Was born July 7, 1935 in San Pedro, Ca. Joe led a very eventful life. He lived and worked on a turkey farm as a boy, and there was never a Thanksgiving that would pass where we wouldn't hear about how much he hated turkeys, and how stupid they were. He played football in high school, and instead of carrying that through to college, he went into the Navy, where he served in the Korean war on the U.S.S Shangri-la. He worked in the prison system for several years at places like Folsom and Vacaville, where we heard many stories about famous inmates he came into contact with. He went on to become a CHP officer, graduating from the California Highway Patrol Academy in 1965. He was a Highway Patrol Officer in Southern California and was a Sonoma County CHP Officer for over 20 years. It was during this time he acquired the nickname "Mad Dog Butler" when the phrase, "you're nothing but a mad dog!" was screamed at him after a routine traffic stop (and he never was shy about telling you this story if you met him.) He went on to work at the VA hospital in Martinez as a boiler plant operator, and after, that, enjoyed working at his final place of employment in the 90s, Marine World. Joe was a hard worker, and often attended school throughout the years while working full time in order to achieve whatever occupation he wanted, or goal he wanted to reach. He wasn't a loud man, "unless he was throwing you in jail". He was complicated, often hard to deal with and set in his ways, but if you were a true friend or family member, he would do anything for you. The biggest loves of his life were his family. He had few friends, but the few he had were important to him. He loved his grandkids and his daughter and felt his son-in-law was the son he never had. If you walked into his house, you'd see his walls, refrigerator, and wall unit covered in pictures of family. He enjoyed classic western movies and all war movies. Most of all, he loved taking his grandkids to dinner or to the toy store, and bbcue-ing on his deck with family in his younger years. Joe left this earth on December 10th, 2013, as his daughter held his hand. He had the best of care in the last week of his life, but his body finally gave in. He left peacefully. He is survived by his daughter, Tracy Lynn Calmer (Ken) of Santa Rosa, and his grandchildren, Mackenzie and Kenny Houser, and Alex Calmer, all of Santa Rosa. He loved them all dearly. He is also survived by his sister Colleen Lee (Danny) of Sparks, NV. A service will be held on Saturday, December 28th, at 1 p.m. at Daniel's Chapel of the Roses in Santa Rosa. There will be a slide show and refreshments afterwards at Tracy's house following the service. His daughter and son-in-law wish to send a special thank you to the ICU and Palliative Care nurses and doctors at Memorial Hospital for their compassionate care of Joe, and his family, during the last week of his life. Also to their friends and family for helping then through....in particular Arielle Kohn and her dog Lulu for staying with Joe when they couldn't. We'll miss you Dad. I hope you are at peace wherever you are, flashing your badge at everyone you meet.
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Published Online in the Press Democrat from Dec. 19 to Dec. 20, 2013