SSA Remembers Three Friends and Instructors

Release Date: 
Friday, June 10, 2016

Three dear friends of SSA have passed away recently: Elizabeth "Betty" Butler, Nancy Johnstone, and Janet Kohrman.

Betty ButlerBetty M. Butler passed peacefully in her Hyde Park home on Friday, May 27 at age 97. Ms. Butler, who earned her B.A. in social work (magna cum laude) from Howard University in 1941 and her A.M. degree from SSA in 1946, worked at several hospitals before joining SSA in 1959 as a Field Work Assistant Professor. She later became a Field Work Associate Professor and then was a Lecturer from 1979 until she retired in 1983. She joined the SSA Visiting Committee in 1985 and later became a Life Member. She also served on the University of Chicago Women's Board in 1986 through 1994. In her honor, the SSA Alumni Association established The Elizabeth Butler Award in 1990, to recognize a recent SSA graduate who has shown exceptional promise in the field of social work.

Ms. Butler was married to the late Roy Butler, a noted Chicago musician. A gifted photographer, she produced stunning personalized notecards with the actual photos she took of flowers. A member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, she was active in many organizations.

Memorial services will be held on Saturday, June 25 at 11 a.m. at The Church of the Good Shepherd, 5700 South Prairie Avenue in Chicago. Memorial donations can be sent to SSA (Attention: SSA Fund) in tribute to Ms. Butler.

Nancy JohnstoneNancy J. Johnstone passed away peacefully at the University's Center for Care and Discovery Hospital on Wednesday, May 25 at age 83. An active member of SSA's Visiting Committee since 1985, she later became a Life Member. Ms. Johnstone earned her B.A. from Wittenberg University in Ohio, attended SSA in 1954 and later earned her master's degree in social work from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. As a Lecturer at the University for 18 years, she taught social work and professional development. At SSA, Ms. Johnstone was a Lecturer from 1998 to 2009, and a Clinical Associate from 1998 to 2000, and she taught professional development workshops from 1991 to 2008.

Ms. Johnstone began her stellar community service career as a social worker at Youth Guidance, a Chicago social service agency noted for its high-quality, innovative programs geared to Chicago's at-risk children. She later served as the Executive Director for Youth Guidance for 32 years. She then "retired" from Youth Guidance in 2005 to become a Co-Leader at the Hyde Park-based Chicago Child Care Society (CCCS), the oldest existing child welfare agency in Illinois. She retired from CCCS in 2012. 

Ms. Johnstone was a tireless advocate for Chicago's professional women, serving as a life member of The Chicago Network, an organization of women in professional leadership positions in the Chicagoland area. In 1994, Ms. Johnstone received a Public Services Citation from the U. of C. Alumni Association for exemplary leadership in voluntary service.

Ms. Johnstone is survived by her loving husband, John, and her sons, Eric and Bruce.

A celebration of life for Ms. Johnstone will be held later this summer; details will be provided once plans are finalized.

Cards and condolences can be sent to:
Dr. John W. Johnstone
5408 South Kimbark Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60615-5208

Donations can be sent to:
Youth Guidance
1 North LaSalle Street, Suite 900
Chicago, Illinois 60602


The Chicago Child Care Society
5467 South University Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60615

Janet KohrmanJanet Geiger Kohrman passed away on Monday, March 14 at age 97. She earned her A.B. in 1940 from the University of Chicago and her A.M. from SSA in 1949. In addition to her career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice, at Michael Reese Hospital, and at Chicago's Juvenile Protective Association (JPA), Ms. Kohrman was a Lecturer for the master's program and Director of Field Education at SSA. She recently served on SSA's Endowment for Excellence in Field Education Committee. Ms. Kohrman was an early supporter of the Institute for Clinical Social Work (ICSW) in Chicago and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

Ms. Kohrman was preceded in death by her husbands, Robert Kohrman, M.D. (1977) and Charles Pfeiffer, M.D. (1944). She is survived by her three children who live on the East Coast.

Gifts can be donated in Ms. Kohrman's name to the ICSW, the JPA, or the Steppenwolf Theater.