John Butler

LEWISTON — Androscoggin County Commissioner John Butler of Lewiston died Monday evening after battling cancer for several months. He was 61.

Butler had a long and distinguished career serving the residents of Lewiston, first as a School Committee member and then as a city councilor.

“He was a good guy, a good adviser and a good friend,” said Lewiston City Administrator Ed Barrett.

Butler dedicated much of his public career to improving educational opportunities in the city. In addition to serving 16 years on the School Committee, he served on three Lewiston school projects, including chairman of the Farwell School project.

He was also active in working with the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council during his four years on the City Council.

Last November, Butler was elected to his first term as an Androscoggin County commissioner.

“He was great to work with,” said Sally Christner, a commissioner from Turner. “He was such a straight shooter. He didn’t play games. You always knew where he stood.”

Commission Chairman Noel Madore first met Butler when Madore interned with the city of Lewiston roughly 10 years ago. Butler’s commitment to work through his illness impressed Madore.

“We need more people like John,” Madore said. “His community meant everything to him. He volunteered to make a difference right to the end.”

In addition to serving as a county commissioner at the time of his death, Butler was also serving on the Lewiston Planning Board and the Lewiston and Auburn Forestry Board.

Barrett praised Butler for his constant involvement in local issues, for always trying to do the right thing and working to “move the community forward.”

Butler once said the best political advice he ever received was to “listen 80 percent of the time and talk 20 percent, and do what you feel is right in your heart, mind and soul when the facts, discussions and presentations are done.” That defined his years of public service.

Butler graduated from Lewiston High School in 1977 and St. Michael’s College in Vermont in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. He worked in outside sales for the family business, Butler Bros., for more than 35 years. The company was started by his father in 1952.

He and his wife, Ann, raised three children and have four grandchildren. He also leaves behind his father, a brother and three sisters.

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