Mr. William P. "Bill" Butler III

  • Born: November 29, 1938
  • Died: December 20, 2019
  • Location: Battle Creek, Michigan

Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care

105 Capital Ave NE
Battle Creek, MI 49017

Tel. (269) 962-5527

Tribute & Message From The Family


William P. "Bill" Butler III, age 81 of Battle Creek, died Friday morning, December 20, 2019 following a long illness. He was born in Battle Creek on November 29, 1938, the son of William P. Butler, Jr., and Catherine Morrison. Following his father's death, he was raised by his mother and stepfather, David H. Rathbun. He was preceded in death by them, as well as a half-brother, David Rathbun, Jr.

Bill is survived by his wife of 55 years, Judith (Justesen) Butler; his daughter, Jennifer (Michael) Lambert; his son, Michael Butler; and four beautiful grandchildren, Will and Cate Lambert, and Lauren and Jack Butler. He also leaves behind many extended family members and dear friends.

Bill was a lifelong resident of Battle Creek. He served in the Air National Guard and graduated from Western Michigan University. He was working with his stepfather at the Rathbun Insurance Agency in town when he met the love of his life, Judy Justesen, on a blind date. They were married at St. Joseph Church on August 22, 1964. Bill later returned to school and pursued a career as an Occupational Therapist, first at the Coldwater State Home and then at the Battle Creek Sanitarium Hospital.

An avid tennis player, Bill could often be found on the courts at the YMCA, and later in life enjoyed golfing. He was a diehard University of Michigan fan, and with Judy enjoyed season tickets to the "Big House" for almost 50 years, inspiring a love of Michigan football in more than one generation of his family.

Bill was a strong believer in supporting his community, and he served faithfully with the Cereal City Lions Club for more than 45 years. He was recognized as "Outstanding Lion of the Year" in 1982, and served as the chairman of the White Cane fundraising campaign for many years. He was also an active parishioner at St. Philip Catholic Church, volunteered at the Marian E. Burch adult day care center, and was a member of the Binder Park Zoo and W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary. Bill often boasted that he had visited the bird sanctuary every year of his life.

The family will receive friends 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Thursday, January 2, 2020 at Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Battle Creek where the Parish Rosary will be recited at 7:00 p.m., Thursday. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 11:00 a.m., Friday, January 3, 2020 at St. Philip Roman Catholic Church. In lieu of flowers, please consider making donations to the Cereal City Lions Club and/or the Msgr. William Fitzgerald Tuition Fund. Arrangements by Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Battle Creek. Personal messages for the family and/or favorite memories of Bill may be placed at www.farleyestesdowdle.com.