Lois Corinne Guenette Bouton, known as ‘The Coast Guard Lady’ for her unwavering support of the service by writing thousands of letters to the Coasties, died on January 29 at the age of 102.
When she celebrated her 100th birthday, Coast Guard Master Chief Petty Officer Jason Vanderhaden hailed Bouton as a “very special woman” and a “trailblazer”.
“Her service and continued support to members of the Coast Guard over the years has been outstanding,” Vanderhaden wrote in September 2019. “The profound impact she has had on our members and our service as a whole is extraordinary, and we couldn’t be more proud and honored to celebrate with her today. She was – and continues to be – an inspiration.
She was born to Louis and Florence Boyle Guenette on September 21, 1919 in Rochelle, Illinois. She married William Bouton on February 21, 1945.
During World War II, Lois enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, known as “SPARs”, an acronym for the Coast Guard’s motto, “Semper Paratus – Always Ready” in August 1943. As a radio operator, Lois was assigned to the Coast Guard. Radio Station Cape May, NJ, and later to an Air Station, finally to the Coast Guard District Office in Philadelphia. She was discharged from SPARs in November 1945 as Radioman Third Class.
After World War II, the Buttons lived briefly in Waukegan, then moved to Zion, Illinois. She taught at Little Beach/Beach School (now known as Howe Elementary School). Lois retired from teaching mostly freshman grades after 30 years. In 1974, Lois and William moved to Rogers, Ark. from Zion, Illinois.
His love for the Coast Guard continued throughout his life. On trips over the years, she and her husband have visited many Coast Guard units. She wrote thousands of letters to members of the Coast Guard community (serving, reservists, retirees, civilians and family members) and became known as “The Coast Guard Lady”.
His faithful letter writing over the years has earned him numerous honors and personal visits from Coast Guard personnel from all over, including current and former Commanding Officers and Coast Guard Principals. In recent years, newly promoted Coast Guard chief petty officers from the St. Louis area have come to visit him around his birthday each year as part of their indoctrination to the chief petty officer corps.
Lois has received many illustrious Coast Guard and U.S. government honors, including the Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award and the “Spirit of Hope” Award presented by the Department of Defense. His most treasured honor was receiving the rank of “Honorary Master Chief Petty Officer of the United States Coast Guard.”
Lois also served over 20 years with the Beaver Lake Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla and was also awarded the position of Honorary Commodore of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Grace United Methodist Church, 1801 Dixieland Rd, Rogers, AR 72758, or the National Coast Guard Museum, 78 Howard St, Suite A, New London, CT 06320.
Services for Ms. Bouton will be held on Monday, February 7, 2022 with visitation beginning at 12:00 p.m. and her funeral at 2:00 p.m. at Grace United Methodist Church of Rogers. Entombment with full military honors will follow at Benton County Memorial Park Cemetery. His funeral will be broadcast on Facebook Live at Grace United Methodist Church (Rogers, Ark.). Arrangements are in the custody of Rollins Funeral Home at Rogers. Condolences can be expressed to www.RollinsFuneral.com