A Tribute to My Father

A few days ago I asked my family what their all-time favorite story was about my father. If you know my dad, there are many, many stories to be told. Almost instantly though, Melanie came up with a story that had us all laughing and relishing in the memory of the man my father was.

Dan Butler Memorial - 010My dad had hip surgery a few years ago. After leaving the hospital, he went into a rehab facility in Haverstraw to help him heal, which just so happened to be close to the Elks Lodge. One night, a couple of my dad’s friends (whose names have yet to be revealed), conspired with my dad to break him out. My dad snuck down the hallway, (although, unbeknownst to him, his break out was caught on the security cameras), met the unnamed conspirators, propped open the back door to secure his ability to sneak back in, and proceeded to go party at the Elks. He later returned, snuck back into his room, and even brought with him some leftover pizza.

I think the reason we all love this story so much is because it is a true account of everything my father was.

DBM68My dad liked to do things his way. Sometimes these may not have been the wisest decisions, and may have even gotten him into some trouble, but he always stayed true to his heart. I can remember him reminding me at the pivotal moments throughout my life that I only had myself to answer to, that I needed to look inside and always do what was right for me.

My dad was the life of the party and his smile would light up the room. I always felt like my dad knew some secret humor about life and living that many of us had not yet been let in on or figured out. He didn’t take things so seriously, and truly made life fun… even if that meant breaking out of rehab with a brand new hip!

My dad sincerely relished in being around the people he loved. If you know my dad, you know that he had hundreds of friends. He was like a magnet, attracting those around him. He was there for you in the good times and the bad and he gave of himself in a way that encouraged those around him to do the same. Being connected to others made him happy and that happiness was such a large part of who he was.

Dan Butler Memorial - 044Most of all, my dad was the strongest person I have ever known. As a father, he had this way of always knowing all the things not being said, yet allowing me to find my own way through. Now that I am a parent, I understand just how much strength this task actually takes. He would, somehow, hold space with a reserved and subtle strength that was effortless and consistent. He also possessed a physical strength that sometimes seemed superhuman. I’m sure many of us have heard about the time he got electrocuted on the job and experienced nothing more than his hair being burned off his body.

As a child, my father was my hero, and as an adult, my father is my guiding force and inspiration. He has been, and always will be, the wind beneath my wings and the reason I am able to fly.

I ask of all of you here today to honor the legacy my father leaves behind by staying true to your hearts, finding the fun in living, allowing your smile to brighten up the world, discovering your own strength, and relishing in the people you love.

Dad, from all of us to you… We love you and we will miss you every moment of every day to follow. We know you are here, an angel watching over us, a bright and beautiful light shining down from the heavens.

Dan Butler Memorial - 001



  1. Dan Harrigan September 26, 2014 Reply

    What a beautiful and loving tribute to your dad. I was his sidekick, co-conspirator golf partner and sometimes the devil on his shoulder, but your mom, Mary, always felt better when he and I were out together.

    Too many accolades are not enough !! Everyone should have a Danny Butler in their life. He is sorely missed.
    Dan Harrigan
    Ft Lauderdale

    • Author

      Dan… Thank you for the above words about my dad. I know you were one of his closest friends and he spoke of you often to me. I miss him so much and am doing my very best to walk in his footsteps each and every day. I remind myself of the man he was and the difference he made in the lives of those who knew him. You are so right…. everyone should have a Danny Butler in their life!!!

  2. Marcy September 18, 2014 Reply

    Jen….I love his face. And i feel his specialness and spirit from your beautiful descriptions. How incredibly fortunate that you have such a love affair here on earth and beyond with your Daddy. May his memory be a blessing to all whom he loved and touched…always.

  3. kevin reilly September 17, 2014 Reply

    i new your dad from elks!!! he was a GREAT MAN AND FRIEND!! when i was exalted ruler 2011-12. he was always there for words of encouragment to help me through my year.
    i also use to bring him home on mondays after the north wildwood irish festival.. iam goin down this weekend and ride home monday wont be same without him in my car..
    i will toast my friend


    • Author
      Jennifer Laurent September 18, 2014 Reply

      Kevin… thank you for adding to the wonderful stories and memories about my father. It fills my heart knowing how much my father impacted those around him. And I know all about the Wildwood trips..my dad looked forward to them every year. He will be there with you all in spirit!

  4. Author
    Jennifer Laurent September 17, 2014 Reply

    Thank you Joe… you would have enjoyed him very much!! He truly was an inspiration.

  5. joehefferon September 16, 2014 Reply

    Jennifer, your dad was a handsome dude. Thanks for sharing a great story. I’m sure I would have liked to hang out with him

Join the Conversation...