A funeral Mass for Deacon James “Russ” Butler was celebrated Jan. 25 at Immaculate Conception Church in Dardenne Prairie. Deacon Butler died Jan. 18 at age 87.
Born in St. Louis, Deacon Butler was ordained in 1992 in Jefferson City, Mo. He was assigned to assist the pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Jefferson City. He and his wife, Betty, later moved to O’Fallon to be near their family. Deacon Butler was assigned to Immaculate Conception Parish in 2000 and incardinated into the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 2001. He served there as a deacon until he retired in 2010.
Deacon Butler was involved in the Serra Club and his parish vocations committee. He told the St. Louis Review his efforts involved helping parishes encourage young people to explore the priesthood and that they would support them. “It’s important for our laity to know the value of the priesthood and the value of our prayers. … If we don’t have our priests we don’t have the sacraments or the Mass as readily available,” Deacon Butler said.
He served his parish by presiding at baptisms, funeral services and weddings. Deacon Butler assisted marriage preparation and youth activities, such as chaperoning Steubenville retreats. He also served as a facilitator for a weekly Marian cenacle group and was a lifelong member of the Knights of Columbus.
Deacon Butler openly encouraged many others on their faith journey. He attended daily Mass and had a strong devotion to Mary.
Survivors include his wife, Betty; their children, Donna Woodford, James R. Butler Jr., Msgr. Michael Butler, pastor of St. Clement of Rome in Des Peres, and Robert Butler; and 14 grandchildren.