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Rhett Butler

1940 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Rhett Butler Obituary
Rhett Wheeler Butler, 77, of Lake Forest, Illinois and Paradise Valley, Arizona died peacefully at home in Paradise Valley on November 22, 2017. He was born March 9, 1940 in Oak Park, IL. Butler graduated from Culver Military Academy ('58) followed by the University of Exeter and DePauw University ('62) and the Kellogg School at Northwestern University ('64). He started his career in international business at Goodyear Corporation then became the head of the World Trade Division of the Chicago Association of Commerce & Industry. Butler became President of his family business, Unistrut Corporation, which he sold to GTE where Butler worked as VP of GTE Sylvania and then President of GTE Directories Corp. (Verizon). Butler started Butler Products Corporation, a diversified investment and real estate company, and was President of the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management after having taught there for many years. He also enjoyed developing his family farm, "Walnut Hills." Butler was devoted to his family, friends, colleagues and communities. He served in Lake Forest for twelve years as Alderman, Planning Commissioner and Mayor. He was committed to expecting the best of himself and providing the best to his community in all aspects of his reach. It was his desire that each citizen be treated with dignity and each voice heard equally." Butler was active on many non-for-profits including: Life Trustee for the Museum of Science & Industry, DePauw University, Board Member of the Joffrey Ballet, the Lake Forest Symphony, Ballet Arizona, and the Five Arts Circle of Arizona. His passion for education and fine arts was supported by his numerous commitments to many other organizations he admired. Butler was an inspiration to many in his ability to live a life of grace, compassion and kindness. He was a gentleman who mastered his circumstances in solitude and was an example to all. He was admired for his intelligence and broad based knowledge. His loved ones and friends will miss him dearly. Butler was preceded in death by his parents, George and Gladys W. Butler, and is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Kay Burney Butler, his daughters Elizabeth (Shelby) Pruett, Karen (Hugh) Connell and his adoring grandchildren: Grayson, Shelby and Reding Pruett, Cedar and Posey Connell, his sister Lynne (Gil) Adams, and brother-in-law Dr. Robert G. (Katie) Burney. Services will be held January 20, 2018, Christ Church of the Ascension, Paradise Valley, AZ and May 31, 2018, Church of the Holy Spirit, Lake Forest, IL. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations would be deeply appreciated by the following: The Butler Scholars - Culver Academies, 1300 Academy Road #153, Culver, IN 46511 and the Butler Leadership Scholar Fund - DePauw University, 300 E. Seminary, P.O. Box 37, Greencastle, IN 46135.
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication on Jan. 11, 2018
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