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Obituary: Dr. Joseph Edward Butterworth 1932 - 2018

Dr. Joseph Edward Butterworth

Dr. Joseph Edward Butterworth

Dr. Joseph Edward Butterworth December 29, 1932 - November 18, 2018. The nicest guy in the world passed away on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, leaving both practical and philosophical lessons that will be carried on by his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and those who were fortunate enough to have him enter their orbit.

Some of Dad’s favorites that we have adopted: Don’t overuse (your) power; after all, it’s power that overheats circuits. Read the newspaper every day, you might learn something. When you find the love of your life, go camping to share that love away from the rat race. National Parks are the most romantic places on earth. Be as nice to the little guy as you are to the guy in charge. Everybody’s got a story to tell. If you are able, retire early. And remember, in life as in euchre, rely on your partner, but when it is time go it alone, it’s best to get the kids off the street first.

In addition to “Nicest Guy in the World,” Dr. Joseph Butterworth earned quite a few titles during his life: Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering at Purdue University (1968); Trustee of the Anaheim Union High School District (1974-1976); Board Member of the Magnolia and Anaheim Union High School Districts (1971-1977); Commissioner for the Anaheim Parks and Recreation Department (1972-1977); and Featured Author in Trailer Life and Motorhome Magazines (1995-1997).

But, Joe’s most cherished titles were those bestowed on him by his beloved family: Devoted Husband, Dad, Grandpa, Great-grandpa. Joe became Dad when Joe Jr. and Nancy Ann were born, and Father-in-Law when Nancy married Brad Boschetto in 1989, and Joe Jr. married Lori, making her a Mrs. Butterworth, in 1994.

Soon, he became Grandpa Joe to Matthew (Matt) Liotta-Butterworth, Johanna Butterworth, and Brenna Boschetto. When Matt married Megan, and baby William was born, he earned his final title in 2017: Great-grandpa.

Joe was born in 1932 in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Jo Hazel and Ralph Butterworth. Many childhood days were spent at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where his father had been an oil pumper and Joe delivered Western Union telegrams on race days.

Joe loved working on TVs and radios and already had established himself as a repairman by the time he graduated high school. In the summer of 1950, Indiana Central College offered him a cross-country running scholarship. Joe was ever grateful for this gift, as it was the beginning of a rewarding career, as well as the path on which he met the love of his life.

As an undergraduate, Joe fell “head over heels” for his physics lab assistant, Rosemary Arndt, and was “lucky enough to marry her” in 1953; Rosemary claimed that she picked him because “He was the smartest of the lot.”

The Korean War interrupted Joe’s education when he was called to Navy service in 1952. During the war, he operated Link flight trainers at the Naval Air Station in Memphis, Tennessee. After discharge, Joe used the GI Bill to finish his education at Purdue University, where he was awarded Bachelor of Science (1956) and Master of Science (1958) degrees in Electrical Engineering, and the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (1968).

Joe applied his well-earned education to a career in aerospace where he really was a rocket scientist. From his early days designing antennas for Convair (San Diego), to working on Saturn rockets at McDonnell Douglas (Long Beach), and finally to collaborating internationally on air defense systems at Hughes Aircraft (Fullerton), he was respected and loved by those who worked alongside him.

Joe retired early to spend “the best years” of his life with Rosemary while they traveled the length and breadth of the U.S., full time for 14 years, in a trailer pulled by a propane-powered Ford truck affectionately known as the Queen Mary.

For his kids, grandkids, and neighbors, “grandpa’s trailer” became the center of the universe out of which Grandma and Grandpa would deliver garage sale treasures from all over the country.

Joe’s “bar” always opened at 5:00 p.m., and the stories, boardgames, and raucous rounds of euchre ensued thereafter.

While camping up on Mingus Mountain, Joe and Rosemary discovered the Verde Valley. As family legend has it, standing on the mountainside, Rosemary pointed to the Verde Valley below, with the Red Rocks of Sedona towering in the background, and proclaimed that this was where they’d settle when they unhitched the trailer for the last time. And so, they did.

In 2001, Joe and Rosemary designed and built their final home in Clarkdale, Arizona, which became the new center of fun for family, friends and neighbors.

Joe was preceded in death by the love of his life, wife Rosemary.

He is survived by brother, Ron Butterworth of Torrance, California; son, Joe Butterworth (Lori) of Soquel, California; daughter, Nancy Boschetto (Brad) of Cottonwood, Arizona; grandchildren, Matthew Liotta-Butterworth (Megan), Johanna Butterworth, and Brenna Boschetto; and great-grandson, William Liotta-Butterworth.

Dr. Joseph Butterworth led a wonderful life for which he was truly grateful.

He was loved by everyone who knew him - politicians, professors, travelers, neighbors - and above all, his family.

Information provided by survivors.

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