PEORIA - Donald Eugene Butler, 86, of Peoria, formerly of Paris, Ill., passed away at 12:14 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.
Don graduated from Paris High School in 1945. After graduation, he farmed before enlisting in the United States Air Force on July 5, 1946, where he served until July 4, 1949.
Don attended the University of Illinois, where he graduated in 1954 with a bachelor's degree in agriculture. While attending the U of I, he was a member of Theta Kappa Phi fraternity. Following graduation, Don worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in soil conservation, during which time he worked on the development of Rend Lake in southern Illinois. He later retired from Danville Metal Stamping in 1991.
While living in Paris, Don was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church and enjoyed spending time with his family playing cards, camping, music, dancing and was an avid gardener and long-standing Cubs fan. Don was very devoted to his family, and was strong in his Catholic faith. Upon moving to Peoria, he became a member of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.
Don was born Dec. 13, 1926, in Paris, Ill., to Eugene "Gene" Thomas and Ruth Cecilia Mattingly Butler. He married Marilyn Joan Reise on Sept. 3, 1955, in Edwardsville, Ill.
She survives along with eight children: five daughters, Linda (Stan) Hartwig, Susan (Ted ) Ukleja and Brenda (Angel) Tierro, all of Peoria, Mary (Butch) Fritz of Oakland, Ill., and Dr. Therese (Kevin) Polo of Carlinville, Ill.; and three sons, Don Butler of Bloomington, Ill., Ken (Anne) Butler of Glendale Heights, Ill., and Robert (Elizabeth) Butler of Highland, Ill. He had 18 grandchildren, Jon Hartwig, Rachel Ukleja, Katherine (Matt) Freise, TJ (Kirsten) Ukleja, Lisa Ukleja, Alicia (Cody) McQueen, Stephanie Butler, Matthew Butler, Alex Butler, Abbie Butler, Josh Butler, Christina (Caleb) Pierce, Andrew Butler, Christopher Tierro, Ryan Tierro, Ben Polo, Laura Polo and Katie Polo; and four great-grandchildren, John Pierce, Alexis Hartwig and Paisley Hartwig and Jonah Freise. Don is also survived by one brother, Allen (Rose) Butler of Litchfield, Ill.; and three sisters, Leona (Jim) Eastham of Indianapolis, Ind., Delores (Bob) Keeler of Avon, Ind., and Rosemary (Fred) Colter of Savoy, Ill.
He was preceded in death by his parents and three sisters, Louise Buck, Betty Buck and Pauline Hutchings.
A funeral Mass will be on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, at 10 a.m. at Resurrection Mausoleum Chapel. Visitation will be Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Wright & Salmon Mortuary in Peoria. Further visitation will be one half hour prior to the Mass on Thursday at the mausoleum. Military honors will be accorded at the mausoleum.
Memorials may be made to Easter Seals of Peoria or Farmington Country Manor, where Don was affectionately known as "Grandpa."
Tributes and condolences may be submitted to www.wrightandsalmon. com.