AMerican Veteran 11

Gary L. Butler

May 26, 1947 ~ May 26, 2022 (age 75)


Gary L. Butler of Pittsfield finished his tour of duty on May 26, 2022, his 75th birthday, due to cancer caused by Agent Orange Exposure while serving his country in Vietnam 1966-67, surrounded by his family at home.  Gary was born May 26, 1947, the youngest of the Butler kids, to Genevieve Daniels Butler Seyl and Leo Butler at home in New Salem, IL.  Celebrating birthdays was an honored family tradition, and Gary honored his children’s “direct orders” to make it to this milestone birthday.

He attended Pittsfield High School, playing basketball and track, holding a pole vault record before the fiberglass poles came to be.  Gary started driving a truck at 15 before volunteering for service in the United States Navy as a Seabee at the age of 19. Hauling “anything from toilet paper to bombs.” He was proud of his service and always humbly said, “It was a privilege to serve my country.”

After his honorable discharge from the US Navy and returning from Vietnam, he went back to driving a truck, becoming an owner/operator in the 70’s. Despite him saying that it was the sorriest time of his life, it was yet another example of the sacrifices he made for his family’s wellbeing. He retired working for Equipment Transfer. His years of truck driving developed his skill of being a walking GPS, often helping family and friends navigate around the country with precise detail.  He was a backbreaking hard worker, often known as the “Quicker Picker Upper,” out working men half his age, being the one driver to pick up the most saddles and booms all the while packing around a potbelly made of “40,000 lbs of twisted blue steel.”

Gary was proudest of his children and their families, Angela Hull, Crystal Lewis, Christina Butler and Jerrame Butler. He was a loving and caring father, setting the example for how to love your kids, proving his love to his children in immeasurable ways. One example of showing his love was cooking his famous bacon and fried eggs, hamburger steaks and fried potatoes, and teaching his children and grandchildren how to properly dunk Oreos- not the double stuffed either. He was driven to give his children a better life than he had. His home was always a welcoming safe haven for his children and grandchildren, filled with unconditional love. He never stopped taking care of his family; they are comforted that he will always be with them. When the kids thanked him, he would always say, “That’s my job.” His children were honored and privileged to care for him during his illness after the years he spent caring for them.  He was proud of his family legacy through the accomplishments of his grandchildren, attending school activities, special occasions, and reserving his vacation time to spend with his grandchildren.  He looked forward to watching his great grandson grow.

He loved riding his scooter (motorcycle), a good joke, listening to the saddest country music you could find, and watching Oak Island and Gun Smoke. His favorite Dadisms were “It is what it is” and “I did my best.”  He had a lifelong passion for learning the history of this country’s western expansion, in particular the Oregon Trail, often stating he “was born a hundred years too late.”  There was nothing Gary couldn’t build or fix, enjoying the challenge of creating a solution, whether it was rewiring and remodeling his family’s homes or improvising for a broken wiper motor. He always had a precise and methodical way of completing his work in both his personal and professional life.

No one was bossier than Gary, as advertised by his favorite hat with “Bossy” embroidered on it, always touting “Do as I say, not as I do” and taking the phrase “backseat driver” to new levels, making it another family memory.  He “thought a lot of” the ladies at his favorite eating establishments. The family thanks them for holding a special place in his life.

Gary leaves behind his children, Angela (Jeff) Hull of Worden, IL, Crystal (Ken) Lewis of Mt. Sterling, IL, (with late former wife Pamela Garner), Christina Butler of Pittsfield, IL, and Jerrame Butler of Quincy, IL (with former wife Kimberly Bush), grandchildren, Clint (Delia) Lewis, Carter Lewis, Nathaniel and Mara Hull, Genevieve Allen, Adaline and Roslyn Hughes, great-grandson Damien Lewis, brothers Roger, Allen, and Tracy, special friend Pat Hayden, pickle loaf sandwiches and puppy dog Fred.

He is preceded in death by his parents, baby brother Murray, brother Konrad, sister Marcia, and puppy dog Zero.

Following his wishes, there will not be any services and cremation rights have been observed.

However, family and friends are invited to celebrate his life Sunday, June 5 from 2-4 at the Riverbank Bar and Grill in Florence, IL. Come enjoy a fish sandwich and a PBR in his honor and share your stories.  Memorials are suggested to be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.  Online condolences may be left to the family at  Niebur Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

He is missed beyond words.                   

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gary L. Butler, please visit our floral store.

Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for Gary

We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Pittsfield Location

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Celebration of Life
June 5, 2022

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Riverbank Bar and Grill
104 Florence Rd
Florence, IL 62363


St. Jude Children's Hospital
262 Danny Thomas Pl, Memphis, TN 38105 ,

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