Deceased March 15, 2014

View alumni profile (log in required)
Read obituary
50th Reunion book entry

In Memory

One of our class leaders, Doug Butler, died March 15, 2014, in the Southgate community in Shrewsbury, Mass.

Doug came to Amherst from Worcester, Mass. He joined Phi Psi; the band; the glee club, managing it his senior year; and the Speaker’s Club.

After graduation, Doug enlisted in the Navy in a supply officer program. He served for 13 months on the battleship USS Massachusetts in the Pacific as a disbursing officer. Released from active duty in 1946 as a lieutenant commander, Doug stayed in the naval reserve for many years.

Also in 1946, Doug married Virginia Knox (UCLA ’44), a stewardess with United Airlines, whom he had met in the air during a Navy leave in 1944. They had two children, two grandchildren and a great-grandson.

After three stimulating years working for NBC in New York City, Doug accepted a call (he called it an ultimatum) to return to Worcester to work in the family paper distribution business. He liked this so much he stayed for 37 years, the last nine as president. He also held executive positions in regional and national paper trade associations and civic positions in the local area.

After his retirement in 1986, Doug and Virginia enjoyed international traveling, but this unfortunately was ended by Virginia’s death in 1995. In the meantime, Doug kept busy with tennis at a local tennis and swimming club he had founded, as well as golf and business counseling.

Throughout his life, Doug pursued his love of music by playing parts in local productions of such musicals as The Music Man and South Pacific. As recently as 2011, he had a solo and a duet in a Southgate community show.

In addition, he demonstrated his love for his alma mater by volunteering his services to Amherst. He was our genial host at many of our Class of ’42 reunions.

Ted Heisler ’42

50th Reunion

42 Douglas P. Butler.jpg
After graduation, the Navy accepted me for a Supply Corps Commission. While waiting for orders to active duty, I worked a graveyard shift as trucker and crane operator for a Worcester machine tools manufacturer. In August, 1942, I reported for coding duty at the New York Port Director's Office, where Atlantic convoys were being dispatched; then I was assigned to the Naval Air Station at Quonset Point and later to the Naval Supply Corps School at Harvard.

All this was followed by a year and a half aboard the USS Massachusetts as a disbursing officer in the South Pacific. After that, it was off to Pensacola, Florida as an Assistant Supply Officer. Following my release from active duty in 1946, I stayed in the Naval Reserve for many years with weekly drills and annual ACDUTRA.

I married Virginia Anne Knox, UCLA ’44, in California. She was a former United Air Lines stewardess I’d met in the air during a Navy leave in 1944. Still in the air with her after 46 years, two children and two grandchildren.

I decided to get into advertising, and a coast-to-coast-job-search (during which a Chicago ad agency made my lowest offer-$150.00/mo.) resulted in going to work at NBC in New York for $250.00/mo. with the title of promotion writer. Jack Reber was also working there then. We lived in Long Island and I spent three hours a day commuting. However, I met and worked with many interesting people and learned a lot at NBC.

After three years and three promotions and weeks of soul-searching, I decided to accept an ultimatum to join the family paper distribution business back in Worcester. This turned out to be so stimulating that I spent the next 37 years there, and ended up president. I sold out to my partner and cousin, who has since taken in his son, a fourth Butler generation.

During my stint in the paper industry, I served as director of the Northeast Paper Merchants Association, and the National Paper Trade Association. I also worked locally on various committees, boards and offices of the Amherst Alumni Association, Class of '42 reunions, Exchange Club, WYBA, Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, Consumers Savings Bank, Holden District Hospital, Worcester Children’s Theatre, Council on Alcoholism, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Unitarian Church. I founded the North court Swimming Association, a neighborhood tennis and swim club, inspired by a 20th reunion conversation with Gordy Menzies. Also during this period, I played parts in the Players Club productions of “Music Man”, "South Pacific" and the like. Great therapy!

Since retirement, Ginny and I have started to catch up on international travel, and I have kept as busy as I've wanted to be with the home grounds, a little tennis and golf, antiquing, a few committees and as business counselor with the Worcester Chapter of SCORE.

42 Douglas P. Butler .jpg