ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Thomas Butler, 37 years old, born on May 15, 1964, and passed away on September 11, 2001. We will remember him forever. 
Posted by Eileen Cristiano on May 13, 2021
There is a forever void in our family since you passed. Family gatherings are not the same. Although I used to kid around and say you didn't care , anyone who really knew you saw there was a sensitive side. 

I remember the time we went to Great Adventure and you finally convinced me to go on Free Fall. Well I was so proud of myself and as the ride starting going up and up you looked and said "oh my god look, the bolts are coming out". I could of killed you. But you laughed and thought you were sooooo funny! 

Another time you were babysitting me and I came running upstairs saying there was someone looking in the basement window. You heard the garage door open. you got your baseball bat and went outside because whoever was there you were going to beat up. Well you slowly raised the garage door and realized it was your friends playing a trick on you. Glad you were there to protect me!

I would always bust your chops and say you never get excited or show emotion when opening a present. I would be so excited to give it to you and would even try to give it early and you would open it and just say "thank you". Well after a bunch of times of me getting annoyed and saying you didn't act like you liked the gift you started over exaggerating your response and saying "WOW, " THIS IS GREAT", " THIS IS THE BEST PRESENT I EVER GOT" " WOOHOO" LOL. Your were such a wise ass!

Deep down I knew you cared. You were funny and sarcastic and family came first. We miss you so much! I know you are watching over all of us and I know you are so proud of your kids and you should be! 

Love and Miss you
your little sister Eileen
Posted by Martha Obrien on April 28, 2021
  
Tom Butler is unforgettable. He was handsome, witty, adventurous, and an honorable man. He was the life of any party. Meet him once and you’d remember him forever.

I was a very lucky woman to have met him, fallen in love with him, to have married him and had children with him, and to have shared our lives together. There is a hole in my heart that will never heal. I didn’t get the rest of my life, but I got the rest of his. Our time together was cut short, but the happiness we shared will last a lifetime.

The greatest gift he gave me was our children. Everyday, I see a glimpse of him in their demeanor, sense of humor, love for life, passion, honor, and stubbornness. My only mission was to raise and teach them the same values that we have, hoping they know him as much as I and so many others do, and continuing to keep his memories alive.

I miss you, Tom. I am honored to have called you my husband, my best friend, my soul-mate, and my everything. Who is better than you? No one!

I love you.
Always and Forever.
Martha

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Eileen Cristiano on May 13, 2021
There is a forever void in our family since you passed. Family gatherings are not the same. Although I used to kid around and say you didn't care , anyone who really knew you saw there was a sensitive side. 

I remember the time we went to Great Adventure and you finally convinced me to go on Free Fall. Well I was so proud of myself and as the ride starting going up and up you looked and said "oh my god look, the bolts are coming out". I could of killed you. But you laughed and thought you were sooooo funny! 

Another time you were babysitting me and I came running upstairs saying there was someone looking in the basement window. You heard the garage door open. you got your baseball bat and went outside because whoever was there you were going to beat up. Well you slowly raised the garage door and realized it was your friends playing a trick on you. Glad you were there to protect me!

I would always bust your chops and say you never get excited or show emotion when opening a present. I would be so excited to give it to you and would even try to give it early and you would open it and just say "thank you". Well after a bunch of times of me getting annoyed and saying you didn't act like you liked the gift you started over exaggerating your response and saying "WOW, " THIS IS GREAT", " THIS IS THE BEST PRESENT I EVER GOT" " WOOHOO" LOL. Your were such a wise ass!

Deep down I knew you cared. You were funny and sarcastic and family came first. We miss you so much! I know you are watching over all of us and I know you are so proud of your kids and you should be! 

Love and Miss you
your little sister Eileen
Posted by Martha Obrien on April 28, 2021
  
Tom Butler is unforgettable. He was handsome, witty, adventurous, and an honorable man. He was the life of any party. Meet him once and you’d remember him forever.

I was a very lucky woman to have met him, fallen in love with him, to have married him and had children with him, and to have shared our lives together. There is a hole in my heart that will never heal. I didn’t get the rest of my life, but I got the rest of his. Our time together was cut short, but the happiness we shared will last a lifetime.

The greatest gift he gave me was our children. Everyday, I see a glimpse of him in their demeanor, sense of humor, love for life, passion, honor, and stubbornness. My only mission was to raise and teach them the same values that we have, hoping they know him as much as I and so many others do, and continuing to keep his memories alive.

I miss you, Tom. I am honored to have called you my husband, my best friend, my soul-mate, and my everything. Who is better than you? No one!

I love you.
Always and Forever.
Martha
his Life

Brother

There is a forever void in our family since you passed. Family gatherings are not the same. Although I used to kid around and say you didn't care , anyone who really knew you saw there was a sensitive side. 

I remember the time we went to Great Adventure and you finally convinced me to go on Free Fall. Well I was so proud of myself and as the ride starting going up and up you looked and said "oh my god look, the bolts are coming out". I could of killed you. But you laughed and thought you were sooooo funny! 

Another time you were babysitting me and I came running upstairs saying there was someone looking in the basement window. You heard the garage door open. you got your baseball bat and went outside because whoever was there you were going to beat up. Well you slowly raised the garage door and realized it was your friends playing a trick on you. Glad you were there to protect me!

I would always bust your chops and say you never get excited or show emotion when opening a present. I would be so excited to give it to you and would even try to give it early and you would open it and just say "thank you". Well after a bunch of times of me getting annoyed and saying you didn't act like you liked the gift you started over exaggerating your response and saying "WOW, " THIS IS GREAT", " THIS IS THE BEST PRESENT I EVER GOT" " WOOHOO" LOL. Your were such a wise ass!

Deep down I knew you cared. You were funny and sarcastic and family came first. We miss you so much! I know you are watching over all of us and I know you are so proud of your kids and you should be! 

Love and Miss you
your little sister Eileen

Son

When Tom was a little boy, I knew he had a soft heart and warm personality because he was the one who always found the homeless animals, and brought them home with a story.  A perfect example was, he went to church for folk practice, and came home with a tiny kitten, and said he could not leave it out in the cold.  We had Lucky the cat for 16 years, and when Tom and Martha got married Lucky was left to me.
     
Tom not a day goes by that I don't think of you. You are loved and sorely missed.
                                                           Mom

A Husband

Tom Butler is unforgettable. He was handsome, witty, adventurous, and an honorable man. He was the life of any party. Meet him once and you’d remember him forever. 
I was a very lucky woman to have met him, fallen in love with him, to have married him and had children with him, and to have shared our lives together. There is a hole in my heart that will never heal. I didn’t get the rest of my life, but I got the rest of his. Our time together was cut short, but the happiness we shared will last a lifetime. 
The greatest gift he gave me was our children. Everyday, I see a glimpse of him in their demeanor, sense of humor, love for life, passion, honor, and stubbornness. My only mission was to raise and teach them the same values that we have, hoping they know him as much as I and so many others do, and continuing to keep his memories alive. 
I miss you, Tom. I am honored to have called you my husband, my best friend, my soul-mate, and my everything.   Who is better than you?    No one!
I love you. Always and Forever. 
Martha

Recent stories

Remembering 9/11 - The Loss of a Shipmate and Friend

Shared by Paul Lockhart on May 17, 2021
I will be retiring in the next couple of months and I have started going back to college to finish my bachelor degree.  The concentration will be in creative writing and this is one of the papers that I turned in.  I will be reading this at our 20 year gathering on June 26.
Remembering 9/11

The loss of a Shipmate and Friend

By Paul Lockhart

Email: paul.lockhart@snhu.edu

In February of 2001, I was a Naval Reservist, Gunners Mate Chief Petty Officer.  I was attached to Mobil Inshore Undersea Warfare (MIUW) Unit-214 from Buffalo, New York. I had orders to meet the MIUW Unit-204 in Vieques, Puerto Rico, where I would be the Weapons Officer of the unit during our Active Duty there.  Our job there was to assist the base police force and hold watches as part of the security team.

During this time in February 2001, there were protests going on outside of the fences of the base. Our job was to make sure that the protests did not come into the base. 

Gunners Mate Third Class Tom Butler was a member of MIUW Unit-204 from Fort Dix, New Jersey, and a member of my gun crew, and most importantly, he was a fireman with the New York Fire Department or FDNY.  My first day there, we were going through weapons qualifications on the M-16 rifle, by shooting for score.  In my 20 plus years in the Navy, I had worked on every gun and missile system that the Navy had to offer.  But, in all of my time in the Navy, I had never had to shoot a rifle.

During the gun shoot, I was handed a rifle with a box of ammunition.  Since I am left-handed, I was sent to the farthest position on the left-hand side of the firing line.  Two Sailors came with they me were Gunners Mate Danny Sheehan, and Gunners Mate Tom Butler.

We got settled in and I started shooting for score with my two escorts beside me, to ensure that I had not done anything stupid that may harm someone.  Remember, I had not shot a rifle in my life.  I had shot guns with big bullets that are five inches in diameter, yes; but never a rifle.

When I was finished, my escorts walked with me to my target and Tom started counting my score.  Tom was pleased to inform me that had I had scored high enough for the Marksman ribbon.  I was shocked!  I told Tom that I wanted to see his weapon.  He handed it to me, and I checked the magazine to see how many rounds were in the there.  I then took Danny’s weapon and did the same.

Petty Officer Butler asked, “What’s up Chief?” And I asked who was shooting at my target?  I explained that no one that has never fired a rifle shoots Marksman on their very first try, who was shooting at my target?  Tom’s answer I will remember for the rest of my life, “That’s all you Chief!”  I looked at Tom and said “I love you man! (back in those days that line was from a Bud Light commercial)”.  Tom responded, “Love you more Chief!”  We both laughed and walked off of the firing line and had a smoke.  I knew then that the rest of this two weeks was going to be priceless.

My gun crew was the best crew anyone could have ever asked for.  If these Sailors weren’t from “The City” (New York City), they were from North Jersey; if they weren’t Italian, they were Irish; if they weren’t cops, they were firemen.  This crew was the quickest witted, funniest, life loving, individuals that you would ever want to meet.  In a short two-week period, we have built bonds that have lasted these past twenty years.

I could tell you more stories that could demonstrate the bond that we had built in such a short period of time.  But, my focus for this, is on my friend Tom Butler.

The last time I saw Tom, I asked for a transfer to the Fort Dix MIUW unit and my request was granted.  In August 2001 drill weekend we had a MOBEX (Mobilization Exercise) where we packed up all of our things and bugged out to a point within Fort Dix where we camped for the weekend.

We had strict orders not to take the “duce and a half” (a two-and-a-half-ton truck), nor the five-ton out into the public.  That Saturday night I was sleeping in a tent where the racks were right next to each other.  I had fallen asleep and my arm flopped on another person that was sleeping next to me.  I then woke up and realized that my arm was not only on another Sailor but a female Sailor!  I shot out of my rack and dressed and out of the tent!

I ended up walking up to one of our trucks.  As I got closer, I could see my crew was up to something, I was pretty positive that it wouldn’t be good.  As I got even closer, their faces looked as though that they were the cat that had got caught eating the canary, they looked as guilty as you could imagine! I asked, “What were these guys up to?” 

Tom looked the most embarrassed and said “I’m sorry Chief, but we took the “duce and a half” to the 7/11 and got ice cream.  Tom could see the disappointment in my face and each of the guys exclaimed their regret. 

I told them that I was very disappointed in them!  Not so much for taking the truck out; but for not offering me any ice cream.  They all had big smiles and it turned out that they had bought five gallons of chocolate ice cream.  I looked at each of them and said, “I love you man!” and they responded, “We love you more Chief!”.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, this Tuesday had started out like any other day.  There was not a cloud in the sky, the weather was warm, but a briskness that let you know that Autumn was on the way.  This day is a day that many, including myself, will remember for the rest of our lives.

At the time, my civilian job was that of a salesman.  I was living with my parents in Alexandria, Virginia as I was moving my family from Rochester, New York to a quiet little town called Bealeton, Virginia.

I went to work early that morning to make some cold calls and I also had sales training later that morning, 20 miles away, in a place called Reston, Virginia.

Behind my office was the company’s Library that always kept the news on, and I passed by and I saw one of the Twin Towers, of the World Trade Center, smoking as if it was on fire.  The news feed had said that a plane had crashed into the tower.  While I was watching the screen, I had noticed how crystal clear the skies were; and then it happened again.  The second plane hit the other tower.  Instantly I knew that this was not an accident!

I stayed for a little longer and started my trip to Reston to attend my class.  On the way, my phone rang, and it was my instructor letting me know that the class was cancelled.  He had let me know that a plane flew into the Pentagon and his dad was stationed there.

I immediately called my unit and talked to our Executive Officer at Ft. Dix, New Jersey, and asked her to order me to the Naval Reserve Center in Anacostia, Washington, DC.  I knew I had to do something, anything that I could do to help out, she did order me to report to the Reserve Center and I ended up staying there for three days helping out with Security.  It was an eerie sight to see from across the Potomac river to watch the Pentagon burning. 

On my way to the Reserve Center, I stopped by my mom and dad’s house to get dressed in my uniform and bug out.  While I was watching their TV, it happened; the first tower fell.  Little did I know, at the time, that my friend, Fireman, Gunners Mate Third Class Thomas Butler was in the building.  It was estimated that Tom was on the 82nd floor when the building collapsed.

When we went to our September drill, at Ft. Dix, we were officially informed that Tom was killed.  Our unit was stricken with sadness and we all were crying.  Tom was a friend of everyone.  He was the most down to earth, fun and life loving individual that I have met. He left behind his wife Martha, and three children.  When we were in Puerto Rico, Tom could not stop talking about his wife and kids.  In February of 2001, Patrick had not been born and that is all Tom wanted to see was his baby boy to be born.

Tom’s body was never found.  It was said that it was pulverized by the shear weight of the tower coming down.  We buried Tom’s casket, it was loaded with 150 pounds of sand, in his hometown in Long Island, NY; with all of the firefighters, and Navy Sailors, that the city of New York could muster, to say good-bye to an ole friend, Sailor and Firefighter that gave his life to save others.

At the funeral, Martha handed me a 9/11 lapel pin that I wear to this day.  She also gave me one of his “Squad 1” patches that he wore on his uniform.  I have his patch placed in my Shadow box that my gun crew gave me when I retired. 

Each year I leave Tom a message on his funeral page to let him know that I think of him often. 

On June 26th, we will be reuniting our gun crew and the members of MIUW Unit-204 and come together with Tom’s family.  In our typical fashion, we will be having a roast for Tom and telling stories about each other.  I look forward to that day when I can see my crew again.  After twenty years it will be great to tell stories of a great friend and Brother.  It will be as if time stood still.

Fire and Water

Shared by Martha Obrien on April 17, 2021

Thomas Butler liked to say that in a former life, he must have been a pirate. You could not keep him off the water.

His life basically was fire and water. He was a firefighter with Squad 1 in Brooklyn, and he had a part-time job as the bay constable in Smithtown, N.Y.

The bay constable job allowed him to be out on the water a lot, and he was entranced by water and its calming effect.

Not that he needed calming down. He was the epitome of the laid-back man. "He was my rock," said his wife, Martha. "We'd get bills and they would give me ulcers, and he'd say, 'Don't worry about it, the bills will be there tomorrow.'"

In some respects, he could be too laid back. "The grass could grow six feet, and it didn't bother him," Mrs. Butler said. "I'd try to get him to do it, and he'd say, 'The grass'll be there tomorrow.'" 

Firefighter Butler, 37, lived in Kings Park, N.Y., with his wife and three children, Kelly, 4, Sean, 6, and Patrick, 6 months.

Patrick was christened on Sept. 9, and Firefighter Butler wanted to have a big party. Mrs. Butler was getting her usual ulcers about the cost. He insisted. He wanted to buy a suit for the occasion. Her reaction was, "Tom, do you really need a suit?" He got the suit. They had the party.

"I'm so glad we did it," Mrs. Butler said, "because everyone was there and everyone got to see Tom that last time."

Published in The Journal News on Nov. 12, 2001.