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Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Obituary - Rebecca "Becky" Jane Abbott

Rebecca (Becky) Jane Abbott, 71, of Garden City, Missouri, loving mother and grandmother, devoted sister, and friend to many, passed away Monday, August 16, 2021 in Harrisonville, Missouri. 

A casual memorial gathering for friends and family will be held outdoors from 2:00-4:00 p.m., Sunday, August 22 at the home of Scott and Leigh Ann Friedrich at 1 Orchard Place in Harrisonville, Missouri. Masks and vaccinations are strongly encouraged. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Sarah Cannon Fund for cancer research. Private inurnment will be at a later time at the Garden City Cemetery in Garden City, MO.

Becky was born on August 11, 1950, to George and Betty (Kinnamon) Butner in Kansas City, Missouri. Becky grew up in Ruskin Heights before moving to rural Creighton, Missouri, with her parents and three sisters in 1958. She graduated from Sherwood High School in 1968 and attended Central Missouri State University, earning her Bachelor of Science in Education in Math and her Masters from University of Central Missouri.

She began teaching science at Lee's Summit High School in 1972. Becky was very involved at the school, leading the science department for many years. After an early retirement in 2002, she spent most of her time caring for both her parents and young grandsons—but teaching and young minds were always close to her heart. Becky also worked at an educational play center in Lee's Summit, developing curriculum and teaching learning labs, and spent many hours volunteering in the Harrisonville school district, sharing her love of science with young people.

Becky's devotion to teaching was second only to her devotion to family. She grew up in a close-knit family, where her sisters were her best friends. And she raised her son, Darren, and daughter, Andrea, in the same fashion. Whether a canoe trip in the Ozarks or a jaunt across Europe, vacations were often an extended family affair. Sunday evenings brought big family dinners with upwards of 20 people in regular attendance. And every day was filled with some kind of adventure; a drive to the Amish farm for bushels of produce followed by instructions on canning or jam making, a trip to a hidden roadside joint for the "best" fried chicken lunch special, or an outing to Marshall's to find a "cute" piece of home décor (always at a good bargain) to nestle into the cozy environment she created for those she shared her home with. Having fun was important, but hard work, a focus on character, and a drive for excellence in achievement were also an expectation and are a big part of the legacy she and her sisters passed along to their children and grandchildren.

Becky had a unique way of making everyone in her circle feel welcome and important. Her capacity to care and give of herself, her time, her support, and her companionship is unparalleled. She gladly played host to many sleepovers, movie nights and marching band booster activities for Darren and Andrea and their friends, every time serving up the most fun and the best food. Her grandsons divided their time with her between going on adventures all over Cass County and spending many hours in what would be any child's dream playroom. She loved spending time with her friends and coordinated many shopping trips and outings to explore new restaurants with a group she referred to as her “club”.

Becky’s knack for making her home cozy and creative was demonstrated time and time again: a backyard oasis centered around a pool made from a large stock tank, a kitchen remodel using slate chalkboards from the old Garden City school for countertops, a garden shed and chicken coop made entirely from antique salvaged doors and windows. While these are some of the most notable, the list could go on and on. There was nothing she couldn't dream up or figure out how to do.

Becky was preceded in death by her parents, George and Betty Butner and her sister, Debbie Hale. She is survived by her daughter, Andrea Abbott of Harrisonville; her son, Darren (Jodi) Abbott and grandsons, George and Owen of Mission Hills, Kansas; her sisters, Leigh Ann (Scott) Friedrich of Harrisonville, and Cindy Hoshor of Kansas City, Missouri, and her brother-in-law, Jim Hale of Harrisonville.