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Rev. Harry T. Butori

Deceased: 2005-06-01

Diocese: HELENA

Seminary Graduation Year: 1953

Our beloved Father Harry Butori died Monday, June 1, 2005 in Butte. He went to join his mother, father, brother and sister in eternal life. Born on Jan. 18, 1927, to Alfred and Adeline (“Lena” Steffani) Butori, he was raised in a loving home in Meaderville along with his six brothers and sisters. He attended Holy Savior and Boys Central. Following graduation in 1944, he joined the Army Specialized Training Reserve Program and attended the University of Idaho. He continued his education at Carroll College in Helena where he had originally gone to become a doctor and then ultimately answered his calling instead. After graduating from Carroll College in 1948 he further continued his education at the North American College in Rome obtaining an STL in 1953.

On Dec. 20, 1952, in the witness of his mother Lena and aunt Edith Bertoglio he was ordained at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy. From that day forward he lived and accepted the duty of the life of a priest with unpaired devotion.  Upon his return to Butte he celebrated his first Mass at St. Helena’s Church in Meaderville, where as a child he served as an altar boy. He was truly honored to stand next to Father Frank Harrington as a peer on the altar of his family parish. His first pastoral assignment was in Conrad until he took up assignment at Carroll College in September 1953.

He later served as assistant at St. Peter’s Parish in Anaconda, at St. Richard’s Parish in Columbia Falls, at St. Matthew’s Parish in Kalispell and at the Cathedral of St. Helena in Helena. He was chaplain at St. James Community Hospital and served on the faculty of Girls’ Central in Butte beginning in 1966. In 1968 he became pastor at St. William Parish in Dutton. In 1972 he became pastor at St. Teresa of Avila in Whitehall. In 1980 he became pastor at St. Joseph’s Parish in Choteau. In 1986 he returned to Butte serving once again as chaplain at St. James Community Hospital as well as providing pastoral care for the residents of local nursing homes. In 1990 he was appointed pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish and became a member of the Butte Catholic Community North’s pastoral team. In September 1999 he accepted senior status in the diocese.

At the time of his death, he continued his pastoral care of the residents of local nursing homes as well as assisting his close friend Father Bill Vernon in the Butte Catholic Community North.

Father was truly a special blessing from God. He had many special talents he could play the violin, clarinet and piano which he especially enjoyed doing at many of the local nursing homes and before most of his masses.

One of his many loves in life was children. He was a strong advocate against abortion. He would always say protect the children for they are the future of our church and they will be how we raise them.

He was preceded in death by his father, Alfred, his mother, Lena, his brother, Ralph (Buzzy), sister, Frances (Scookie) Sutey, brothers-in-law, Tony Sutey and Gilbert Lazzari, sister-in-law, Helen Butori, and many other beloved aunts, uncles, nephews and cousins from Butte, Great Falls and various other locations. He is survived by two maternal uncles, Ralph Steffani and Eugene “Beno” and Aunt Dorothy “Babe” Stefani, all of Great Falls; his sister, Chicie Lazzari and her daughters, Linda and Gilberta and their families; sister, Marie O’Brien, her son, Alfred, and his families; sister, Angelena, and brother-in-law, Leroy Stillwagon, and their sons, John, David, Bryon, Steven and daughter, Sara Conlan, and their families; the sons and daughters of the late Tony and Frances Sutey, Anthony, Joseph, Marilyn and Maria Ann and their families; and his brother, Francis (Beezer) Butori, and his sons, Ralph, Mike, Frank, and Kevin and daughter, Julie, and their families. Father had many more members in his family — these would be the members of the congregations whom he loved to serve.

Knowing Father Harry Butori was a special gift from God who was always a phone call away. Now he is just a prayer away. We love you, Chow.

Relatives and friends may call after 5 p.m. Friday in St. Joseph’s Church for visitations. Parish Vigil services will be conducted at 7 p.m. Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on the Feast of St. Joseph at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Joseph’s Church. Interment will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Memorials: St. Joseph’s Project Change, Butte Central’s Activities Center, St. Joseph’s Parish or donor’s choice.