Joseph Wheeler Butler II, of Carrabelle, passed away at the age of 89 on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 of respiratory illness.
He was born Jan. 21, 1928 in Camilla, Georgia to John Clifton Butler and Evelyn Leigh Radford Butler of Camilla. He was preceded in death by his first wife of 46 years, Emily (Puddin) Burnett Butler, and his second wife of 13 years, Maxine Sanborn Putnal Butler. He was a lifelong Methodist.
He attended the University of Georgia, graduating in 1948 with a bachelor of science degree in economics and with a U. S. Army Cavalry Commission. He was a member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity. He served briefly in the U. S. Navy at the end of World War II and after graduation from UGA, served in the local National Guard as a lieutenant in the Cavalry.
He worked the family business, Butler Grocery Company, before moving to the Butler Farm in Camilla, Georgia. He farmed full-time until 1965 when he became a bank examiner with the State of Georgia until 1970. In 1971, when he was 43 years old, he, with other local businessmen, founded Gulf State Community Bank in Carrabelle. He served as its president and CEO until his retirement in 2004.
In 2002, he was recognized by the Georgia Forestry Commission as a certified forest steward of the State of Georgia. He was the fourth-generation farmer on this land and the first in his family to build a homestead on farm now named Forest Lodge Farms in Mitchell County.
As an only child, he leaves no siblings and is survived by three sons and daughters-in-law; John [Cliff] Clifton Butler II [Denise Dosal], Joseph Wheeler Butler, Jr. [Brenda Holley] and David King Butler [Eugenia Douglas]; his five grandchildren, Blair Putz [David], Erin Hess [James], Holly Mentor [Joe], Andrew Butler and Lizzie Butler; and four great-grandchildren, Ryan Putz, Ethan Putz, Malcolm Hess and Georgia Hess. The grands and great-grands all adored their Papa Joe.
Per his wishes, no funeral service will be held. A private family graveside gathering will occur at a future date in the Oakview Cemetery in Camilla, Georgia.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Big Bend Hospice, 1723 Mahan Center Blvd, Tallahassee, FL 32308 or in his memory to a charity of your choice.