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Anthony Lynn Butler was born September 26, 1957 and died peacefully at his home in Benton, IA early Sunday morning, January 5, 2020 after a courageous battle with colon cancer. His sister, Vickie, was with him. He was 62.
Tony was the third child of Leland Merle and Dolores Jean (Herrington) Butler and was welcomed into the home by his brother, James (Smokey), and sister, Vickie.
Tony grew up in Benton and his fondest memories were spending time outdoors, at the Benton School grounds and walking the creek with cousins Stan and twins Joyce and Jeanie Butler of Benton and cousin Pam Herrington, who frequently visited from Marion.
Tony began his life-long passion of coon trapping by catching possums with Stan on Squirrel Creek. Tony trapped for over 50 seasons, resulting in over 200 aggregate years of trapping in the family.
Tony began school at age four in Mary Humbert’s Kindergarten class in Delphos. He graduated from Mount Ayr High School with the Class of 1975 at age 17. Tony always took his vacation from work the first two weeks of trapping season and trapped with his Dad on the weekends. Tony was Assistant Manager for Palm Clothing in Creston and lived there for several years until the store closed. He then moved to Slater and did pest control for Diam until 1993, when his Mother moved to Mount Ayr Health Care. Tony then sold his home in Slater and moved back to the family home in Benton so his Dad would not be alone.
He and his father continued their trapping partnership and gardened together from 1993 until Merle’s death in 2009. Tony carried on his father’s tomato garden in the summers and continued trapping in the winter.
Tony made a decision on his 62 birthday, September 26, 2019, to choose quality of life over quantity. On September 28, 2019 Tony really enjoyed the Butler and Herrington Cousins Reunion held at the Benton Community Building.
Tony was an outdoorsman and liked to fish. The past few years he particularly enjoyed his outings with Gene Dunkerson, Randy Ploeger and with family at cousin Joyce’s pond near Melrose.
Tony was a sports enthusiast and guru. He was a humorist and he loved to make people laugh. Tony loved homemade noodles and his favorite noodle maker was Ava Marie England. Tony had a very special relationship with Ava. Last year Ava wrote a paper about Tony for a fifth grade school assignment.
Tony was a writer and self-published his first book, Common Sense for the 21st Century in 2015. Tony wrote by hand on legal pads and in spiral notebooks. His life-long special friend, Jane Briley, transcribed Common Sense and handled the publishing. Jane also transcribed Tony’s hieroglyphics into the first draft of Fun City, a modern day version of To Kill a Mockingbird. Tony’s manuscript titled Trapping Trigonometry – Increasing Your Numbers was transcribed by his sister, Vickie, in September 2019. This book will be published in 2020 and copies will be gifted to every extended family member and the Mount Ayr Public Library, with any sales for Tony’s memorial. The book rights will then be shared with Red O’Hearn to produce additional copies for marketing and sales and any proceeds back to Red for cost recovery and other personal uses and excess profits to the American Cancer Society. Tony had just started another book titled A Magnificent Life…Or This Whole Thing Could Have Been Avoided With Just a Trip to the Drug Store.
Tony had many friends including Pall Bearers Brent (Possum) Lacina, Michael Emerson Avitt, Mike Edwards, Mike “Red” O’Hearn, Randy Ploeger and Doug Wilson.
Until the past few weeks of his life, Tony spoke daily with friend and former trapping partner Brent (Possum) Lacina. Tony also enjoyed friend Mike Edwards of Jupiter, FL from December 26-30, 2019. This was Mike’s fourth holiday visit since Tony’s diagnosis. For the past 38 months, Tony always looked forward to his friends Mike Avitt and Jane Briley coming for their weekly visit.
Tony’s Honorary Pall Bearers include family members James (Smokey) Butler, Jason James Butler, Chase James Butler, James (Toad) Tull, Blake James Butler, Jeremy Gillam, Gavin Gillam, Stan Butler, Randy Hogue, Jordan Jones and Quentin Gregg; and friends Gene Trullinger, Gene (Dunk) Dunkerson, Ted Wallace, Jimmy Miller, Thad Sickels, Junior Swank, Bob Graham, Rob Graham, Robert Schlapia, Lonnie Horne and The Honorable Don Zollman, Mayor of the City of Benton.
Tony had a special relationship with his sister-in-law Rhonda Adams Cooper. They enjoyed each other’s sense of humor and exchanged wacky gifts for their September birthdays. When Tony was out on the trap line he always stopped in at Smokey and Rhonda’s to see if the bakery was open. Rhonda spoiled him with monkey bread, leftovers and apple pie kits.
Tony always relied on his cousin Holly to have his back, and when he became ill, she helped him with errands and assisted in the home. When Tony became a Home Hospice client in December, Holly switched roles and became his Hospice Aide providing a few hours of personal care every day.
Tony was preceded in death by his parents, aunts and uncles, cousins Monty Hartman, Connie Herrington, Hal Butler, Steve Butler, Pat Butler and Phil Butler, and trapper friend Gene Purdy.
Left to cherish his memory are his brother, James (Smokey), and wife, Rhonda, and their children and grandchildren: Jason and Melissa Butler and son, Chase, Jennifer and James (Toad) Tull and son, Blake Butler, Joni and Jeremy Gillam and their children, Gavin and Haylee, Robert and Angie Adams and their children, Hannah and Brady, and Evin and Charles Thomas and son, Mason; his sister, Vickie; his cousin, Holly, and husband, Randy Hogue, and their children, Jordan Jones, Josie Jones and Ava Marie England; his aunts, Mary Ann Herrington Hartman Matthews, Theresa Herrington and Mary Sheil Herrington; his uncle, Darwin Hartman, and other loving relatives and friends.
Tony was a funny, warm, intelligent and compassionate friend to many people. He accepted Jesus Christ as His savior many years ago. He will be missed, but family and friends should find comfort in knowing Tony is with our Father in Heaven.
Open visitation will be held at Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr on Saturday, January 11, 2020 from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with the family present Saturday afternoon from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. A Celebration of Life service will be held 2:00 p.m. Sunday, January 12 at the funeral home. Tony’s favorite songs of “Why Me Lord” and “Time of Your Life” will be played.
Burial will follow in the Benton Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are to the family to be decided later. Online condolences may be left at

1 Comment

  1. Mary Lahiff on January 21, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the Butler family. Tony was a classmate and will be missed be many. May he Rest in Peace .

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