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D: 2018-07-31
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Greeley, CO 80631
Phone: 970-351-0130
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1948 - 2017
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Obituary for Rick

Ryan Douglas Butner
September 5, 1948 - September 30, 2017

Ryan “Rick” Butner, 69, of Parker, CO, passed away September 30, 2017 after a courageous fight with ALS. He was born to Charles and Kathryn (Kline) Butner on September 5, 1948 in Reading, Pennsylvania. He passed at his home with his loving wife Mary at his side.

Ryan will be remembered for leaving every place better than he found it. Growing up in Reading he learned woodworking skills from his grandfather, a talent he used throughout his life for both work and personal projects. He graduated with a B.S. from Penn State University, realizing he loved hands-on work and being on the move. In 1970, he joined the military as a member of the Army Security Agency and was stationed at Ft. Devens, Ft. Bragg, and in Thailand. He received parachutist and sharpshooter badges, in addition to medals for service during the Vietnam campaign. After an honourable discharge and a summer working a dude ranch in Estes Park, he decided to permanently relocate to Colorado in 1976. On the first day he returned to Estes, he met his future wife, Mary. They married in Greeley on October 6th, 1979 while Mary was serving as an Army Nurse at Ft. Knox.

A sensible and disciplined man, Ryan saved faithfully to buy the family’s first home, near the hospital in Ft. Collins. Ryan and Mary lived in the home for 20 years, adding two children, Matt and Erin, along the way. Employed as an HVAC Engineer, Ryan spent his free time remodeling their family homes and rental properties, gardening, hiking, camping and skiing. He role modeled hard work, a love of reading, studying hard, and an active lifestyle to his children. He also instilled the enjoyment of healthy eating, which always included delicious Sunday family breakfasts.

The family moved to Salem, Oregon in late 1997, where Ryan enjoyed exploring the Pacific Northwest and landscaping the oversized yard of their home, which included learning how to install a sprinkler system. Returning home to Colorado in 2003, Ryan devoted time to telemark skiing at Loveland, finishing the basement, and adding a large stone patio to their Parker home. Unaware that he had ALS, in 2008, he climbed Pikes Peak, went hang-gliding off Lookout Mountain, and trekked into Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica with his son and daughter to celebrate his 60th birthday. Once the diagnosis was a reality, Ryan accomplished many items on his bucket list, including trips to Denali National Park and the Kenai Peninsula, Maui, Baja, Mexico, Civil War sites in the East, and Old Bent’s Fort. The weekend before he passed, Rick roamed with the buffaloes and howled with the wolves in Yellowstone National Park alongside his family.

In addition to being a loving, supportive husband and father, he raised three dogs, Joe, Bob, and Heidi; all were German Shepherd mix. Ryan volunteered regularly, including work for Ft. Collins Youth Soccer program, RSES, Kiwanis, and the Dancing Dog Rescue in Hudson.

Ryan faced daily battles with ALS, which progressively robbed him of strength, speech, and mobility. Even with these challenges, he continued to live his life as normally as possible and in defiance of his condition until his final days. A life-long learner, he spent his time reading about finance, history, and current events, listening to music and podcasts, and playing chess. He relentlessly tortured weeds that attempted to grow in his yard. He constantly kept a copy of the U.S. Constitution, world maps, and a dictionary at his side so he could lookup details from the news and his books.

Ryan is survived by his wife of 38 years, Mary McMahon; children Matthew (Jackie Zappala) and Erin (Tyler Stubbs), sister Kathy (Tim) Hassell, cousin Kimbel (Delphine) McChalicher, four nephews, two nieces and a large, loving extended family. Ryan was preceded in death by his parents.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, October 7th in Fort Collins, CO at Overland Park. A military service will be conducted at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver on October 5, 2017.

In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to the ALS Association, a local humane society or the US National Park Service.

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