Aston Gardens
Sue Butler, Executive Director of Aston Gardens at her retirement parade {photo by Jen Russon}

By: Jen Russon

For the past two decades, Aston Gardens at Parkland Commons has been under the indefatigable leadership of Executive Director Sue Butler, who, after 22 years, is stepping down to enjoy her retirement on October 1.

On Wednesday, residents and staff banded together to throw a parade in Butler’s honor; a surprise Director Allyson Katz said they were able to keep a secret until the very last minute.

“Sue basically ran our entire community. We’re going to miss her so much. Everyone here loves her, so we all got involved in planning this,” said Katz.

Butler was joined by Julie Cooper, nursing director, and other staff at the entrance of the senior community. They had gathered with their residents to celebrate the long career of Sue Butler.

The residents, some of them close to 100, helped make the posters and banners they waved, as a caravan led by the Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department drove by honking and trailing mylar balloons.

Rommel Vassell, center, stands in front of Aston Garden Staff’s parade welcome, September 29 {photo by Jen Russon}

After two drive-by’s, Butler emerged from an SUV, dabbing at her eyes with a tissue.

“This is very emotional for me. These people are my family. I’m excited to start my new life, but at the same time, I’m also sad,” said Butler, detailing her immediate retirement plans.

She said she’ll travel to Orlando, where she used to live, in time to celebrate her mother’s 90th birthday.

A resident of Coral Springs, Butler, moved from central Florida shortly before joining Aston Gardens. Before that, she worked 24 years for Disney, dividing her career there between food and finance. 

She lives with her partner, Jay, who joined the Aston Gardens reception area party shortly after the noon-time parade dispersed.

“There’s so much I want to do in retirement, especially since the last two years have been so hard with COVID. I’m going to lose the 10 pounds I gained, relax, and just take good care of myself.”

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Author Profile

Jen Russon
Jen Russon
Jen Russon is a freelance writer and English Language Arts teacher. She has published two novels to Amazon Kindle and lives in Coral Springs with her family.

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