Some of the following information was taken from the Wakefield Patch
Wakefield, MA–Tom Butler, a lifelong Wakefield resident, a dedicated town employee for 25 years who held positions as executive secretary and town administrator, and an avid Boston sports fan, died overnight on April 29 from complications from heart failure. He was 65.
Golf Tournament Chairman John Roberto-’98 said “Tommy was a great supporter of the sport he loved. He was always the first to offer his Red Sox tickets as a raffle item and always the first to send in a donation. In recent years he has attended the post golf banquet and he will definitely be missed this year. On behalf of all the alumni: young, old and future I offer thoughts and prayers to the the Butler family and for all of his friends at Town Hall.”
Head Coach Mike Boyages-’76 said, “Tommy was a great guy. A great supporter of the program and will be sorely missed.”
Mr. Butler was most well-known in Wakefield for serving as executive secretary in the early 1990s then as town administrator until 2008 before retiring.
Born in Melrose on March 28, 1946, Mr. Butler lived in Wakefield for his entire life and attended Wakefield High School, where he played football, basketball, baseball and track. After graduating from WHS in 1964, he attended Boston College and graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration.
Soon after that, he served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1969-1971, stationed in Texas. He joined the Town of Wakefield as a senior accountant in 1972. When Executive Secretary John McCarthy retired in 1991, Mr. Butler was hired to succeed him as executive secretary, which then morphed into the position of town administrator in the 1998.
When he retired in 2008, Mr. Butler was among the first class to be inducted to the Wakefield Alumni Associaion’s Hall of Fame.
Besides his professional life, Butler was an avid sports fan, holding season tickets to the Red Sox and the Boston College Eagles, his alma mater.
It was a “Who’s Who” of Wakefield at his retirement party in 2008, a crowd of over 300 people filled the Seasons Ballroom at the Sheraton Colonial to pay tribute to Butler, the popular and universally respected Town Administrator.
Guests included family, friends, past and present town officials, former classmates, coaches, teammates and others whose lives have been touched by Butler – a Wakefield kid who went on to lead his hometown with a steady hand through good times and bad.
Classmate Pat O’Keefe talked about their 7-0 freshman football season that culminated with Butler catching a touchdown pass to break a 0-0 tie in the waning minutes of the final game against Melrose.
After showing a short film of Butler’s exploits as a WHS football player in 1963, DPW Business Manager Mike Martello-’66 said that Butler carried his qualities as a teammate through his career with the town.
“He’s always shown a great deal of determination and hard work and was always a team player,” Martello said. He thanked Butler for “taking me under your wing and showing me what leadership and friendship were all about.”
Legendary football coach Bill Tighe called Butler “a special person in high school and a special athlete.” Butler’s former coach told him that he was “extremely proud to have played a small part in your Wakefield High School years. Your attitude, intelligence and determination were second to none.”
Selectman John Encarnacao-’56 called Butler “a man of impeccable moral values, honesty and selflessness who always gave above and beyond what was expected.”
Encarnacao also related a story dating back to 1958 when he coached Butler’s Pee Wee football team in a game against Newton. He recalled Butler running out for a pass, only to drop the ball in the end zone. “I’ve never known you to drop the ball in all the years since then,” Encarnacao said.
Mr. Butler is survived by William Butler and wife Virginia of Wakefield, Kathleen Lyng and husband James of Marshfield, William Butler and wife Virginia of Wakefield, Robert Butler and wife Patricia of Mercerville, NJ, and Brian Butler and wife Kathleen of Weymouth. Also survived by 10 nieces and nephews, and 12 grandnieces and grandnephews.
A wake will be held on Tuesday, May 3 from 3-8 p.m. at McDonald Funeral Home. A funeral service for Butler will be held on May 4 at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Church. Burial services will at St. Patrick’s Cemetary in Stoneham.
In lieu of flowers his family would appreciate contributions be sent to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/ Jimmy Fund, Attn. Contribution Services, 10 Brookline Place West, Brookline, MA 02445-7226. For obit/directions/ guestbook www.mcdonaldfs.com