Clarence Butkowski, 91, Waite Park
April 26, 1929 - January 29, 2021
Clarence Butkowski was born on April 26th, 1929 and lived to the age of 91, though he was always young at heart. He passed away on Friday, January 29th, 2021 at the St. Cloud Hospital.
His visitation will be from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday at the Daniel Funeral Home, St. Cloud with parish prayers at 4:00 p.m. A private Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will take place at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Waite Park. A celebration of life will be planned at a later date.
Clarence was the son of Francis and Elizabeth (Lang) and grew up in St. Cloud. He later moved to Waite Park, where he resided for most of his life. Clarence graduated from St. Cloud Cathedral High School in 1947. He proudly served our country in the United States Army; he enlisdated in 1951 as a member of the Combat Infantry B Division in the Korean War. Clarence was the PX rations and munitions supplier. He also became the volunteer “mailman” for his fellow troops and enjoyed delivering letters from loved ones. For his service, he was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Korean Service Medal, Bronze Service Star, and United Nations Service Medal. When he returned home in 1953, he cared for his mother.
For 43 years, Clarence worked for the Great Northern Railroad in Waite Park. Starting as a Painter’s Apprentice, he worked with determination and soon became a Painter/Carman. Clarence was the honored restoration painter of the historic Hustle Muscle engine, which resides in the Lake Superior Historic Museum in Duluth. He retired in 1991, but Clarence didn’t give up his paintbrush. He continued staining and painting for family and friends.
Clarence was united in marriage to MaryEllen O’Driscoll on August 27th, 1960 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Waite Park. They treasured 60 years of marriage together and raised a family of six children. They were later blessed with 12 grandchildren.
Clarence was a devoted member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and was involved in many organizations, such as the St. Cloud Veterans of Foreign Wars Granite Post #428, National Association of Retired Veteran Railway Employees Unit 107, The Burlington Northern Veterans, The Disabled American Veterans Chapter #9, and Waite Park American Legion Silver Star Post #428. At church, he was a parishioner, usher, and parish council member. He helped remodel the church and championed the Sausage Supper, Bouja, and Church Bazaar fundraisers. Clarence also held a chair on the Centennial Committee for Waite Park. He assisted with the creation of River’s Edge Splash Pad to honor the memory of his son Daniel, a Waite Park City Council Member. These are only a few instances of Clarence’s many caring deeds.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife MaryEllen of Waite Park; children, Francis (Jacqueline) of Maple Grove, Thomas (Corinne) of Hiawatha, IA, Michael (Sandra) of Grand Forks, ND, Sarah (Allan) Christman of St. Joseph, and Jane (Ray) Wunderlich of Rice; siblings, Clara Vreeland of Waite Park, Jerry (Ruth) of St. Cloud; and grandchildren, Joseph (Katrina), Christopher, Andrew, Chelsea, Anne, Grant, Nolan, Owen, Cole, Myles, Carter, and Mallory. He was preceded in death by his parents; siblings, Viola, Leander “Andy,” Sylvester “Spatz,” Ervin, and Lorraine; and his youngest son, Daniel.
Clarence was a supportive husband, father, grandfather, and friend who was humorous, giving, and optimistic. He frequently attended his family members’ events, including sports, concerts, plays, and many other activities. He enjoyed completing projects, from working in his yard to home improvements. His hobbies included making puzzles, fishing, playing cards, going to the casino and horse races, watching Minnesota sports teams, bowling, outdoor activities, and spending quality time with family and friends. He will always be remembered for his teasing nature, twinkling eyes, infectious smile, and silly sayings like “Don’t take any wooden nickels!” Clarence was full of love, laughter, and good-heartedness, a shining presence in everyone’s lives.