Yvonne “Bonnie” Matthews Butler passed away Feb. 22 after a lengthy illness she would not let dampen her enthusiastic enjoyment of life.

The third child of Robert and Vashti Matthews, Bonnie was a fourth generation board of directors’ member of the AFRO-American Newspapers founded by her great-grandfather John H. Murphy Sr. 

Family members describe her as a very talented and artistic person with a magnetic personality. Like many of her Murphy cousins, the Morgan grad was introduced to the AFRO at an early age.

In her younger years, she served in a number of positions including being the AFRO’s Mrs. Santa. In 1972, she began her sales career as a local retail account executive, moving on to national account executive, assistant to the vice president of advertising and finally Baltimore ad sales manager in 1982.

Butler had a special gift for entertainment and often wrote about music events, especially jazz, as well as being an enthusiastic participant of the shows when the opportunity presented itself.

Following successful sales careers at the AFRO and the Sun newspapers, she embarked on a second career at the Internal Revenue Service where she worked until her 2013 retirement.

Her first cousin, the Rev. Dr. Frances “Toni” Draper shared an example of Bonnie’s ability to pull people together. “A few months ago, we learned that our beloved Bonnie was battling life-threatening illness. In one of our conversations last fall, Bonnie (the effervescent promoter and entertainment guru extraordinaire) told me, ‘The most important thing I’d like to do while I’m able is to have a first cousins’ reunion.’ In December, a weekend reunion was held, the first in decades.” 

Surrounded by her family, including her brothers Robert Matthews Sr., Rodger M. Matthews, LTC (Ret), Carl Chester and sister Betty Schuler, Bonnie began her journey home on a sunny morning.

A memorial service will be held the eve of what would have been her 65th birthday, beginning with the family hour, 1 p.m., March 14 at March Funeral Home, 4300 Wabash Ave, and with the memorial following at 1:30 p.m. Interment will be at the Murphy Family plot in Arbutus Cemetery.