Cover photo for Sarah Ann Butterbaugh's Obituary
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1936 Sarah 2024

Sarah Ann Butterbaugh

June 18, 1936 — February 16, 2024

Washington Township

BUTTERBAUGH, Sarah Ann (née Tritch), age 87, of Washington Township, OH passed away on Friday, February 16, 2024. Sarah was born on June 18, 1936 in Kendallville, Indiana to the late Royal W. and Virginia L. (Albright) Tritch.  She is preceded in death by her husband of forty years, Michael S. Butterbaugh (1998) and brothers, John and David Tritch. Sarah is survived by her three children: David (Adela) Butterbaugh of San Antonio, TX, Eric (Kate) Butterbaugh of Springfield, VA and Emily (Todd) Schluter of Centerville, Ohio.  

She is also survived by 11 wonderful grandchildren: Ethan, Amelia, Becca, Sophie, Wills, Andrew, Matt, John, Daniel, Mike and Jane.  She also has three beautiful great-grandchildren: Memphis, Clementine and Prince.  

Sarah grew up in Kendallville, IN, where she attended school and graduated with honors from Kendallville H.S. in 1954. A true Hoosier, Sarah attended Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where she majored in Music and Elementary Education. She was also president of the Tri-Delta sorority during her college years. Before graduating from IU in 1958, she re-kindled her friendship with a “guy from back home” (a fellow Kendallvillian) Mike Butterbaugh. They fell in love and were married on December 28th, 1958. 

Both Mike and Sarah were lifelong educators who embraced adventure at every opportunity. After living and teaching in Indianapolis for a few years, Sarah convinced Mike to apply to teach overseas with the Department of Defense Dependents’ Schools (DoDDS). With two-year-old David in tow, their first assignment in 1965 was to Tachikawa AB in Japan, where they stayed for three years. Their son Eric was born there.  Next up was Lajes Airfield on the Azorean Island of Terceira, where they lived for 2 years. “Sally” (as she was known at this point in her life) had always wanted to live in Germany, so when a teaching position for Mike became available there, they jumped at the chance to move once more. While living in Darmstadt, Germany, their third child, daughter Emily, was born. In 1973, they made their final overseas move to Bonn, Germany, where Mike and Sarah both taught until 1995.  

Sarah taught kindergarten, 2nd grade, and music at Bonn American Elementary School, right on the banks of the Rhine River. She was beloved by all of her students as well as her fellow staff members.  Sarah was full of life, joy and energy. She believed in children and giving them the best early education she possibly could. She and Mike were extremely family-oriented and while living abroad, took every opportunity to travel throughout Europe with their children on numerous camping adventures and ski trips. Visiting France was always her favorite destination.

Sarah was a very gifted musician and pianist from a very young age. Up until the last few years of her life, she continuously played piano as an accompanist for many church, community and school choirs. She was also the Anglican (British Embassy) Church organist in Bonn for many years. The congregation met in a tiny, very old stone church in Bad Godesberg, where her fingers and toes would freeze on Sunday mornings in the winter.  

When Sarah and Mike retired from overseas teaching in 1995, they left their beloved Germany and decided to call Kalamazoo, Michigan, home. There, they were very involved in church and school activities and loved exploring their new environs. Sarah was a regular volunteer at the Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center in Augusta, Michigan.  Even after Mike’s passing in 1998, Sarah continued to teach music at Kalamazoo Academy until her retirement in 2003. She (and her Beagle, “Bailey”) moved to Centerville, OH in October of 2003 to be near her daughter and her family.  

Sarah’s retirement years in Centerville were full of memorable times with many trips, cruises and kayaking adventures. She had friends across the globe that she loved to keep in touch with – either through visits in person or via letters and emails.  She cherished her friend groups, whether it was gathering with them to knit, play cards, paint or play dominoes. Sarah was also a gracious host and entertainer who loved having visitors in her home. She continued to be musically active as the accompanist for the Centerville Community Chorus and a substitute organist at Epiphany Lutheran Church. Sarah was also an avid and voracious reader, who always had to be reading something (preferably a mystery by a British author), with another book waiting in the queue.  Besides having a book in her hand, Sarah could be found resting on her couch with a hot cup of tea, being snuggled by her two beloved cats, Tom and Jerry. Ultimately, her happiest times were when all three of her children and their children gathered at her house.  

Sarah had a deep faith in Christ and lived a life that demonstrated His love to everyone she knew. Her greatest joy was her children and grandchildren, whose lives were forever enriched by her gentle, loving presence. Despite declining health and memory issues in the last few years of her life, Sarah never stopped smiling and being grateful. She met every health challenge with grace and bravery. Her last breaths were taken with family by her side, holding her hands and reassuring her that it was okay to let go. She will be fiercely missed by every person who had the honor of knowing her.

Family will greet friends from 12:30pm – 2:00pm on Friday, March 1, 2024 at Epiphany Lutheran Church, 6430 Far Hills Ave, Dayton, OH 45459. The memorial service will begin at 2:00pm. A reception will follow the service where coffee and cookies will be served. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center, 8450 N 43rd St #9651, Augusta, MI 49012 or Epiphany Lutheran Church. For those unable to attend, services will be streamed through the church. Services can be viewed by following this link:

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, March 1, 2024

12:30 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Memorial Service

Friday, March 1, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Friday, March 1, 2024

To follow the service. Coffee and cookies will be served.

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