PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – Richard C. “Dick” Butler, 82, of St. Petersburg, Florida, and native son of Cooperstown, passed away October 19, 2021. He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Anita Gettys Butler of St. Petersburg, Florida; son Brian Butler of Woburn, Massachusetts, daughter-in-law Siobhan and granddaughters Joanie and Sinead; daughter Wendy Macfarlane of Essex, Vermont, granddaughters Alexandra, Jill and Megan, and great-granddaughter Lucy; son Keith Butler of Honeoye Falls, daughter-in-law Jennifer and granddaughter Mairen; sister Susan Butler McCullough of Cazenovia, husband John; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was especially proud of his granddaughters and great-granddaughter. He was predeceased by his parents Clyde and Agnes Butler; sister Jean Butler Olin, brother-in-law Richard Olin; and former wife Gail Thomas Pillar.
Dick was born at MIB Hospital Cooperstown on May 11, 1939, and graduated from Cooperstown High School in 1956, where he lettered in basketball and baseball, and was active in many clubs and activities, including the Student Council. In 1956 he was awarded the CCS John Terry McGovern Sportsmanship Trophy. Upon graduation, he attended St. Lawrence University, and before finishing, enlisted in the US Army, where he served from 1959-1960 and 1961-1962. Upon discharge, he returned to St. Lawrence and received a BA degree in English in 1964. During this time, he married Gail Thomas, started a family, and went on to work for Key Bank in Albany, Honeywell in Needham Heights, Massachusetts, Mohawk Data Sciences in Herkimer, and Hewlett-Packard in Framingham, Massachusetts. In 1974, he returned to Cooperstown as a third-generation owner/operator of Butler Press. He loved the opportunity to carry on the family printing business, be his own boss, and for his children to call Cooperstown home.
He was very active in the Cooperstown community, and particularly proud of his service in the Cooperstown Fire Department, where he was Secretary and Foreman of Engine Company 2, and the Cooperstown Emergency Squad, where he responded to over 1,000 calls. He also served as president of the Chamber of Commerce and was president of the CCS Alumni Association. He and his family took advantage of all that Cooperstown had to offer, particularly Otsego Lake, where his Chris Craft ski boat was a fixture. He was a member of the First Baptist Church and American Legion Post 579.
In the mid 1980’s, Dick moved to Florida to pursue a warmer climate and a career in real estate. It was here that he would meet and fall in love with Anita Gettys, marry, and settle in St. Petersburg. He spent many years investing in and renovating homes, as well as providing mortgage brokerage services. Anita was his biggest supporter, and by his side when he passed.
Throughout his whole life, his true passion was flying. He first flew an airplane in the early 1960s, and eventually received his pilot’s license in the 1970’s, going on to receive an instrument rating and commercial license. In the late 2000’s, he achieved a life-long dream and purchased a Lake Amphibian airplane and enjoyed flying it off the waters in Florida.
He also loved to travel and see new places, and has been to every state except Hawaii, nine countries, the Bahamas and US Virgin Islands.
Dick had many dreams, many of which he realized, and others that eluded him. However, he always felt that his faith and family were all that really mattered. He was an eternal optimist and had a smile that put everyone at ease. Anyone who knew him could see this.
The family will hold a private burial service at Lakewood Cemetery, Cooperstown. Memorial gifts can be made to the Cooperstown Fire Department, PO Box 1, Cooperstown, NY 13326.
The Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown is assisting the Butler Family.