Staff Reporter
The Mobile (Alabama) Register
(published September 12, 2003; reprinted with permission)

Emma Macalik Butterworth, a prima ballerina with the Vienna State Opera who wrote of her life during World War II in the award-winning 1982 book, As the Waltz Was Ending, died September 5 at her bayside residence in Daphne. It was her 75th birthday.

The cause of death was lung cancer.

Friends remembered Mrs. Butterworth, an Eastern Shore resident for 38 years, as a woman of many talents.

"She did beautiful calligraphy," recalled Betty Jo Wolfe, owner of the Page & Palette bookstore in Orange Beach.

Wolfe, who formerly owned the Page & Palette in Fairhope, said she and Mrs. Butterworth had been friends ever since the Butterworth family came to Fairhope. Wolfe marketed her book when it was published.

"It was a delightful book, and sad too, because it was during wartime," Wolfe said. She said that when she also had a gallery with the Fairhope book shop, the gallery sold Mrs. Butterworth's calligraphy. "I miss her. We had some good times together. She was a very loyal friend," Wolfe said.

Dr. Thomas Yancey, a retired general practitioner, said he considered it his privilege to have cared for Mrs. Butterworth and her family for 35 or 40 years.

Yancey extolled her writing abilities and said she had helped her former husband, author William E. Butterworth III, edit some of his work.

He also remembered her as high-spirited and strong-willed.

"She did what she thought was right," Yancey said. "She'd cuss you out in a minute and the next day she'd make you a cake."

When he once fell ill, she brought Yancey some Hungarian goulash. "She was a good cook, too. I appreciated that. I just thought the world of her."

Born in Austria, Mrs. Butterworth became an accomplished calligrapher when her mother encouraged her to learn the art in case she were to suffer an injury and not be able to dance. Her 1980 book, The Complete Book of Calligraphy, came to be used as a classroom text in the United States and in England.

After the war, she was married to William E. Butterworth III, an American paratrooper, by a judge of the Austrian Supreme Court. She moved to America, and soon after became a citizen of the United States. Fiercely patriotic to her new country, she was a tireless supporter of America's members of the military.

Mrs. Butterworth belonged to a number of organizations, but was perhaps proudest of holding the Elite Award of membership in the U.S. Army's Ridgway Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association, given for her loyalty, devotion and service.

In the 1970s, she taught the art of fine writing to high school students and was a teacher at the Marietta Johnson School of Organic Education in Fairhope.

She is survived by her children, Patricia B. Black, of Birmingham, Alabama, John S. Butterworth II, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, William E. Butterworth IV, of Flower Mound, Texas, and four grandchildren, Emma Christine Black, of Atlanta, Georgia, Sarah Marie Black, of Birmingham, Alabama, Catherine Taylor Butterworth, of Flower Mound, Texas, and Alexandra Macalik Butterworth, of Flower Mound, Texas.


The memorial service for Emma Macalik Butterworth was held Saturday, October 11, 2003 at ten o'clock in the morning at Saint Francis at the Point in Point Clear, Alabama. Reading from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, Bishop Charles Morley conducted the service on that overcast fall day. Testimonials from family and from longtime dear friend Grace Quaites followed.

The service ended with the fulfillment of a wish that Emma Butterworth made decades earlier when she witnessed her first traditional jazz funeral march on the streets of New Orleans' Vieux Carre. "I want that!" she said of the processional of Dixieland jazz musicians in formal attire half-stepping through the streets of the French Quarter, first playing mournful tunes then breaking into high-energy jazz standards to celebrate the life of the lost. Bob French's Original Tuxedo Jazz Band brought every bit of that New Orleans to the little Alabama church on the bay, and as the band played, the gray clouds parted and brilliant beams of sunlight filtered in through the sanctuary's great windows.

Afterward, family and friends gathered at the author's home overlooking Mobile Bay. Then, in the late afternoon, from the pier almost rebuilt completely and with more words from the Book of Common Prayer, her ashes were scattered with flowers upon the water she loved so much.

(For contact information on Mr. French — and where to find his wonderful music on CD, on the radio and live — send an e-mail to


The author wished that any memorial in her name be made to her church (Saint Francis at the Point, Scenic Highway 98, P.O. Box 916, Point Clear, AL 36564-0916; 251-928-1255,, or to the Baldwin County Humane Society (306 Magnolia Avenue, Fairhope, AL 36532; 251-928-4585) or to one's local humane society. Thank you.

(Top left) Portrait of Emma Macalick, Vienna, 1946


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