Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rachel Antoinette Buettell Hartman

On April 14, 2010, Rachel Antoinette Buettell Hartman died peacefully with two of her daughters and eldest son holding her hands. Rachel had been a resident of Hailey since moving from Santa Barbara, Calif., in 2000.

Rachel was born in Mishawaka, Ind., on June 3, 1931, the middle child of Marc Adrian and Lena Fisher Buettell. When she was 2, the family moved to Sycamore, Ill., where Rachel remained until graduating—as salutatorian—from high school. While in high school, Rachel, a clarinetist, was first chair in the school band, active in theater arts and the church choir and was a member of the National Honor Society. After graduation she attended Iowa State University and majored in dietetics, was on the synchronized swim team and was a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority. She married John Hartman and they moved to Chicago, where she finished her degree at the University of Illinois while John attended medical school.

The young and growing family crisscrossed the country as John pursued his medical career. While their Midwestern roots were stretched, they never broke, and the family returned to Hinsdale, Ill., several times—as much for John's career as for the musky fishing, a love of Rachel's.

In 1967, John and Rachel, along with now five children, moved to Santa Barbara, Calif. Rachel was an artist—her media were watercolor and egg tempera—and after her youngest child left home, she converted a building on her property to a painting studio. While her subject matter was varied, it was in painting flowers that she found her true calling and gift. Her oldest son once told her that she "designed flowers for God."

Her ex-husband John; her brother, Amos Buettell; and her two parents preceded Rachel in death. She is survived by her sister, Marlene Peterson of Barrington, Ill.; her three daughters, Susan McLaughlin of San Francisco, Julie Hartman of Santa Barbara, Calif., and Karen Hartman of Hailey, Idaho; her two sons, Joseph Hartman of Olympia, Wash., and Scott Hartman; and seven beautiful granddaughters, Caitlin, Hannah and Nicole Hartman of Olympia, Grace and Gwendolyn McLaughlin of San Francisco and Lena Marie and Lily Rachel Hartman of Hailey.

Rachel was the gentlest spirit we've ever known, and while she is missed dearly, we need only see a flower to know that she is here.

Friends are invited to a celebration of Rachel's life at noon on Sunday, June 27, at 710 Robin Hood Drive in Hailey.

Memorials are suggested to Hospice of Wood River Valley, Box 4320, Ketchum, ID 83340. Arrangements are under the care of Wood River Chapel in Hailey (

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