John Alfred Butler, husband, father, stepfather, grandfather, teacher, actor, director, singer, and collector of songs and musical instruments, drama critic, poet, playwright, traveler, part time cowboy, beachcomber, and lifelong lover of nature, died on August 9, 2016 at Northeast Florida Community Hospice.
A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Jay was born on March 19, 1935 to John A. and Miriam Butler. He graduated from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute in 1952 and from State Teachers College at Towson in 1957. Jay married Gina Beaman that same year, enlisted in the United States Army in 1958, and served in Active and Reserve Service until July 1964, after which he achieved his master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University with an MEd in 1965 and an MFA in 1977. He married Anne Porterfield in 1975.
Jay taught English and Drama in Baltimore County Public Schools for 32 years, the last 23 of which were at Franklin Senior High School in Reisterstown, Maryland. Theater credits include acting and directing at Cockpit in Court at Essex Community College, Vagabond Players, The Barn at Johns Hopkins University, and Corner Theater, all in Maryland. Among favorite credits are a collection of one-act plays entitled “Excerpts from Genesis” which he wrote, directed, and in which he acted.
Following his retirement from teaching, Anne’s career took them to Utah State University in Logan, Utah, where he was a professor in the English department for 12 years and achieved Emeritus status. It was in Logan that he fulfilled the dream of being a cowboy, riding and caring for stock on a regular basis, after which they retired to Fernandina Beach, Florida in 2002.
Jay is predeceased by his beloved wife, Anne. He is survived by his daughters, Jennifer E. Butler (Mark C. Green) and Amy Butler Barsanti (Hank), stepdaughter Katherine Porterfield (Joel Lovell), stepson Daniel Porterfield (Karen Herrling), nine granddaughters, and second cousin Inez DiSanto of Chestertown, Maryland.