Matthew Butler

matthew butler
Matthew D. Butler, 81, Fargo, under Hospice passed onto the Lord peacefully surrounded by family on Wednesday, February 22, 2017. Matt was born December 31, 1935 to Francis and Doris Butler in Grand Forks, ND.  After graduation from the St. Thomas Military Academy -St. Paul, MN, he attended the University of North Dakota and was part of the Army ROTC program.  Following college, he served in the US Army as an armor officer before returning to North Dakota to be a part of the family business.  Matt spent his life building Butler Machinery Company, the Caterpillar Dealership of North and South Dakota, into a successful company.  He never considered it a job, it was his pleasure.  Matt's influence doubled the operating territory of the business from only North Dakota to include South Dakota and the expansion of markets into agriculture products.  His leadership created the foundation for the success Butler Machinery enjoys today.  Matt's business philosophy was simple – give people a vision and then get out of their way and let them do it. Those who knew Matt would agree he didn’t like wasting time.  His approach to finding the love of his life was the same.  After a short engagement he married JoAnn Evinger on June 2, 1962.  During their 54 years of marriage they had many adventures including camping with their 4 children, many miles logged on motorcycle trips and travels to many countries.   Besides traveling, Matt’s passions included piloting aircraft, riding motorcycles, and pushing speed limits in his cars.  His belief in lifelong learning was seen in his need for having something to read at all times. Matt left a legacy of giving, service and love.  He will be remembered for bringing intelligence, wit and humility to the many boards he served on during his life.   Matt believed in serving organizations to give back to others and was known for his quiet philanthropy that touched many. Matt will be deeply missed by his loving and devoted wife JoAnn; their 4 children M. Daniel (Heather) Butler, Debra (Scott) Johnson, Francis (Donna Newman) Butler, and Twylah (Jim) Blotsky; their 11 grandchildren, Nathan, Trina, Ryan, Aaron, Evan, Vernon, Jake, Payton, Josh, Mason, and Isaac; 1 great-grandchild, Carson; and his brothers David Butler and Greg Butler.   He is preceded in death by his parents Francis and Doris (Bourassa) Butler and his sister Judy (Butler) Nikle. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, February 25th at 1 pm at Sts. Anne and Joachim Catholic Church, 5202 25th Street South Fargo.  Visitation will be held at Sts. Anne and Joachim on Friday, February 24th at 6 pm followed by a 7 pm Vigil Service.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to: The University of Mary, Fraser Ltd, the Matt & JoAnn Butler Foundation, or charity of your choice.

View current weather.

Memories Timeline


  1. My condolences to the entire family. My prayer is that the Lord will hold you all in his embrace while giving you strength and peace. Matt will be missed by the many who loved him and those who cared for him. Special prayers go out to my friends Dan, Greg and David.

  2. Scott, Deb, and Boys: Just letting you know that you and all of the Butler family are all in my thoughts and prayers at this time. May the happy and found memories you have of your Father and Grandfather help you move through this time of grief. I will be making a donation to Craig Hospital in Memory of Matt.

  3. May Mr. Butler rest in peace in the company of the angels and saints. My prayers and sympathy are with his family.

  4. I always enjoyed the time I got to spend around ( Mr. Butler) Matt. Dad would not allow us to call him Matt when we were young he had great respect for your Husband and Father.

    Sorry for your loss!!

  5. JoAnn and family, I have many memories working at Butler Machinery and feel lucky to have been part of the Butler Family. Matt was a wonderful teacher and gave every employee a chance to better themselves with the company.

    He leaves a legacy to be very proud of.

    Paul & Gayle

  6. To all of Matt’s family, but particularly my friend Twylah, my sincere sympathy .It is with deep regret that I never got top know Matt, except through Twylah’s beautiful eyes. God bless you.

  7. My thought and prayers have been with you over the months and especially now at the time of death of Matt.
    Mary Beth Noble

  8. To Twyla & family Matt was a wonderful man. Diane joins me in condolences. I hope your very good memories of him will sustain you as well as knowing how many people his life has touched. Pat & Diane Weir

  9. Our love is with all of you. While saddened to see Matt’s passing, he is at peace. I am filled with many great memories of those early swim years and trips to meets that may have experienced his “pushing speed limits in his cars” or maybe Winnebago.

  10. Dan and Heather,
    Our thoughst are with the entire family at this time. So sorry for your loss. It is always difficult. Gerry has many memories from the years in business in Fargo and the Butler brothers. His legacy is in good hands.
    Love and prayers for all.

  11. Thoughts and prayers to you and your family during this time.
    Concordia Catering
    Laurie, Rita and Jan

  12. I am so very sorry to hear about your Husband, Father, Grandfather, and Father in law, I hope that you find peace in the days ahead. Keep his memory close in your hearts! Our thoughts and prayers are with you all!

  13. Dear Friends:
    John and I are so sorry to hear of your fathers passing. There are those who make the world a more special place just by being in it and your father was just that sort of man. May God sustain you in your grief and comfort you in the days ahead.
    Thinking of you all,
    John and Becky

  14. It is with great sorrow that I heard of the death of Matt. IWet is the consolation of our faith that Matt is now closer to us than ever before. can love us more than before, and pray for us, not before a statue or with a prayer book, but in the very presence of God. We know he will make our remembrance of him a very part of his thanksgiving in heaven. May he be at peace and live in Glory forever. I am so very sorry I will not be able to be present for the funeral.

  15. My condolences to the Butler family. Matt taught me a lot when I went to work for Butler Machinery.
    I am sure he will be missed greatly.

  16. Twylah, Jim & family. I first met Matt in 1994 when a fellow soldier died in a training accident. Matt was kind enough along with one of his sons to fly seven of us out to Kalispell MT for the furneral piloting his jet. Now every time I go to Boy & Cub Scout camp I see the wonderful Butler Wilderness Outpost that his family supported. Thank you and God’s Blessing & Peace to your family.

  17. My deepest condolences to your family you all are in my prayers. I always enjoyed talking with Matt about cars and motorcycles and the projects we did for him and JoAnn he will be missed. May God bless him and your family.

  18. Aunt Joann and Family,
    Our deepest condolences on the passing of uncle Matt. May he Rest In Peace. You and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers. Wishing you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead, and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.

    Peace, prayers and blessing

    Ruth and Steve Kleba & Family

  19. I am very sad to learn of Matt’s passing. He was a great man that I and so many others respect. I have known him and his family since I was a young girl as a family babysitter and I recall how Matt made me feel like I was the best sitter they ever had! He cam a long way to pick me up and drop me off as I lived south of West Fargo and they lived north of West Fargo.

    Matt also was a fellow pilot, and as a member or Civil Air Patrol, I had the privilege every year of going in to talk to Matt about his donation to us for our annual hanger rent. He was always there for so many and his generosity will not be forgotten!

    Rest in Peace Matt…
    Margo Evenson

  20. JoAnn and family
    I would personally extend you my hand were I not in Texas.
    Matt and I grew up less than a block apart in the Riverside Park area of Grand Forks. Our dads were good construction industry buddies. Back then I knew Matt only as the older brother who went to a military school.
    35 years later, after I moved to Fargo, Matt and I went on many motorcycle rides together when I joined the Red River BMW Motorcycle Club. I learned to know the substance of Matt. He became good friend. With his passing I have lost a share of a very positive life experience. Matt was a good man.
    For me this all puts into personal perspective what all of you are experiencing. I extend my sincere condolences.
    Colburn Hvidston III

  21. Sorry to hear of your loss, the great memories of your father while growing up will be always be close to everyones hearts. Prayers will be with your family during these hards times.

  22. Aunt JoAnn and family – our deepest sympathy on Uncle Matt’s passing. Thoughts and prayers with you all. Doug and Roxanne Ficek and family

  23. How I enjoyed serving on the Community First Bank Board. We talked business, flying and farming in the many hours we spent together. What an example of a family man, a business man, and community builder. He was an inspiration to me. Harvey Wollman, former Governor of South Dakota.

  24. How I enjoyed serving on the Community First Bank board with Matt. We talked about business, flying and farming in the many hours we spent together. What a great example of a family man, a business many and community builder. He was an inspiration to me. Harvey Wollman, a former
    Governor of South Dakota.

  25. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Butler families. We hope Matt is flying, riding, and driving to his hearts content. We know our mom will be very happy to see him, along with Francis and Doris.

    Jeff Nikle and families

  26. My deepest condolences to matts family, losing a loved one is one of the toughest things to endure. However, you are not alone psalms 34:18 promises “Jehovah is close to the broken hearted.” May Jehovah god and the comfort of the loved ones that surround you all help get through this difficult time.

  27. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family. Nancy and I enjoyed our years of playing Bridge with both of you in the “Dukes and Dames Bridge Club. We are still in Arizona and unable to attend Matt’s Funeral but will be thinking of you.

  28. I just learned of Matt’s passing. I was the Caterpillar representative for the Dakotas during the late 70’s. Matt was clearly the owner I most admired. Hard working, conservative, honest, and treated all with respect. Many years later I was in Fargo for my own company. I called Matt to say hello. He dropped what he was doing came to my hotel and we did lunch.

    A great man!

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle