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Clayton Coe Butzer

Posted By DeBord-Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory On January 17, 2022 @ 10:53 am In Obituaries | 9 Comments

Butzer Photo web

Clayton Coe Butzer passed away on January 12 at Lancaster General Hospital after a short illness.

Clay was born in Ridgewood, NJ on June 10, 1930, the son of Albert and Katharine (Coe) Butzer. He grew up in Buffalo, NY and graduated from The Nichols School in 1948.  While there, he played soccer, ice hockey and baseball.   At Middlebury College, Clay met and started dating his future bride, Barbara Eckman, during freshman orientation.  They became engaged senior year and graduated in 1952.  Clay was also a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at Middlebury, and served as president.

Because of the ongoing Korean War (and despite never having flown on a plane!), Clay enlisted in the US Navy Pilot Training Program at Pensacola, FL, graduating with a commission as an ensign.  He married Barbara in 1953 and they moved to Wickford, RI near the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  He   flew P-2V Neptune aircraft, used to track Soviet submarines and conduct search and rescue missions over water.   Powered by two jets and two propeller engines, it was nicknamed “two burning, two turning.” Deployments took Clay and the squadron to North Africa, Newfoundland, Iceland, Greenland and the Caribbean.  After becoming a patrol plane commander, he and his crew received a Letter of Commendation from the Canadian government for locating and rescuing a ship in distress in the waters north of Hudson Bay.

After completing four years of active duty in the Navy, Clay’s career continued to foster his love of aviation: first in the aerospace industry, then in metals when titanium was not only used in aircraft engines but was pioneered in the medical field.  He held executive sales positions for several companies in a career that spanned over three decades.

While living in two different communities in New Jersey, Clay served as a Presbyterian Church elder and was on the Hunterdon County Board of Elections.  He also participated with Barbara on a variety of school, sports team and community projects. Summers were always special because it meant time spent at their lake house and then beach home in Avalon, NJ, surrounded by children, grandchildren and their golden retrievers.

In 2006, Clay and Barbara sold their beloved historic farmhouse in New Jersey and moved to Barbara’s hometown of Lancaster, PA.  They quickly became immersed in the community life at Homestead Village and became active members of the Church of the Apostles.

Clay loved his family and counted down the days until they arrived for holidays, birthdays, or no occasion at all. If the driveway was packed with cars and the house full of lively pandemonium, he was in the middle of it all.

He was a gifted story- teller and his vast repertoire of jokes was legendary. Clay was also sentimental. His toasts at special occasions elicited both laughter and tears, and he expressed love, encouragement and gratitude to those who touched his life – especially with his hand-written notes.    He understood that forging lifelong relationships and friendships was an art.

He was modest about his legacy and good fortune, and always credited Barbara as “the best thing that ever happened to me.” His devotion to her was unwavering, and she was the true heart and center of his life.  In addition to Barbara, Clay is survived by four adoring children:  Stephen (Christine), Molly (Tom), Randy (Wendy), Amy (Tom), nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service for Clayton C. Butzer will be held on Saturday, April 30, 2022 at 10:30 AM at Church of the Apostles,  1850 Marietta Ave, Lancaster, PA 17603.

Condolences for the family of “Clayton Coe Butzer”

Condolence from Jack Vogel on January 18th, 2022 10:38 am

Sorry to hear ofyour loss

Condolence from John S. Davis, M.D. on January 20th, 2022 10:34 am

to Barbara Butzer, widow of Clayton Butzer

Dear Barbara, I was so sad to hear of Clay’s death. Ne was a friend from our Nichols days, and I recall that you and my late wife Jean bonded together at a Nichols reunion. I do know what it is like to lose one’s beloved spouse, but I also know that with time, grief is overtaken by lasting fond memories.
With sympathy, John Davis, Nichols class of 1948.

Condolence from Gina Louro on January 21st, 2022 11:47 pm

Clayton Butzer was my absolutely favorite patient. He was a true officer & gentleman. Always with a smile and a story, and of course those handwritten notes of thanks. After my retirement in 2020, I would wonder how Clayton was doing. RIP my dear. Condolences to Barbara & I am sure wonderful family. (Apples do not fall from the tree. )

Gina Louro, AuD
Doctor of Audiology

Condolence from Ellen Marvin Miller on January 22nd, 2022 11:43 am

We send our prayers and comfort to you , Barbara, and the Butzer family. Good memories from our Parsippany neighborhood. The Butzer family was a wonderful part of our neighborhood. Joe and Ellen (Marvin) Miller

Condolence from William Maxwell on January 24th, 2022 8:12 am

Dear Mrs. Butzer, Steve, Molly, Randy and Amy,

My condolences on the passing of Mr. Butzer. What a remarkable man he was. He brought many moments of kindness and of great joy to our family during our time on Medford Road. I will always remember the times we had as neighbors and at the shore and particularly the toast he offered to my late father when we got together years later at an event for my mother.

Sincerely and with the warmest regards,

William Maxwell
Martinsville, NJ

Condolence from Jey Bailey on January 24th, 2022 12:53 pm

My sympathy goes out to Clay’s family and friends. He was a wonderful person, gracious and good-natured to those that crossed his path. He will be missed, and I believe his spirit shall live on in the lives he touched and the family he nurtured throughout his life.

Condolence from Richard Maxwell on January 28th, 2022 2:10 pm


We are so very sad to hear of the passing of Clay and offer our condolences to you and your wonderful family. We had such wonderful times when we all were on Medford Rd. together with the hours of knock hockey, the tree house, the slate path, trying to catch Kelly when he escaped and much more. These were important formative years for the Butzers and the Maxwells and we were blessed with being able to share them with you. Clay was a man of great ability in so many ways : kind, thoughtful, brave, always optimistic and a role model for all. He will be missed but his memory and legacy will carry on through his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. The Maxwells were so fortunate to have been able to share part of our lives with your family.


Richard and Camille Maxwell

Condolence from Tom and Pam Maxwell on February 11th, 2022 3:26 pm

Pam, our extended family, and I offer our sincere condolences for the passing of Clay this past month. Reflecting on our life on Medford Road, my memories of Clay, Barbara, and the whole family, (including Kelly, the Irish Setter) during our time as ‘next door neighbors’ were always happy and treasured times – touch football games in the backyard, delicious cookouts come to mind. Besides my Dad, Clay has always been my role model. He was always gracious, friendly, helpful, with a wonderful sense of humor. I owe a significant level of credit to Clay for my success in business and at home. He got me my first ‘real’ job after college and then showed me how to navigate towards successive levels of achievement. We miss Him. Love to All, Tom and Pam

Condolence from Brian Marvin on March 26th, 2022 8:32 am

Dear Butzer Family,
In remembering our neighbor and friends, the Butzers from the very first day when Mr Butzer with Molly came over to introduce himself. From then forward only good memories. Clay invited my parents to temporarily come live at the Butzer home after a house fire until other arrangements could be made. That’s the kind of person he was. I wish the world had more people like him.
My deepest condolences to Barbara & family
Brian Marvin

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