John E. Butler, Jr.

December 10, 1944 ‒ September 29, 2017

Lexington, Ohio

LEXINGTON: J.R.R. Tolkien once said,”I’d rather spend one lifetime with you than face all of the ages of this world alone.”  This is how John Butler felt about his family.   A family-man, John was tenderhearted, selfless, and enjoyed a vibrant life.  John E. Butler, Jr. passed away, Friday September 29, 2017 in OhioHealth Hospital Mansfield following a brief illness.  He was 72.

The son of John E. Butler Sr. and Norma E. (Stallard) Butler, John was born in Grayson, Kentucky December 10, 1944.  He graduated from Lexington High School in 1963.  John continued his education at Olivet Nazarene College where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.  He later took courses to receive his teaching certification.  During a church function at college he met Judi Smith.  The two began dating and were married August 17, 1968 in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.  In 1979, John later earned his Master’s Degree in Education from Ashland University.

For 32 years he taught 5th grade at Lexington, retiring in 1999.  Making a difference in the lives of his students, he opened the world of science fiction to his 5th graders.  Often incorporating books such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, John encouraged his students to dream and explore.  John loved to read, especially science fiction novels.  His passion for reading was nearly surpassed by his love of electronics.  John absolutely had to have the next great gadget.

Following his retirement as a teacher, John began working for the Richland County Public Library where he taught in the computer lab.

John was a member of Lexington Church of the Cross, past president of the Kiwanis Club, Board of Elections, member of the OSU Alumni Club, and proudly served on the Democratic National Committee.

He is survived by his loving and devoted wife Judi Butler of Lexington; daughter Staci Brown (Mike Daniels) of Mansfield; granddaughter Aleksei Butler of Lexington; great granddaughters Kendall and Willow; sister Susan (David) McClenathan of Butler; step mother Pauline Butler of Mansfield; four nephews and one niece; as well as cousins, great nieces and nephews and extended family.

Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by his granddaughter Jessika Brown.

John’s family will receive friends Wednesday, October 4, 2017 from 4-7pm in the Lexington Avenue Snyder Funeral Home where his funeral service will be Thursday at 11am.  Pastor Glenn Hamilton will officiate.

Memorial contributions to the COTC Snack Sack Ministry (Please make checks payable to Church of the Cross) may be made through the funeral home.

Online condolences to John’s family may be made by

  • To the Butler family, our prayers are with you and your family during this period of grief. We are so sorry to hear about your loss.

  • Judi and Staci,
    I was truly sorry to hear of John’s passing. You will always have your memories of a man who touched countless lives. His love of reading and technology were always evident.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you two and your extended family.

  • Judi and Family, Dan and I were shocked to hear today of John’s passing. You have our condolences. He was a good man. We always enjoyed talking with him. He will be so missed. Love and Prayers, Dan and Cindy Strader

  • I am a former student and am so saddened to read of Mr. Butler’s passing. He was a wonderful teacher. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  • Mr.Butler was my 5th grade teacher..such a great teacher..I will always remember him as the one who introduced me to the Hobbit…my condolences to his family. ..truly a great man

  • So very sorry to hear about Mr. Butler passing away. My condolences and many prayers to his family and friends.

  • Judi, Staci, and Family,

    It was sad to hear of John’s passing. I so enjoyed working at Eastern Elementary with him . Of course , I remember the joyous time for all of us then when Staci joined the John and Judi family . John was thrilled !

    John was known for his love of books . He always had one with him at lunch or his free time. For me John’s smile and his great laugh when something amused him, will always be my favorite memory of him whether it was at school, church, or just when you ran into him.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers !

    Shirley Nasipak

  • Dear Judi, Susan and family,
    So sorry to hear of the passing of our friend John Jr. I am sure the loss you feel is very great. We will be praying that you will know the peace that Jesus gives, during this time and beyond.

    Bob and Becky (Rinehart) Miller

  • Judi , Staci and Family

    Mr. Butler was my first male home room teacher and he had quite an impact on me. Of course his interest in gadgets and his sincere love of fiction we’re appealing to me. I remember him being the first teacher who warned us that America’s future might not be as rosy as we’d been told. He planted the right seed at the right time (5th grade )which I think inspired my critical thinking. Years later, when I was in high school Mr. and Mrs. Butler we’re very involved in marching band and it really meant a lot to me to have him cheering me on in spite of the fact, that I was such a pain the rear just a few years earlier in his class (no really). After high school, I would sometimes make extra trips to Radio Shack and/or the Library to bump into my old teacher and start up a conversation (which he always seemed happy to have). About two years ago when I bumped into John (I can say John now because I’m finally an adult) in the pharmacy, I had a chance to tell him basically what I’ve just said here. He listened intently as I expressed my thanks, touched my arm, and said tenderly “thank you so much for the kind comments, …. now who the hell are you?”

  • Judy, We are so saddened by the news of John’s passing. We certainly enjoyed our time together in the OSU club and when we’d see him at the library. Our daughter had a wonderful fifth grade year with him as her teacher. We know you will miss him greatly as will a host of people.
    Kay & Gerry Hudson
    Port Charlotte, FL

  • Staci, just met you thru Insurance. I knew your father, He helped me at the library with my computer and tablet. The world is so small . My heart goes out to you and your family. I will lite candles and say prayer’s for all of you.

  • Our heartfelt and deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Mr. Butler…..I remember him as one of my teachers at Eastern Elementary. I’m sorry to hear of the loss of Mr. Butler, but heaven’s gain. May God bring you comfort and strength now and in the coming days ahead.
    Our Sincerest Sympathy,
    Sharon(Brubaker)Syler and family

  • Mr. Butler was quite possibly the best teacher I ever had. I can still hear his impersonations of Gollum in his rendition of The Hobbit so vividly. He had this amazing ability to make subjects come to life. Doing this consistently year-in, year-out to classrooms of 5th graders is no easy feat.

    Thank you Mr. Butler. You will be missed. Sending warm, loving thoughts to you and your family.

  • John was an absolutely beautiful person. John never knew a stranger and treated everyone, young and old as an equal. I will always remember John and Judi helping with the youth at Lexington Church of the Cross and surviving the Pleasant Hill Campground flood during the church camp-out.

    Since John knew our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I will see him again. It is not good-bye, but it’s see you later.

    Judi, Staci, and family, you will be in our prayers.

    Doug and Evelyn Williams

  • I worked side-by-side with John at the Mansfield Public Library – his kindness and good nature were apparent in everything he said and did. His friendly chuckle was familiar to everyone who knew him and I can still hear it ringing in my ears. His was a life that touched many, many people in very positive ways. He really left his mark and he will be remembered with great fondness.