After a long and courageous battle with cancer, Elena died peacefully on Saturday, June 26, 2021, at home in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband Stuart Hatcher and daughters Annie Hatcher and Sophie Hatcher at her side. Her son Andrei Butterfield was with her via calls from his home in Japan, as were her brother Florian Costescu and sister-in-law Ana from Romania, and first husband John Butterfield from Colorado.
Elena was born in Bucharest, Romania, on Sept. 30, 1956, and moved to the United States in 1978 after her marriage to John Butterfield. A gifted linguist who spoke five languages fluently (Romanian, English, Italian, Spanish and French) and studied numerous others throughout her life, she earned a master’s degree in Romance Languages at Rutgers University and completed advance study for her doctorate.
Elena married Stuart Hatcher in 1997 and settled in Arlington, Virginia, where she spent more than two decades as an ESL teacher in Arlington Public Schools. Although Arlington was home base, she spent her life in virtually nonstop travel, visiting (among other locations) Italy, Spain, Turkey, Greece, France, Austria, Hungary, and the United Kingdom, and joining Foreign Service officer Stu at diplomatic posts in the Czech Republic, Japan, and Bulgaria.
She was a proud and loving mother to her son Andrei and her twin daughters Annie and Sophie; a devoted friend to people all over the world; a lifelong learner; a determined and self-trained athlete who won road races as a master runner; and a passionate lover of nature.
She adored music of all types (with a particular focus on choral singing), circle dance, the mountains of Romania, the seaside at dawn, international films, bicycling, live theater, books, and children. But most of all, she loved her family and her friends. The family is planning a celebration of her life in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we invite you to leave a message on the Tribute Wall here.
Elena is survived by her husband Stuart Hatcher of Arlington, Virginia; son Andrei Butterfield of Tokyo, Japan; daughters Annie Hatcher of Arlington and Sophie Hatcher of Mahwah, New Jersey; first husband John Butterfield and sister-in-law Evanne Browne, of Boulder, Colorado; brother Florian Costescu and sister-in-law Ana Costescu, of Bucharest, Romania; stepdaughter Emily McCloskey and her husband Troy, of Wayne, Pennsylvania; granddaughters Winnie and Naomi McCloskey of Wayne, Pennsylvania; stepdaughter Gloria Hatcher of Horsham, Pennsylvania; brother-in-law Bedford Hatcher of Wilmington, North Carolina; sister-in-law Manuela Costescu, of Falls Church, Va.; niece Vladlena Costescu of Rockville, Maryland; nephew Maxwell Butterfield and his partner Michael Wilt, of Columbus, Ohio; and brother-in-law Gerry Butterfield of Middletown, Ohio.
The family is planning a celebration of her life on the afternoon of July 24th at their home in Arlington and will be communicating with family and friends with more details soon.
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