Denis J. Butler, a lifelong resident of Astoria, NY and a retired member of the New York State Legislature passed away on October 14. He is survived by his beloved wife of 49 years, Mary, three children Kathleen, Denis and Thomas, daughter-in-law Lisa and four loving grandchildren. Denis was born on July 26, 1927, the fourth son of Denis and Annie Butler and is predeceased by his parents and brothers Brian, John, Thomas and Matthew.
In 2009 Assemblyman Butler was knighted in the Papal Order of Saint Gregory the Great in Brooklyn's St. James Cathedral by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.
From an early age his commitment to serving the community was evident, as a 20-year volunteer with the Lighthouse for the Blind and serving as president of the St. Joseph's Home School Association, a member of the Holy Name Society, Parish Council and from 1970-2000 as Democratic District Leader.
In April 1976, Denis J. Butler was first elected to the New York State Assembly, where he served for 24 years and 8 months with victories in ever Assembly election. Denis rose to the position of Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore in 1993 and as a full time legislator, served on the Rules, Aging, Economic Development, Labor and Oversight, Analysis and Investigations Committees and on the Joint Budget Conference Committee's Subcommittee on Higher Education, which helped to maintain and increase funding for higher education. Assemblyman Butler served as Chairman of the Assembly Subcommittee on the Special Problems of the Aging. Assemblyman Butler retired from a distinguished career in public service in December 2000.
Through his advocacy and legislation, Assemblyman Butler was an advocate for the elderly, disabled, unborn and military veterans. For nearly 25 years in the legislature he was an advocate for and proponent of funding for the Maternity and Early Childhood Foundation, to promote alternatives to abortion.
In 1988, Assemblyman Butler was a recipient of the Brooklyn Diocese's Pro Vita Award, presented by Bishop Francis J. Mugavero in recognition of his efforts on behalf of the unborn and in support of life. Two years later, the late Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta traveled from Calcutta to Brooklyn's St. James Cathedral Basilica to accept the same award.
In 1992, Assemblyman Butler received the New York State Catholic Conference Public Policy Award, presented by John Cardinal O'Connor and the Bishops of New York State for his work in support of the Maternity and Early Childhood Foundation.
A graduate of LaSalle Academy and Cathedral College, Assemblyman Denis Butler also attended St. Joseph's Seminary, the State University of New York at Albany and Columbia University. Mr. Butler was a lifelong resident of St. Joseph's Parish in Long Island City where he and his four brothers attended school.
Under the direction of Thomas M. Quinn & Sons Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Denis Butler to: Ozanum Hall, 42-41 201 Street, Bayside, NY, 11361.