Sigrid Button - 69
June 22, 2022
Sigrid was born in La Jolla, California, to parents who had recently emigrated from Hardanger, Norway. Sigrid's parents, Jens Velken and Hulda Langesaeter Velken, imparted on her a great appreciation for their Norwegian culture, a love of the natural world, and an impressive work ethic. Sigrid excelled at everything she set her mind to do. In high school, she graduated as a valedictorian. She attended the University of California, San Diego, for her undergraduate degree, where she met her future husband Robert (Bob) Button. Subsequently, she obtained a master's degree from San Jose State University. Upon entering the workforce, she found she had a natural aptitude as a leader and manager. She built both her career and professional community at the Casey Eye Institute, ultimately serving as the Associate Director. She devoted herself to a core part of Casey's mission: to eliminate preventable blindness in Oregon and beyond. She counted herself privileged to love her work and have a deep connection to her many professional colleagues and friends. In her spare time, she enjoyed gardening, preserving and canning food, baking bread, traveling, tinkering with her camera, spending time at the beach, and reading. The greatest joy in Sigrid's life was her family. She was blessed with 47 years of marriage to her best friend Bob. Married shortly after college, Bob and Sigrid grew into adulthood together and supported each other through all the joys and challenges that accompany a life well lived. Sigrid was also a proud and adoring mother of two children: Erik and Whitney. She was grateful to see them grow into adulthood and start families of their own. At the time of her death, she had three grandchildren and was bestowed with the loving title of Besta, which is short for Bestemor and means grandmother in Norwegian. Sigrid delighted in time with her grandchildren Matthew and Ella Button, taking them to the zoo and hosting them at her home after school. Their inquisitiveness and jubilant energy delighted Sigrid. In her final year of life, her anticipation of the arrival of her third grandchild, Marianna Sigrid Fournier, gave her determination and hope. She was overjoyed to meet Marianna weeks before her death. Sigrid's love of family was evident at all times and only grew over the years. Many of her work colleagues remarked they felt they knew her children and grandchildren intimately through the stories she shared with them. In November 2020, Sigrid was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, which is an aggressive and difficult-to-treat brain tumor. She successfully fought her cancer for twenty months, undergoing two awake brain surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy, all with the hope and result of preserving quality of life. She showed her strength of character during her fight with cancer. She demonstrated courage, determination, and humor during one of the most challenging periods of her life. She died surrounded by her family with the same grace and dignity with which she lived. She is survived by her husband Robert Button; son Erik Velken Button (Julia Carr); daughter Whitney Soquelle Button (Yanik Fournier); grandchildren Matthew Logan Button, Ella Marie Button, and Marianna Sigrid Fournier; brother Jon Velken; and multitudes of wonderful Norwegian cousins. She had many dear friends from every stage of life. Sigrid had a great interest in philanthropy and public service. She served as a board member of the Oregon Zoo Foundation and Guide Dogs for the Blind, and she made several service trips to Mexico and Central America. She gave generously to many local, national, and international charities. Gifts to honor Sigrid's life can be made to the Oregon Zoo Foundation, Casey Eye Institute, Central City Concern, Providence Cancer Institute, Glioblastoma Foundation or a charity of your choice.