Cover photo for Billie Cecilia Needham's Obituary
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1919 Billie 2023

Billie Cecilia Needham

April 7, 1919 — July 20, 2023

Billie Buettner Needham, age 104, of Rochester, passed away peacefully on Thursday, July 20th, 2023 at Charter House in Rochester. Billie was born on April 7, 1919 in Nampa, Idaho, to Raymond and Francis (Rossen) Buettner. In high school, Billie played percussion in the orchestra and band, while Jerry played the trumpet. She would accompany Jerry on the piano when he played solos or duets for programs throughout the area. Billie played the xylophone at amateur hours, Grange programs, and state contests, and Jerry helped transport and set up the bulky instrument. She graduated from Albion State Normal School with additional music education at the University of Idaho. Billie taught elementary school and music for four years in Hansen and Nampa, Idaho.

On June 26, 1942 Billie married Jerry in Minneapolis where Jerry was in graduate school at the University of Minnesota. She helped Jerry with experiments for Economics Laboratory in St. Paul, and later secured a secretarial job in the office of the Dean of the U of M Medical School.

Since moving to Rochester in 1946, Billie volunteered in many ways and for various organizations, most notably Christ United Methodist Church, PEO, and Rochester Methodist Hospital. Her motivation for the many hours she devoted to the organizations was, "I've always enjoyed doing something for someone else. I love knowing I've made a difference in someone's life."

Billie was a member of Christ United Methodist Church for 77 years. She sang in Chancel Choir for 35 years and directed handbell choirs for 18 years. Billie chaired a three-year church futuring study, served on the Minnesota Conference UMC Executive Committee, and held district offices in missionary education and Christian service.

She was a charter member of the Rochester Methodist Hospital (RMH) Auxiliary. ("Pink Ladies"). She held most of its offices, including president. Billie logged 29,199 service hours for the Auxiliary, including knitting 4,044 baby caps. At the request of RMH leaders at the time, she sewed more than 6,000 nurse hats for new nurses when they still wore the traditional white headwear. Billie was a Member of RMH Board of Directors (1979-86) and served as RMH Historian. She also served on the Heritage Committee of the Mayo Medical Center.

Billie volunteered for the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and PTA when her children were growing up. She belonged to the Rochester Music Guild, served on Boards for YWCA, Friends of Mayowood Residence, and was active in both the City of Rochester and Minnesota Council of Churches.

She was a charter initiate of Rochester PEO Chapter CK in 1948. She served as chapter president twice and in other offices. Billie served for five years as Cottey College area chairman, State Educational Fund chairman, and chairman of the 1966 state convention. She was elected to the executive board in 1966 and served in all offices, including president in 1972-73. As President, she worked on the establishment of the Minnesota P.E.O. Home Fund corporation in 1974 and served as its chairman for the next four years.

Billie and Jerry moved to Charter House in 1996. Billie served as chairman of the Arts and Decorating Committee and Welcome Committee.

Billie was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, Glenn, and her loving husband, Jerry; she is survived by her sister, Ruth, and her children, Dr. Robert (Janice) Needham of Waconia, MN, Patricia (Bruce) Steuernagel of Apple Valley, MN; six grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren.

A celebration of life service will be held 2:00 PM Tuesday July 25, 2023 at Charter House 211 2nd St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901. Visitation will be held, starting at 1:00 PM until time of the service. A private family burial was held at Grandview Memorial Gardens. Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Needham family; to share a special memory or condolence please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Billie Cecilia Needham, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Charter House

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Celebration of Life

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

Charter House

Plant Trees

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