Sheila Butler (Hebrank)

It is not the years lived but how you lived those years

On Monday, May 9 th , 2022, my loving wife, Sheila Lynn Butler (Hebrank), and mother of two sons, passed away at her home at the age of 60. She is survived by her husband of 28 years, Mark, two sons, Connor and Christopher, brother, Craig Hebrank, and many family members and friends. Sheila was preceded in death by her parents, Ronald and Barbara Hebrank, and sister, Donna Hebrank.

She was diagnosed in late March with stage 4 stomach cancer. On hearing this news, she asked that we, her family, not focus on the unfairness of it all, but on the wonderful life that we shared, and the blessings that she was given. She lived this month with grace and peace in spirit.

In that context, we share our thoughts on the passions she held during her life.

Sheila had a deep connection with her mom, Barb.  Not a day passed by that she didn’t talk to her, sharing her joys and frustrations. Barb was her emotional rock.  Kids always called her “maw maw”.  Barb passed away two years ago.

Sheila loved the St. Louis Cardinals, Mizzou Tigers (Sheila and our son went to MU) and later, Kansas Jayhawk basketball (our son went to KU). She always showed true fan spirit. You could almost imagine a player’s chagrin as she shouted at the TV when a bad play was made. I will always chuckle at those memories.

Annual family trips were one of her favorites. The silly songs we sang driving across America, “Green alligators and long-necked geese, some humpty-backed camels and some chimpanzees…”. We will always remember the trails we hiked, swimming with the dolphins and rays at Sea World, browsing so many museums, standing in awe of mountains and nature, just learning about our world and appreciating life. Some of her favorite places she visited included southern Spain, mountains of Colorado, Arizona, Virginia and New Zealand.

We admired her strong confidence and positive attitude. She had a small picture frame with the replica of a WWII poster “We Can Do It (Rosie the Riveter)” on her dresser, except her version read “Sheila Can Do It”. Words she lived by each day.

She loved our golden retriever named Georgia. Georgia brought needed comfort and so much joy into the family. She came into our lives after Sheila’s mom passed away. Georgia greeted family and friends with a toy in her mouth and her signature move the “Butt Wiggle”. That always made Sheila laugh. Sheila enjoyed playing a game called, “Where’s Georgia”. As Georgia got bigger, she wasn’t very good at hiding. Sheila would often say “Best dog ever”.

Sheila took great pride in working at BJC health systems for over 25 years and formed great relationships with so many colleagues there.

Sheila has so many wonderful friends whom she stayed in touch with through the years. Following the cancer diagnosis, she received an enormous outpouring of love and support from friends, family relatives, and her BJC family. She took great comfort in reading the many thoughtful cards and appreciating the flowers and gifts that were sent to our home. Our house, at one time, looked like a florist shop. Our family was so thankful for all the prayers from so many that touched her life.

Her greatest sense of accomplishment came from raising our two sons. She nurtured them, challenged them, and helped shape their lives into smart, caring, and responsible individuals. The boys are truly grateful for the love and guidance she bestowed on them. Each time they look into the mirror, they see a part of their mom that will always live in them.

Sheila loved reading children’s books to our two boys. One of her favorite books was “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch. With a change of one word, the boys’ version goes something like this: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my mommy you’ll be.”

My wife lived and the world became a better place.


In lieu of flowers, Sheila appreciated donations to be made in her memory to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri. Sheila matched with her “Little” 11 years ago and formed a special friendship and love that endured.

Sheila’s wishes were to have a small “Celebration of Life” to include family and close friends. No details are available at this time.



  1. Kelly Cox Bievenue on May 13, 2022 at 12:24 pm

    Mark, What a wonderful tribute to Shelia!!! I was inspired by her strength and faith since her diagnosis. She truly believed in God’s plan for this next phase of her life.

    Like you and the boys, I am selfish and think she was taken from us far too soon.

  2. Skip & Suzanne Butler on May 13, 2022 at 12:52 pm

    Mark, this truly is the story of Sheila’s life. She was such a wonderful wife, mother, and friend We will always see her in Connor and Christopher and recognize the wonderful influence she had on their lives. I can’t remember once seeing Sheila without a smile and pray that I will always remember the enthusiasm in her voice every time we were together. She had such excitement and appreciation for everything in life; you just couldn’t help but get excited with her.

    We will miss Sheila so much and of course are heartbroken that she didn’t have a chance to enjoy her dream home here in Arizona. That was the best plan ever but God called her to a higher home instead. Our love and prayers are with you, Connor, Christopher & Craig.

  3. Annie Sampath on May 13, 2022 at 1:56 pm

    Beautiful write up, really captures her personality and outlook on life. Sheila will be missed! So glad we were long-time friends!

  4. April and Stuart Koenig on May 13, 2022 at 9:36 pm

    Mark I’m so sorry to hear the news. My prayers are with you and your boys for peace a comfort come during this time.

  5. John Timmermann on May 14, 2022 at 9:07 am

    So sorry to hear for you and your sons. What you wrote was a beautiful tribute and for a special lady. The video was nice seeing how many great family adventures and events.

  6. Allison Myers on May 15, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    Dearest family-Sheila was a remarkable friend of many years at BJC. She love her family very much and we would have lunches together where we talked as proud mommas of our children. Christopher and Connor she was very proud of you and Mark she loved your life together. Prayers go out to all of you and Craig her brother for peace and joyful memories as those above to comfort you as you find your pathway forward. Hugs from afar. Allison Myers co worker and friend

  7. Maria Konrad Webb on May 16, 2022 at 8:12 am

    My deepest sympathy to your family. I remember Sheila from grade school, she was a couple years older. What a blessing to have those wonderful memories! God bless you all!

  8. Lynn Ann Thackrey on May 16, 2022 at 8:48 am

    To Sheila’s family: you have my deepest sympathy for your loss. I know her from working at BJC and did not know her well. However, from the first day I heard her speaking with her staff, I was struck with the kindness and calm in her soft-spoken voice. From what I observed, she never failed to show respect and consideration for others. She was a wonderful leader, and very knowledgeable in her field, which is a complicated one.

    Mark, this is a beautifully written tribute to Sheila. Thank you for sharing your memories. I am thinking of you and your sons and the rest of your family at this very sad time.

  9. Jane siebel on May 17, 2022 at 8:50 am

    Loved her as a young student at St Mary Magdalene. Lottery Pharrell there exuberance and Grace. Such a great loss with deepest sympathy to the family. Her spirit lives on!

  10. Marianne on May 17, 2022 at 1:18 pm

    To Mark, Connor, Christopher, Craig,
    Words cannot describe the loss of Sheila. She loved you all and talked about you with love. She was so very proud of Connor and Christopher.

    Sheila and I became best friends in 6th grade and our friendship continued forever. She was Shiels and I was Mare. So many stories we have shared together; most recently, she loved our “4 BFF Girls’ Trips” and was the first in our group to start planning them. I was blessed by our friendship; she is always part of my heart.

    Philippians 4:7
    And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

  11. Kelly Cox Bievenue on May 17, 2022 at 2:00 pm

    Mare, I am chuckling about your nicknames. To Sheila, I was Keller’s. To me, she was Sheiler’s.

    May our dear friend RIP.

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