BUTLER - James Peter Formerly of the Town of Tonawanda and Chatham MA, passed away peacefully Monday, March 10, weeks shy of his 95th birthday. He was born April 12, 1919 to Louise (Lonien) and William J. Butler (NYS Assemblyman for the 3rd District). An accomplished athlete throughout school - gymnastics, baseball, handball, swimming, track - Jim was an avid Boy Scout receiving his highly prized Eagle Scout Badge in 1935. He graduated the Fosdick-Masten Park High School in 1936 and entered Indiana University that same year pursuing a B.S. degree in Physical Education. Upon graduating in 1940, Jim enlisted in the Navy, and was a Chief Petty Officer assigned to the Pacific Theater during WWII. After the war, he returned to Buffalo to concurrently teach Phyical Education in the Buffalo Schools, be the Athletic Director for the Buffalo Athletic Club and establish Butler's Liquors on the corner of High & Lemon. He eventually relocated his business to the Town of Tonawanda, Sheridan Plaza. Athletic distinctions included induction into the WNY Softball Hall of Fame and having held the Buffalo Double's Handball title for numerous years. Jim continued playing handball well into his 80's and exercised daily to the last. He was a firm believer in and supporter of youth athletic leagues and wildlife organizations. An unwavering patriot, a fierce competitor, a fiercer friend, Jim Butler was a man who never questioned his true north and lived life on his terms. He cherished his family and friends and was an ardent fan of the Bills, the ponies and his Manhattan on the rocks. Preceded in death by his wife of 47 years, Janice Gifford Butler, Jim is survived by his daughter, Kathleen (William) Keim, Columbus OH; sons, William J. (Susan) Butler, Simsbury CT; Mark J. (Jacqueline) Butler, Amherst NY; Peter J. (Jennifer) Butler, Boise ID.; grandchildren Michael W. (Katherine) Butler, Rebecca (Phillip) Smith, Drew Keim, Michael J. Butler, Madeline Butler, Connor Butler, Quinn Butler and great-grandson Corey Butler. Jim was a father figure to many including John D. Wydra, Sr. and Patricia J. Ericson (deceased). Plans for a Summer Memorial Service to be announced.
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Published in the Buffalo News from Mar. 15 to Mar. 16, 2014