Peter Butler, OFM
1906 – 2001
Br. Peter Butler, OFM, was born on Oct. 7, 1906, in Eldred, Pa. Growing up, he worked on his family’s 100-acre farm of crops, cattle, poultry and timber alongside his parents and siblings.
During World War II, Br. Peter served in the Army Signal Corps. In his time overseas, he took part in the North African and Italian campaigns, where one of his duties was operating a large military telephone switchboard.
In 1946, Br. Peter became a tertiary brother at St. Bonaventure Friary, Allegany, N.Y. He was received into the First Order at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., in 1948 and professed temporary vows the following year. In 1952, Br. Peter professed solemn vows in Allegany.
His early ministry included short periods of service at St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., St. Raphael’s Friary in Lafayette, N.J., and Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y.
In 1957, Br. Peter received his missionary obedience to Bolivia where he served as a missionary for 34 years. His advancing years and growing health problems forced his retirement in 1991. Over time, his hearing diminished and his unmodulated big voice gave rise, usually at meals, to hilarious outbursts that brought joy to many.
After 10 years in Butler, Br. Peter moved to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J., in March 2001.
Br. Peter was said to be a rock, physically and spiritually given his block-of-granite physique, big voice and stalwart faith. He died Aug. 11, 2001 at Holy Name Friary. He was 94 years old and a professed friar for 52 years.