A Tribute To Marvelene Butterbrodt


If I were ever asked to name the best teacher of forensic activities in Wisconsin, without hesitation I would have said, “No doubt about it.  That honor belongs to Marvelene Butterbrodt.”


This is no hasty generalization.  Having been a teacher of Speech for 48 years and a faculty member of the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire for 38 of them, I was on constant call to go out and judge high school speech contests.  For more than 20 consecutive years, I would go to Loyal to judge the local contest.  I always knew it would be the same quality as the State Finals.  I knew that everything would be perfectly organized and on time.  While other coaches were complaining that they couldn’t get students to compete because of athletic and music activities, large numbers of Loyal students were participating on her team.  Look at her record.  It speaks for itself.





The last time I saw her, she was in charge of the forensic reunion planned as part of the 75th anniversary celebration at UW-eau Claire.  Her skill as an organizer was well illustrated that night.  Her speech made the biggest hit that evening.  What a magnificent sense of humor!  She told about being on the college team at the university, and how her male colleagues got into a card game on the train and gambled away their food money.  She had to get into the game, at their insistence, because they were sure she could get their money back.  She did.

She was a commanding general.  She would bark out the orders and the troops did not question her authority.  She had enthusiasm unbounded.  She always planned a dinner when our judging work was done.  Julia Child had nothing on her as a cook.  I know, because I was given many opportunities to dine under her kind and talented hospitality.


Marvelene was a wonderful teacher.  Ask Dr. Ron Allen at UW-Madison, or Dr. Wil Denson, head of the Theatre at US-Eau Claire, who can also attest to what an inspiring teacher she was.


I could go on and on eulogizing this great gal, but a poem by an unknown author expresses her philosophy and embraces her lifestyle:


Teachers’ Prayer

I want to teach my students how

To live this life on earth

To face its struggles and its strife

And to improve their worth

Not just the lesson in a book

Or how the rivers flow

But how to choose the proper path

Wherever they may go.

To understand eternal truth And

Know the right from wrong

And gather all the Beauty of

A flower and a song.  For if

I help the world to grow In wisdom

And in grace

Then I shall feel that I have won

And I have filled my place

And so I ask your guidance, God

That I may do my part

For character and confidence

And happiness of Heart.


Few teachers are the inspiration she has been.  She gave her life to the students she loved.  Up there in Heaven, with blue borders around each motto, in her Palmer Method hand, she is posting inspirational thoughts for her students.


Grace Walsh, Professor Emeritus

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire




I was so happy to read the tribute and see the photo of Marveline Butterbrodt--my English teacher at Loyal High School in the early 1960's and to whom I owe the fact - that I have, and continue to have, a career in writing and journalism.
She was the first person that told me I had talent and encouraged me to throw away the rule book and allow me to do actual "creative" writing.  I remember every time she entered the classroom, she was an imposing figure - who commanded respect and attention--and got it. I loved her English classes! Thank you for the memories, Paul (Davel) Fredrickson


I too had her as my English teacher in Greenwood in the late fities.
she was a good teacher. Ron Hribar


I also was a student of Miss B. Allan. I too had her as my English teacher in Greenwood in the late fifties.
she was a good teacher.  Allan Wire


Wow, I didn't know that so many others had her. I can also remember her curls would bounce when she came into a room. Not a small woman, she was an imposing figure. Paula Fredrickson


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