Bridge queen retires her teaching ways

by Almeda Girod
Resident Reporter

Mary Lou Butler is retiring after 16 years of teaching basic bridge classes to over 1,000 Riderwood residents. While slowing down at 87, she continues to offer “Buoyant Bridge Practicum” for former students to practice.

Mary Lou first lived in Maplewood, N.J. when her father worked on Wall Street before moving the family to DC area when he began helping with the war effort in 1942.

After college where she began playing bridge, she taught English and history in Salt Lake City, married, and taught in England and Arlington, Va. After working at the U.S. Office of Education, she accepted a fellowship at Boston University in 1961 and raised her daughter in Concord, MA. (Her daughter was married in the Riderwood Chapel in 2005 with bridge students attending).

Mary Lou moved to the Northern Neck of Virginia in 1977 to care for her parents and did volunteer work for 25 years, helping with economic development through preservation and tourism. She began teaching basic and duplicate bridge before moving to Riderwood in 2003.

Here she offered basic bridge lessons to residents who were new to bridge or wanted to brush up on old skills. She coordinated bridge at Arbor Ridge with volunteers. Mary Lou says, “Friendships and delightful social activities with various bridge players enrich my life at Riderwood. A bridge teacher is needed to help residents here.”

George Elliott states, “Mary Lou is a great teacher who combines knowledge, patience, and fun. She is also a very giving and kind friend, and that is why I enrolled in every one of her classes over the past ten years.” Natalie Forbes adds, “Mary Lou Butler is a wonderful and caring teacher with a great sense of humor who inspires us and makes her method of teaching bridge exciting.”

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