Keith Ashley Butler

Keith Ashley Butler, 85, died at 10:21 pm on Friday, July 16, 2021 at Concordia Village, Springfield. He was born January 4, 1936 in Aurora, Illinois to Robert D. and Florence Ashley Butler. He moved to Springfield with his family in 1946. That same year in fifth grade he fell in love with Beverly Riech. They married 11 years later on July 6, 1957. Beverly preceded him in death on August 27, 2020.

Keith was hired by the Franklin Life Insurance Company in 1955. It recently had become the first business in the United States to contract for a large scale computer. Keith was among the first of a new breed of worker called a computer programmer. Over the next 40 years, he filled a number of positions, including Director of Budgeting, Director of Corporate Planning, and Vice President of Customer Service, retiring in 1995 as Division Vice President of Information Technology.

From 1972 – 1978, and again from 1984 – 1990, Keith represented Franklin Life on the Life Office Management Association’s Systems Development Committee, serving two terms as Chairman. He attained the Fellowship, Life Management Institute designation in 1968. He also served on the Lincoln Land Community College Insurance Curriculum Advisory Committee.

Keith was active in the Springfield Jaycees, the Junior Achievement Program, the American Cancer Society, and served over the years in a number of capacities for United Way campaigns. He was on the Board of Directors of the Urban League and Boys and Girls Club.

In 1977, Franklin Life “loaned” Keith to the State of Illinois for three months to work on Governor James Thompson’s Cost Control Task Force. He joined 69 other business leaders from across the state to evaluate operations of state agencies and to recommend changes to achieve efficiencies and to reduce operating costs.

In 1989, Keith was selected to serve as Chairman of the Statistical Review Committee for the Illinois Courts. The committee was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court and consisted of judges and court administrators throughout the state with the charge to review the administrative and reporting procedures of Illinois Courts and make recommendations to improve effectiveness.

Keith and Beverly were long time, active members of Luther Memorial Lutheran Church where they were involved in many committees and activities to maintain the church and grounds. Keith served on the church council and finance committee. In 2016, they returned to St. John’s Lutheran Church where Beverly was baptized, confirmed, and where they were married.

All three of their children were active in sports through high school. Keith and Beverly attended many games, worked on fundraising activities, and ran concession stands. They were active in the Springfield Junior Football League with Keith serving as Vice President and Director. He also served as President of the Southeast High School Athletic Club from 1975-1976. Keith also coached Khoury League baseball and softball teams for many years.

Keith and Beverly loved being together and shared many wonderful experiences. After their children were raised, they would take long walks early each morning and traveled extensively, visiting all 50 states in addition to countries and islands worldwide.

In 1986 at age 50, Keith discovered motorcycles. He said riding was the most relaxing and enjoyable activity he had ever experienced. Often he would ride on weekends with his son Mark. During the 25 years he rode, he toured throughout the United States, making his last long ride to Vicksburg, Mississippi at age 75 with his son Mark.

Keith is survived by three children: Mark (Jenny) Butler, Craig Butler, and Dawn (partner Jim) Capranica; eight grandchildren: Pierce (Kara) Butler of Bloomington, Illinois, Logan (Edie) Butler of Franklin, Tennessee, Croix Butler, Anson Butler, Grace (Adam) Capranica, Sally Capranica, Ashley (Drake) Butler of Springfield, and Taryn Butler of Chicago; three great grandchildren: Wren Butler and Turner Butler of Bloomington, Illinois, and Ada Butler of Franklin, Tennessee.

Visitation will be held at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Thursday, July 22, 2021 with visitation from 10 – 11:30 am followed by the funeral service at 12 pm with Pastors Greg Busboom and Pam Mitcham presiding. Burial will follow at Roselawn Memorial Park.

Memorial donations may be made to St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church or Grace Lutheran Food Pantry.

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