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Burnell Butler

June 4, 2013
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Burnell Butler, 92, a retired Montour area farmer, passed away on Saturday, June 1, 2013, at the Iowa River Hospice Home in Marshalltown after several months of declining health.

Visitation will be on Friday, June 7, at the Mitchell Family Funeral Home in Marshalltown from 4-7 p.m. Services will be held on Saturday, June 8, at 10:30 a.m. at the funeral home with Pastor Brian Oliver of the Living Faith United Methodist Church in Montour officiating. He will be laid to rest in the Maple Hill Cemetery at Montour with a luncheon to follow. For condolences, please visit

He was born to Ralph and Flossie (DeFrance) Butler on August 25, 1920, at the family home of his ancestors that settled there in 1853. Given the name Ralph Burnell Butler, he was known as Burnell throughout his life. He grew up on the family farm along with his younger brother, Robert, learning to farm at an early age. He attended country school and graduated in 1938 from the Montour High School where he had enjoyed playing saxophone in the school band and orchestra. After graduation, he farmed with his father for a couple of years.

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Burnell Butler

On a beautiful fall September day in 1940, he was united in marriage to Rachel DuToit of Garwin at the First Methodist Church parsonage in Marshalltown. They farmed south of Garwin until they purchased their Montour area farm in 1947. In their early years of farming, Burnell used horses and purchased his first tractor in 1942. Burnell and Rachel had the traditional family farm growing crops of corn, oats, soybeans and hay, plus milking cows, and raising hogs, chickens, sheep, and cattle. Dogs were also a special part of Burnell's life providing friendship and working assistance on the farm.

Burnell enjoyed coon-hunting with friends in the 1950's and 60's. He became a member of the Montour Methodist Church on May 16, 1954, and served on the administrative board in the 1970's and 80's. He attended many of the Montour High School Alumni banquets, but missed his 75th Anniversary Banquet this past May 25th due to illness. His ultimate passion was farming.

He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Rachel, his children Daryl (Bernice) Butler of Albia, Iowa; and Judy Butler of Marshalltown. His grandchildren and their families include: Tim (Brenda) Butler of Albia and children: Kayla (Curtis) Wilson and children Jax and Bentley; Trevor, Justin, Daniel and Hunter. Jeff (Jody) Butler of Center Point and children Troy, Zachary, and Carly. Amanda (Michael) Thomas and children Broderick and Blair of Albia. Michael (Pam) Butler and children Maxwell and Quintin. He is also survived by his brother Robert, of Colorado, and Maggie Butler his beloved Bichon.

He was preceded in death by his parents.



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