December 31, 1935 ~ February 22, 2017
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.