Captain John Vernon Butz, 79, of Lancaster, sailed his final journey to the safest of all ports, Heaven, on Thursday, September 11, 2014 at Moravian Manor in Lititz. He was the husband of Shirley (Myers) Butz, with whom he shared 48 years of marriage.
Born on March 26, 1935 in Baltimore, Maryland, he was the son of the late Harold S. and Mary E. (Kopf) Butz of Lancaster, PA. He was a 1953 graduate of J.P. McCaskey High School, where he was known to his teachers and classmates as ‘Vernon’.
Following high school graduation, he was appointed to the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. After attending the Merchant Marine Academy, he then enlisted in the Navy in Officer Candidate School. He rose through the ranks and achieved the rank of Captain in both the US Navy and US Merchant Marines. This achievement was his lifelong goal. He served onboard 28 ships, serving as Captain on 11 of them throughout his career. He sailed to all corners of the earth many times, including tours in Antarctica, the Mediterranean, and both Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. He was a true patriot who proudly served his country.
Living his entire life in Lancaster, he was a knowledgeable historian and enjoyed spending time in and around Lancaster City, especially during his retirement. He would often be found in Central Market on Fridays, buying Lebanon bologna at S. Clyde Weaver’s stand, followed by lunch at the Lancaster Dispensing Company. He was a lifelong member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lancaster where his family extends back five generations. In his earlier years, he was a member of a group of Lancaster friends who called themselves ‘The Clydes’. He received a heart transplant in January, 2002, which enabled him to enjoy 12 more years of life, during which he was able to see the birth of both of his grandchildren and enjoy watching them grow.
Surviving besides his wife are the following: his daughter, Susan A., wife of Mark A. McCullough of Landisville, PA; two grandchildren who loved their ‘Opa’, Sarah Elisabeth and Matthew John McCullough; brother, Harold S. Butz, Jr., husband of Marion Butz, and many nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend a Funeral Service at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 31 S. Duke St., Lancaster, PA on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 11:00 AM in the sanctuary with the Rev. Timothy A. Mentzer and Deacon Augustus G. Mauro officiating. A Viewing will be held in the library of the Fisher Parish House from 10:00 AM until the time of service. Interment with military honors will follow at Riverview Burial Park, Lancaster, PA.
If desired, memorial contributions in John’s memory can be made to the Heart Transplant Program at Penn Transplant Institute, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19104.