Ralph Ignatius Butler, Jr., 78, of Leonardtown, MD departed this life on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown, MD surrounded by his loving family. Ralph was born on October 1, 1943. He was the son of the late Ralph I. Butler, Sr. and the late Eleanor L. Swales Butler. He was affectionately known by many as “Sonny B.” He was educated in the St. Mary’s County Public School system. On November 16, 1962, he married his high school sweetheart, Shirley M. Bennett Butler. Together they celebrated 59 years of marriage.
In his younger days, Ralph had a passion for fast cars and spent many a weekend afternoon at Budds Creek raceway enjoying drag racing. He was very athletic and played on a hardball team. His other favorite past times were playing cards with family and friends, participating in turkey shoots, hunting rabbits and squirrels, and shooting the breeze with his buddies, including the Medley brothers in Oakville, MD.
On Sunday mornings you would find Ralph at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Leonardtown, MD faithfully worshiping the Lord and growing spiritually through prayer and scripture. Mass was always followed by a hearty breakfast at the home of his parents and a quick dash home to change clothes so he could travel up and down St. Mary’s County to Anne Arundel County following his favorite softball teams. There were many times when his children and grandchildren would tag along.
Ralph owned a 750 Triumph motorcycle that he loved to cruise along the highway. He was a member of a motorcycle club called the Cycle Kings. He and his fellow motorcycle club brothers would take off on day trips with their spouses and other companions.
He was a skilled mechanic and managed a Sunoco service station in the early 70’s. Ralph received a certificate of bravery for rescuing a man from a burning car that veered off Leonardtown Road.
Ralph was a hardworking man. He worked as a foreman in the construction industry for over three decades. He was a member of the Laborer’s International Union of North America (Local Union 657 and later Local Union 11). His expertise and leadership abilities were pivotal as many jobs involved overseeing the construction of the subway system in the MD/DC area. When in the vicinity of a Metrorail, he was known to say, “You see that subway…I was a foreman at that site.” He retired in 2005 due to medical reasons and after a few years of dialysis was blessed to receive a donor kidney from his son Michael. He underwent a kidney transplant in 2009.
Ralph was always impeccably dressed from head to toe. His suits were of the finest quality and Stacey Adams shoes lined the floor of his closet. Even when dressed casually, he wore hard bottom shoes, accessorized with a Kangol cap. His favorite television shows were Westerns, the Andy Griffith Show, Amos and Andy, the Three Stooges, and virtually all of the court shows, including Judge Judy, the Peoples Court, and Judge Mathis.
Ralph loved life and his family, and his family loved him.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his son, Joseph Carroll, and his brother Joseph C. Swales.
In addition to his beloved wife, Ralph is survived by his daughters, Donna M. Walker, Eleanor Q. Briscoe (Kevin), and Gail Maddox (Roy); sons, Timothy I. Butler (Lucia), Ralph J. Butler (Jacqueline), Michael W. Butler (Stephanie), and Kenneth Banks (Melissa), a host of grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and associates. He also leaves to cherish his memories his siblings, Eleanor Anne Davis and Wanda T. Butler of Leonardtown, MD, Charles A. Butler (late Veronica) of Sanford, FL, and Jane F. Butler of Sorrento, FL.
In his final days, Ralph’s ability to breathe became increasingly difficult; now he is breathing and resting easy with the Lord. Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day, unseen, unheard, but always near, still loved, still missed, and always dear.
Family and friends will unite on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 for visitation at 9:00 am until Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am at St. Aloysius Catholic Church, 22800 Washington St., Leonardtown, MD. Interment to follow at Queen of Peace cemetery, 38833 Chaptico Rd, Mechanicsville, MD.