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Obituaries » Michael E. Butler

Michael E. Butler

August 3, 1938 - December 22, 2022

Service Date: January 14, 2023

Funeral Home Memorial Services of Iowa

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Mike Butler, of Johnston, passed away on December 22, 2022 from complications due to metastatic melanoma. He was 84 years old. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 14, 2023, at St. Mary’s of Nazareth Catholic Church (4600 Meredith Dr., Des Moines, IA). Visitation will be begin at 9:30 a.m. prior to the service at the church. A luncheon will follow the mass in the adjacent church mansion.

Michael Edward Butler was born on August 3, 1938 in Manhattan, New York. He was the eldest child of four and the only son of Edward Francis Butler and Maybelle McManus. Mike was Irish American. He grew up in the Douglaston section of Queens, New York, in New York City. He attended Xavier High School—a private Catholic Jesuit high school for boys in Manhattan, New York and graduated in 1956, with honors. In high school, Mike played football and participated in competitive sailing. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1960, with Magna Cum Laude honors in Mathematics. While at Notre Dame, Mike studied abstract algebra under Professor Hans Zassenhaus. As a grantee under the U.S. State Department Fulbright Program, he continued postgraduate studies at the University of Hamburg in West Germany, for three years, under the founder of modern abstract algebra Professor Emil Artin. Mike returned to the states to continue post-graduate studies at Harvard University, in philosophy and mathematics. He then returned to New York City and worked in the insurance industry as a computer scientist, while studying for and obtaining an MBA from Stern School of Business at New York University.

He married Francine Margaret Johanson on January 24, 1970, in Manhattan, New York. They moved to Westfield, New Jersey a year later. In 1977, Mike and his family moved to Ames, Iowa, so his wife could continue post-graduate studies in agriculture economics at Iowa State University. Two years later, they settled in Des Moines. Mike worked in the regional banking industry, as a systems analyst and computer scientist, until his retirement in the late 1990s. He spent the next fifteen years teaching mathematics and computer science at area colleges and universities, as an adjunct professor.

Mike always cherished childhood memories of sailing on the Long Island Sound as part of the Douglaston Club’s Junior Yacht Squadron, boy scout events, playing high school football on Roosevelt Island, and working summers at the Bear Mountain Inn, in the Catskills.

Mike spoke fluent German and he was a loyal patron of the arts. He always had season tickets to the opera, symphony, and classical theatre. He spent the latter part of his life creating a huge book collection comprised of Classic Greek, French, German, and English literature. He was also an avid football fan.

He is predeceased by his wife of 50 years, Francine; sister, Norah; parents, Edward and Maybelle; and his daughter, Margaret. He is survived by his daughter, Bridget; son, William; and grandchildren, Preston and Riona. Godspeed to a remarkably kind and honorable gentleman.

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