Butch was born on September 26, 1943, in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, to Merle and Anna Lee (Leckow) Johnson. He spent his early years in Portland, Oregon, where his mother worked in the shipyards while his father was serving in the army during World War II.
When he was in junior high, Butch left Portland for Hulett, Wyoming, to live the “western” lifestyle with his father. He enjoyed playing all sports, FFA and rodeoing while attending Hulett High School, where he graduated in 1961.
Butch attended the University of Wyoming for three years, where he was on the rodeo team. He then served two years in the U.S. Army as a telecommunications operator in Germany.
After returning home, Butch attended Black Hills State University, where he continued to rodeo and received his degree in education. He later earned a M.S. in Educational Guidance from the University of South Dakota.
While at BHSU, Butch also met Rita North, and the two were married on August 1, 1970. They had three children, Josh, Dan and Heather. They eventually settled in Sundance, Wyoming, where Butch worked as a logger, a math teacher and a guidance counselor for over 20 years, and later the contractor of a mail route, where he retired in 2004.
He had many other jobs and interests outside his career. Most of all, Butch was a true horseman, enjoying roping, rodeoing, training horses, hunting and fishing. He loved sharing his hobbies with his children, grandchildren, family and friends.
The job Butch was most proud of was being a dad and grandpa. He spent his summers helping the kids get ready for rodeos and the 4-H horse shows, as well as roping and rodeoing himself. He also loved watching his kids and grandkids play team sports, taking them hunting, fishing and boating.
Butch is survived by his wife Rita, two sons, Josh (Jennifer) and Dan (Lacey) Johnson of Buffalo; daughter Heather (Nick) DiCerbo of Las Vegas, Nevada and four grandchildren, Coy and Cam Johnson and Hadley and Raile Joens. He is also survived by seven brothers, Larry, Jack and Lloyd Johnson of Hulett and Moorcroft, Dick and Alan Johnson of Ohio, Ric Dir of Oregon and four sisters, Cheryl Oliver of Belle Fourche, Donna Weigant and Sheri Polito of Oregon and Veronica Johnson of Hulett, plus many nieces and nephews.
He leaves behind many friends that he met through the places he lived, rodeoed and worked. Butch was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Rollie Dir.
Services for Butch were held on Friday, January 5, 2018, at the Harness Funeral Chapel of Buffalo. A luncheon reception followed at the American Legion Hall in Buffalo.
Donations in Butch’s memory may be made to: Johnson County Cowgirls’ Rodeo, P.O. Box 1210, Buffalo, Wy 82834 or The Welch Cancer Center, www.sheridanhospital.org (under the foundation tab).