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James “Smokey” Butler, 73, of Creston, died Tuesday, March 28, 2023, at the Clearview Home in Mount Ayr. Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be 2:00 p.m. Thursday, April 6, 2023, at Powers Funeral Home in Creston. Bill Armstrong will officiate the service. The Service will be live streamed. Burial will be at a later date at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery. Memorials may be made to EveryStep Hospice in Mount Ayr. Online condolences can be given at
James Leland Butler, son of Leland Merle Butler and Dolores Jean (Herrington) Butler, was born on July 14, 1949 in Creston. Smokey attended school in Benton in his early years and attended Mount Ayr High School with the class of 1968. In 1969, he was drafted into the United States Army and served in the Vietnam War until 1971.
In 1971, Smokey was united in marriage to Kathy Routh in Clearfield, IA. From this union came three children, Jason, Jennifer and Joni. Smokey began working for Longfellow Drilling of Clearfield soon after. Smokey and Kathy later divorced.
In 1996, Smokey reunited with Rhonda Adams Cooper, a former high school friend. They later settled in Creston together. After 34 years working for Longfellow Drilling, he retired in 2010. He was a member of the United Methodist Church in Clearfield, The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 55 in Des Moines.
Smokey loved his family and the outdoors. He spent many hours hunting and fishing. He also enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren with school activities and sports. Smokey was always a people person who never met a stranger. Every day he would head out to the garage to check in with family and friends, share his famous ‘one-liner quotes’, and have a beer or two (or three). This time was lovingly dubbed “office hours” by family members.
Surviving James is his wife, Rhonda of Creston; his children, Jason (Melissa) Butler of Cromwell, Jennifer (Toad) Tull of Diagonal, Joni (Jeremy) Gillam of Creston, Rob (Angie) Adams of Overland Park, KS, and Evin (Charles) Thomas of Rockford, IL; a sister, Vickie Butler Pierce of Las Vegas, NV; his grandchildren, Chase Butler, Blake (Bailea) Butler, Gavin (Maddie) Gillam, Haylee Gillam, Hannah and Brady Adams, Taya, Rahmel and Mason Thomas; and one great-grandson, Kye Butler; a brother in law, David (Martha) Adams of Grand Junction, CO; sister in law, Vicki Adams, Loveland, CO; extended family members and a host of many friends.
Smokey is preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Tony Butler, and brother in law, Rodney Adams.
Signing Off…….Love You Bye

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