Marie Antoinette Buteau was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to Mavis Louise Dufour a Jamaican, and Charles Marie Dufour from France. She grew up in Rollington Town and the family attended Holy Rosary Church. She attended Holy Rosary Preparatory School (now Primary), Holy Childhood High School and Alpha Commercial College.
In December, 1966 she met Michel Buteau who was visiting the island from New York and they became pen pals. In April, 1967 she migrated to New York and in September of 1967 she married Michel. While, in New York she attended Drake’s Business School in order to be better qualified to work as a secretary while she attended College to be a Dietician (this did not materialize).
In order to make ends meet, she worked as a housekeeper, earning the princely wage of $1.50 per hour. Later on, she worked as a cashier in Brooklyn and a waitress at Woolworth in Manhattan before taking a job as a secretary earning $90.00 per week.
After residing in New York 5 years, the couple relocated to New Jersey where she attended Montclair State College at night while working full time as a secretary for a large importer. After the birth of her daughter in 1977, Marie decided to quit college to be there for her daughter since she was working a full time job.
In 1981 Marie took the Customshouse Broker License test and received her Customshouse Broker License by the Department of the Treasury in 1982. The family relocated to Miramar, Florida in 1995 where her daughter was accepted in Florida International University.
In 1996 Marie’s brother, Rev. Charles Dufour was ordained Bishop of Montego Bay, Jamaica. This event inspired Marie to start the “Children’s Education Fund to assist the poor children of Western Jamaica to obtain an education. She, along with a group of friends began to collect monetary donations to purchase school supplies to send to primary school children in Montego Bay. In the meantime, Bishop Dufour established the Good Shepherd Foundation in Montego Bay to provide social services in Western Jamaica including the Hope Hospice for the terminally ill and people with HIV/AIDS and partnered with Mustard Seed Communities to take care of children with disabilities as well as unwed mothers.
In 1998, Friends of Good Shepherd Mobay Inc. was incorporated in Florida as a non-profit organization with Marie serving as the President, a position she still holds. The primary goal of Friends of Good Shepherd Mobay Inc. (FOGS) was to provide monetary and other support to the organizations which are under the umbrella of the Good Shepherd Foundation. Marie has worked tirelessly over the years (making calls, writing letters, collecting donations in kind – used clothing, medical equipment, educational supplies, etc.) to obtain donations for the organizations previously mentioned. She has turned her garage and sometimes her living room into a storage facility for the donated goods until they can be packed and shipped to Jamaica.
Her devotion to the cause of the poor in Western Jamaica has driven Marie to give up her personal time, therefore, on many Saturdays Marie can be found either at a warehouse or in her garage packing items for shipment to Jamaica. Marie will tell you that her years of experience in the shipping business prepared her for the packing and shipping of the goods to Jamaica.
As president of FOGS, Marie organizes an annual dinner as its major fundraiser. In addition to the dinner ticket sales, Ads/sponsorship are sold for a commemorative magazine
In 2015, the organization changed its name to Friends of Good Shepherd International, Inc. because its outreach has extended beyond the shores of Jamaica. FOGS has given assistance to other countries and states that have suffered catastrophic natural disasters. In addition scholarships are awarded locally in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties to deserving students. FOGS was instrumental in assisting with the newly constructed US$3.5M clinic in Montego Bay.
Marie was recognized by the Caribbean Bar Association in 2000 for her dedication to the people of Western Jamaica and the Consulate General of Jamaica in Miami for her philanthropic work.
She is humble and seeks no reward for her work. As she often explains, her motivation is the desire to share her good fortune with others. Her dream is to see FOGS grow and provide even more services to the needy in Jamaica and beyond. See the work of the Foundation at www.friendsofgoodshepherd.org
Marie is the proud grandma of toddler twins, Hazel and Otis.