroline Street” not only because she lived and worked there most of her life, but also because it was her favorite place on the planet. Even in her later years, she walked downtown sometimes a couple times a day. From ages 10-12 she was selling raffle tickets and Christmas cards on Caroline St. for Mrs. Marston whose husband owned the Brent’s store; during the summer of 1938 she worked at Montgomery Ward’s, and later at Joe Ulman’s apparel shop. After graduating from James Monroe, she worked at the telephone company and then as a bookkeeper for American Viscose. Back on Caroline Street in her 30’s, she worked at the Western Auto, and E. C. Ninde’s Furniture (20 years). During the 1980’s Corinth worked at Leggett (now Belk), and beginning in 1990 she worked at Crown Jewelers full and part time for about 12 years. Upon retirement she was given an honorary award by the Downtown Merchants’ Association, and in 2001 she was chosen to participate in HFFI’s oral history project. Fredericksburg has always been her home, and she dearly loved the town, its people, and particularly Caroline Street where she grew up.
As fate would have it, on August 12, 2012, Corinth Belle Coleman Butler, age 89, ended her earthly journey at Hughes Home on Caroline Street. Called Cony Belle, Connie, Grandma, and various incorrect pronunciations of her given name, Corinth was born December 18, 1922 at Bloody Angle in Spotsylvania, Virginia to Irene Hall Parker and Paul D. Coleman. She was the “baby” of their eight children, all of whom she survived. Preceding her in death in addition to Mayflower passenger John Howland, and daughter Desire from whom she was descended, were her siblings Susie C. Wright, Paul Coleman, Sallie C. Fleming, Roberta C. Mealey, Louisa C. Farley, Edgar Coleman, Bernard Coleman and former husband Jack C. Butler. Family survivors are many and include but are not limited to her daughters Dr. Nancie Butler Lightner and husband Dr. Jeffrey K. Lightner, whom she called her adopted son and Patsie Salvador; grandchildren Michael Shayne Adams Lightner , Clay Parker Adams Lightner, Richard Weaver Barnes Lightner, Ryan Cessna Snowden Lightner, Kristopher Salvador, Aaron Salvador and Corinth Elizabeth Coleman Lightner; great-grandchildren Alexis Jordan Lightner, Madison Ariah Lightner, Natalie Grace Lightner, Tatum Belle Gile Lightner, Indy Tyner Snowden Lightner, and Ashley Elizabeth Salvador; and great-great grandchild Genevieve Iris Nelson; nieces and nephews Kathryn Fleming Durity, Carolyn Inscoe Davis, Rupert Farley, Bill Farley, Bob Coleman, Barbara White, Elaine Tickner, Berney Coleman, Gary Butler, Brad Butler, Shelley Butler, Greg Butler, Judy Dillon, Susan Morrall, Roberta Swanhart, and many others.
Besides her family, Corinth loved her house and her yard. Gardening was her passion, and she said it was the best therapy. She had an amazing “green thumb”, and took great joy in rooting and growing plants and flowers. Her irises and lilies were her pride and joy. She fed the birds and cussed the squirrels.
Like many of her generation she did not waste anything, but in many ways she was ahead of her time. She was a divorced, independent, working Mom before it was fashionable, and she was earth-friendly, calling herself a “recycling maniac”. Her energy and sense of humor were contagious.
She loved to travel with her daughter Nancie and husband Jeff and they enjoyed many, many road trips to Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Virginia Beach where until age 87, she rode her bike on the boardwalk with great-grandgirls Lexi and Madi. It seems like everywhere she went, she knew people. Once while vacationing on the Costa Del Sol, she ran into a couple to whom she had sold furniture!
A music lover, Corinth loved to dance and she loved people. Back in the day, she partied with the best of them…Sanford, Billy, Peyton, Martha, Charlie and many more. She was a strong, self-made woman, who refused to be limited by conventions, and who often rocked our world with feisty comments and colorful perceptions. As Peggy Sale once said to her, “This is why we love you!”
Corinth was thankful for the life she had created for herself and for the many blessings of family and friends. Even during her last weeks she was very appreciative of her family and the care she received at Hughes Home. She took great delight in making the nurses and attendants laugh, and she loved them all…Ashley, Tina, Tuyet, Tameisha, Mary, Brandy, Robin, and many more will remain in her heart forever.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 pm Thursday, August 16 at Covenant Funeral Service, Fredericksburg.
A funeral service will be held at 2 pm Friday, Aug. 17, 2012 at the funeral home chapel. Interment will follow in Oak Hill Cemetery.
The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Fredericksburg Center for Creative Arts, 813 Sophia Street, Fredericksburg, VA 22401.