By Josh Resnek
David Butler came from a family connected at the hip to the Everett Fire Department and to this city for over 60 years.
Butler came up through the ranks becoming the chief in 2000.
He served with distinction for 16 years, retiring in 2016.
During his long career as a firefighter, he became afflicted with Firefighter Occupational Cancer.
Last week, Chief Butler succumbed to the cancer following a valiant fight.
He was 65.
He spent 39 years of his life as an Everett firefighter.
His wake at the JF Ward Funeral Home on Broadway Sunday afternoon attracted a huge throng from all walks of life.
Nearly all the present members of the EFD attended, including the honor guard, while retired firefighters, family friends and former neighbors also came to pay their respects.
Former Mayor David Ragucci appointed Butler to the chief’s position.
In comments to the Leader Herald Monday morning, Ragucci remembered Butler as a gentleman and a quiet, dignified professional who knew what he was doing.
“David was an easy going, conscientious, honest man – an absolute pleasure to work with when I was mayor,” Ragucci said.
“He was in every way a great guy. He cared about the city and he loved the Everett Fire Department and his men. His greatest interest was always his men and the dangers they faced,” he added.
Ragucci said it was a shame that Butler died at so young an age.
“It’s a real shame. He didn’t get a chance to fully enjoy his retirement,” he said.
City Clerk Sergio Cornelio said he knew the chief and the family.
“He was a very good chief with a well- known and highly respected family.
“His father was a firefighter here. His son David, Jr. is a sergeant on the Everett Police Department,”
“The Butler’s this city.”
He was a of Malden and Suffolk In college, he studied biology and marine sciences.
He served alongside his father, the late former Everett Fire Lt. Roy B. Butler.
He was recalled kindly by Everett firefighter Craig Hardy, the city’s fire union representative, as a strong chief beloved by all those who served under him.
Hardy spoke at city hall before the city council Monday night. The city council observed a moment of silence for Butler.
“I am here to thank everyone for their sympathies and aid during this difficult time. Thanks to the mayor, to the rep., to the council…to everyone who expressedtheir sympathies. It showed real respect for the man and for his family.”
Butler loved his profession.
He was Firefighter of the Year in 1985, and throughout his career and into retirement he received honors as an LNG safety expert, and as the executive director of Metrofire.
Above all he was a family man, friends and associates recalled. His family, his children, his wife of 42 years, the late Mary (Gorman) Butler and his ten grandchildren gave him his reason to live – that and being a proud Everett firefighter nearly all his adult life.