By Amantha Garpiel
PIQUA — Loretta “Butter” Rousseau is celebrating her 100th birthday on March 2, 2023.
Born in 1923 and raised in Piqua, Rousseau has lived a fulfilling life in the small town, according to her family.
“Very happy. I was always happy,” said Rousseau about her life when she was a kid.
Rousseau, known by friends and family as Butter, is the youngest of four kids, she has two older sisters and an older brother. She was raised by her mother and father; her father worked at Hartzell Propeller and her mother was a stay at home mom. The nickname Butter came from one of her older sisters when she was just a baby. The nickname originated from a comic strip with a character named Buttercup, and because she was such a chunky baby, her older sister suggested the family call her Buttercup and the nickname stuck. She is even known as Butter by the staff at Garbry Ridge Assisted Living.
Right after graduating from Piqua High School in 1941 Rousseau went to work at Pioneer Electric Cooperative, formally Pioneer Rural Electric Cooperative, where she worked for about 53 years. She started at Pioneer Electric as a cashier, then in the billing department, and years later she became the capital credit clerk. During her 53 years there, she did retire in 1946 to become a full-time mom to her two children, Ken Rousseau and Julie (Rousseau) Davis. Ken passed away in a plane accident at age 68 in 2014. Julie is still living and often visits her mother at Garbry Ridge Assisted Living in Piqua. Rousseau returned to Pioneer Electric in 1954 as a part-time employee until she fully retired in 1994.
She grew up in Piqua, started her family and raised her two children there. She married Arnold “Bud” Rousseau on Dec. 9, 1943 when he returned from fighting in WWII. Bud passed away in June of 2002 during their 58th year of marriage.
“His real name was Arnold, he hated it. So it was Bud. It was always Bud and Butter,” said Rousseau
During the war, Loretta wanted to switch jobs and go to work in a war plant, Lear Avia, because she heard they were paying 90 cents per hour. Her mother immediately struck down that idea because Pioneer Electric would be in Piqua long after the war and the factories for the war were gone.
Outside of working at Pioneer and raising her two children, Loretta was a pianist and organist for the Church of Christ in Piqua, formerly located on the corner of Boone and Broadway Streets.
According to her daughter Julie, Loretta has always been a social person and that continues today. She is always participating in any sort of activities held by Garbry Ridge.
She said, “If anything’s going (on), I go.”
Over the years, the Rousseau family has grown in size. Today Loretta has seven grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren in Ohio and Alabama.