Orval George Butler, 92, passed away peacefully Saturday, December 21, 2013. The visitation will be Friday, December 27, 2013, at the Hempel Funeral Home, 373 Cleveland Avenue, Amherst from 10 A.M. to 12:30 P.M., and 4 to 7 P.M. The funeral will take place Saturday, December 28, 2013, 10 A.M., at the Hempel Funeral Home, followed by a graveside service at Ridge Hill Memorial Cemetery.
Mr. Butler was born in Deerfield, Ohio, and he and his parents, Ray and Mae Butler, moved to Lorain shortly thereafter. Orval graduated from Lorain High School in 1939. He then took full-time employment at Lake Terminal Railroad in the U.S. Steel Mill in Lorain. In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving four years in the Alaska Pacific Theater. After his discharge, Orval enrolled at Ohio State University, playing in its Marching Band. He later returned to work at Lake Terminal, working in management until his retirement in 1978.
Orval married the love of his life, Helen, nee Shank, in October 1951, and they lived on East Erie Avenue in Lorain before moving to Amherst in 1978. In 2011 Orval and Helen moved to New Jersey to be closer to their son, Ray, and his family.
Orval grew up during the Great Depression. He worked any available job In order to help support his parents and younger brother, Ray. His first job was at age five, selling newspapers by the Lorain County Courthouse. During high school, Orval played the trumpet every morning while the American flag was raised to signal the start of the school day. He enjoyed playing sports, especially baseball and wrestling.
Orval was an active volunteer for civic, community and church activities throughout his life. He belonged to the DAV, the VFW, the American Legion, the Elks, the Scottish Rite and the Lorain Masonic Lodge. He was a member of the Park Avenue United Methodist Church, and a 65 year member of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 4. Orval played “Taps” for hundreds of military funerals throughout the area for over 60 years. He founded the DAV Drum and Bugle Corps of Lorain, teaching boys and girls how to play the drum and bugle, and how to march with precision. The Corps marched in numerous parades throughout Northern Ohio. While working full time, Orval also gave music lessons on all band instruments from his home studio several evenings per week. Orval enjoyed gardening, woodworking, bowling, golf, and collecting memorabilia and antiques.
During retirement, Orval took up needlepoint and crafting. His works won many awards at county fairs. He loved to make new acquaintances, and was loved and respected because of his empathetic and generous nature. He loved children, and looked forward to acting as Santa Claus at various venues each Christmas. He gave his needlepoint creations to many people as a gesture of his appreciation for their kindness and friendship. He lived a full life, and affected many people with his generosity and joy.
He is survived by his wife, Helen; their son, Ray, daughter-in-law Donna; and three grandchildren, Benjamin, Eliana and Olivia.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Park Avenue United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 785, 396 Park Avenue, Amherst OH 44001.