Ralph Ignatius Butler, Jr., 78, of Leonardtown, MD, passed away from 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. Many affectionately knew him as “Sonny B”. He was educated in the St. Mary’s County Public Schools system. On November 16, 1962, he married his high school sweetheart, Shirley M. Bennett Butler. Together they celebrated 59 years of marriage.
In his youth, Ralph had a passion for fast cars and spent many weekend afternoons at Budds Creek Race Course enjoying drag racing. He was very athletic and played on a hardball team. His other favorite hobbies were playing cards with family and friends, going on turkey hunts, hunting rabbits and squirrels, and playing catch with his friends, 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 the Scriptures. Mass was always followed by a hearty breakfast at her parents’ house and a quick ride home to change clothes so she could travel back and forth from St. Mary’s County to Anne Arundel County following her favorite soccer teams. softball. There were many occasions when his children and grandchildren accompanied him.
Ralph had a Triumph 750 motorcycle that he loved to ride on the road. He was a member of a motorcycle club called the Cycle Kings. He and his brothers from the motorcycle club were going on excursions with their spouses and other companions.
He was a skilled mechanic and managed a Sunoco service station in the early 1970s. Ralph received a certificate of bravery for rescuing a man from a burning car that went off Leonardtown Road.
Ralph was a hardworking man. He worked as a foreman in the construction industry for more than three decades. He was a member of the Laborers International Union of North America (Local 657 and later Local 11). His experience and leadership skills were critical as many of his jobs involved supervising the construction of the subway system in the MD/DC area. When he was near a Metrorail, he was known to say, “You see that subway… I was a foreman on that site.” He retired in 2005 for medical reasons and after a few years on dialysis he was blessed to receive a kidney donated by his son Michael. He underwent a kidney transplant in 2009.
Ralph was always impeccably dressed from head to toe. His suits were of the highest quality and Stacey Adams’s shoes lined the floor of his closet. Even when he dressed casually, he wore hard-soled shoes, complete with a Kangol cap. His favorite television shows were westerns, the Andy Griffith Show, Amos and Andy, The Three Stooges, and just about every court show, including Judge Judy, 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 loving wife, Ralph is survived by his daughters, Donna M. Walker, Eleanor Q. Briscoe (Kevin), and Gail Maddox (Roy); children, Timothy I. Butler (Lucia), Ralph J. Butler (Jacqueline), Michael W. Butler (Stephanie), and Kenneth Banks (Melissa), a multitude of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and associates. He also leaves to cherish his memories of 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; he now he breathes and rest easy with the Lord. Those we love do not go away, they walk by our side every day, unseen, unheard, but always close, still loved, still missed and always loved.
Family and friends will gather on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 for Visitation at 9:00 a.m. through Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. at St. Aloysius Catholic Church, 22800 Washington St., Leonardtown, MD. Burial will follow at Queen of Peace Cemetery, 38833 Chaptico Rd, Mechanicsville, MD.