One last dance for my dad

Last Saturday, my dad took his ballroom dance lesson. On Sunday, we chatted on the phone.  Monday night, he and my mom ate ice cream and watched the Memorial Day celebration from Washington D.C., and when the band played the Navy Hymn, he stood and saluted, as one might expect from a World War II Navy veteran. Then, my dad  went to bed.

The next morning, he was brain dead, the result of an aneurysm. He died one week shy of his 96th birthday.


Paul Butler 1923-2019

My dad, who grew up in Irwin, Pennsylvania in a family of coal miners, graduated from Penn State University and received a masters degree from Seton Hall, thanks to the G.I. Bill. He was a proud veteran who loved history and shared his war stories with me. He was fly fisherman who taught me to cast into a garbage can lid in the driveway. He taught me to love wild places and the creatures that live in them. He was a recovering alcoholic who treasured those 35-plus sobriety chips. He was a grandfather and a great grandfather. We shared a love of sports and we ice danced together. Then, when he hung up his skates at 80, he turned to ballroom.

Here’s to you, Dad. One last dance. I love you.


20 thoughts on “One last dance for my dad

  1. sharonledwith says:

    Big hugs and my condolences to you and your mom, Anne. Seemed like he lived a full life, and added beauty to the world by co-creating a wonderful and talented daughter. Love your tribute!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thomas Broadfoot says:

    Your dad was great never saw him angry even when the rink rats were being kids and a pita to all the adult skaters. I am sad to hear of his passing but his dance card for ice dancing and ballroom dancing will be filled as he watches down on you and your siblings as well as your mom.

    My condolences to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Susan Taffer says:

    A beautiful Dance – we should all feel that connection to art and beauty throughout our entire lives! My love and blessings to you and your family!

    Liked by 1 person

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