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Obituary: Sidney Butler

Sidney Butler, 92, died on July 29, 2009 at the home of his daughter Ruth Butler Harper in Dorchester, NH. Mr. Butler was born May 12, 1917 in Lady Frere in South Africa, the son of Sidney Evan Gordon Butler and Laura Turner Butler. He resided in Oyster Bay for almost 40 years (1947-1986).

He attended St. Andrews College in Grahamstown, South Africa and began his international banking career with Barclays Bank in 1934. During WWII he served as a captain in the 8th British Army in North Africa. Captured at Tobruk, he spent 1,000 days as a prisoner of war. After demobilization in 1945, he resumed his banking career and was an officer of JP Morgan and Morgan Guaranty Trust Company in New York. In 1969 he opened an office in Hong Kong for Morgan Guaranty and he also headed the Sterling area division for the bank. In 1972 he returned to New York as an international liaison officer for the bank, working with the United Nations.

While living in New York, he was a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Cold Spring Harbor where he served on the Vestry. An avid tennis player, he played every weekend at the Cove Neck Tennis Court where he was on the board and later its chairman. He supported Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, MA, becoming president of its board of trustees. His sets of bird paintings and prints were extensive as was his collection of sea shells from all over the world. After he retired, he discovered an interest in genealogy and became president of the Butler Society of North America, attending several Butler rallies in Kilkenny, Ireland.

Most of all he valued family. He was predeceased by his loving wife of 58 years, the former Aileen Sedgwick Taylor of New York, by his sister, Joan Viedge and by his son-in-law Robert Ferrier. He is survived by two sons, Thorne Butler and Colin Butler, two daughters, Laura Butler Ferrier and Ruth Butler Harper, Thorne’s wife Kelly, Colin’s wife Eileen, Ruth’s husband Daniel, 21 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, two great, great-grandchildren, his brother Dr. Pieter Butler, his sister, Ruth Hoogenhout and the Rowley family.

A memorial service will be conducted by The Rev. Angela Rowley, whom Aileen and Sidney considered a daughter, and The Rev. David Ware, Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Cold Spring Harbor, at St. John’s on Oct. 10 at 4 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Ministries, PO Box 976, White River Junction, VT 05001.