Obituary of John Butler
John is a proud American with great pride in his Irish heritage. He comes from a long line of Irishmen. His late parents, Mary and Stanley, were both born in America. His paternal grandparents can be traced to Ireland. Grandfather Thomas came from County Tipperary. Grandmother Agnes was born in Canada and her parents were from Dublin and Belfast. His maternal great-grandparents, John and Gertrude McDevitt, were born in Ireland and came from Donegal.
John was born in Pennsylvania and is the oldest of five children. He and his three brothers, Richard, Dennis, and Brian and sister Jill grew up in West Orange.
John and his wife Joyce married in 1967 and lived in Parsippany and Dover before moving to Succasunna 40 years ago. They are most proud of their family. Their two daughters, Kelly and Teri, grew up in Roxbury, graduated from Roxbury High School and both went on to graduate from Penn State University. (John often commented on how his daughters and all his money went to Penn State!) Obviously, the Butlers are big Penn State fans. Both girls are married, Kelly to Albert Musmanno, and Teri to Shawn Burke and have added 3 grandchildren to the Butler family, Jake (14), Zack (11) and Colin (10).
John graduated from West Orange High School and went on to Rutgers, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management at nights while working full-time during the day. He started his career in pension administration at Prudential in Newark. After leaving Prudential after 26 years, he worked with The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Merrill Lynch, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Mellon Financial and most recently with Affiliated Computer Services. John retired from his “career” in June 2009, but not from his many church and community activities.
John was an active member of the Morris County community; a Trustee of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick (FSSP) of Morris County; a member of the Irish American Association of Northwest New Jersey (IAANJ); and for six years was President of Saint Patrick’s Day Parade of Morris County, of which he was honored as the Grand Marshall in March of 2010. He has been an active participant in nearly all aspects of the parade activities for over 22 years, including coordinating the Line of March, interacting with the media, working with Morristown Administration and Police Departments to assure safe fun-filled parade day activities, serving on the Parade and Finance Committees, and co-chairing the successful parade ad journal that funds the parade each year. He has also been a volunteer at the Annual Irish Feis sponsored by the IAANJ (formerly at Waterloo Village and currently at Sussex County Fairgrounds each September). In addition, he marched in West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade each year with FSSP.
When not helping promote Irish culture in Morris County and working on the Parade, John was an active member of Saint Therese Church, Succasunna, NJ, where he was an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and regularly visited Merry Heart Nursing Home residents so they can share in the Eucharist. He has served on various parish committees over the years; taught CCD and been a sponsor catechist for Confirmation; and regularly volunteers at St. Therese annual carnival. For the past 25 years, he has participated in the parish’s involvement with Trinity Lutheran Church, Dover, NJ, as a regular server at TLC’s Faith Soup Kitchen that provides daily meals to those in need.
John was also an active member of the Knights of Columbus (Knights) since he joined in 1969. He was a Fourth Degree and Past Grand Knight and the current Financial Secretary of Saint Therese Council Number 6320 in Succasunna. He was instrumental in establishing and leading the Council’s Scholarship Committee that awards annual scholarships to Council members’ children and grandchildren. In 1993 he developed, and continued to coordinate, the Council’s annual three-week Project WARMTH (We Are Really Meant To Help) program that serves those in need locally and within the Diocese of Paterson. He also initiated and led the council support of the council’s involvement and commitment to TLC’s Faith Kitchen. John has served on most of the Council activity committees (Church, Pro-Life, Community, Youth, and Council activity programs) over the years. Note too that he is a third generation Knight of Columbus, with his father, Stanley, and grandfather, Thomas, having been long time active members before him.
Additionally, John served on the Board of Trustees for the Department for Persons with Disabilities (DPD), A Catholic Charities Agency in the Diocese of Paterson where he was active on the Finance, Development and Golf Committees. The DPD was started over 50 years ago helping individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They operate 10 group homes, 2 supervised apartments, and a vocational day program that provide services for people who live in the community. John regularly supported their various group homes, most notably the Calabrese House in Parsippany, for which he annually helped run his Knights council's Christmas gift drive and disability drive. He was recently honored this past June 2017 at the Wiegand Farm Golf Classic with the Knight of the Year Award is a tribute to the Order's many good works. This award is presented to a "Catholic Gentleman" who embodies the Knight's four core principles: Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism.
In 1995, John was honored as a recipient of the James Sprow Community Service Award in Roxbury. The award was the community’s recognition of his service to church and community. Service included some of activities described above as well as his youth activities as coach of his daughters’ sports teams, soccer, softball and basketball. He was an early member and past treasurer of the Roxbury Soccer Club.
What little time John had left after all of his charitable, church and community activities, he was still able to enjoy playing golf with friends and family, going into the city to see Broadway shows, and he could always be found on the sideline or stands watching soccer, baseball, and hockey games cheering on his grandsons.
John was a special man who touched the lives and hearts of too many people to count. His family, friends, church, and community will sorely miss his big heart and smile and will count our blessings every day for having had him in our lives.
A Celebration of John's Life will include a visitation on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 from 4pm to 8pm at the William J. Leber Funeral Home, 15 Furnace Road (Corner of Rt. 206), Chester, NJ (908) 879-3090. A 10am funeral mass will be celebrated on Wednesday January 24 at St. Therese Church in Succasunna, NJ. Interment will be held privately by the family. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Department of Person with Disabilities (DPD) at http://dpd.org/.
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