* KFVS TV…
Former Marion, Illinois mayor, Bob Butler, passed away at 9:30 a.m. Monday, April 22, according to the City of Marion.
Emeritus Robert L. Butler, 92, was one of the longest-serving mayors in the United States. He retired from office on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 and Anthony Rinella succeeded him.
We talked to him in 2018 about his retirement. He said longevity brings consistency.
“I want to be remembered by one who did his best. I’ve tried to do the best I could at the greater interest of the people in Marion,” he said.
Former Mayor Anthony Rinella said the irony is that if he had served his whole term, Monday would have been his last day and Mike Absher would be sworn in.
* WSIL TV…
In 2015, he was presented with the Lifetime of Service award from the Illinois Municipal League.
“He was a good friend of mine. I confided in him a lot, especially when I was mayor of Harrisburg,” said Sen. Dale Fowler, (R-Harrisburg). “I’m saddened but so respectful of his service.
Several southern Illinois legislators and community leaders reacted Monday to news of Butler’s death.
West Frankfort Mayor Tom Jordan told News 3, “He was the consummate mayor. If you looked up mayor in the dictionary, his picture would probably be there.”
Butler first took office in May of 1963. When he retired, he was the second-longest serving mayor in the United States. He was the longest serving mayor in the state of Illinois.
Butler’s death comes on the same day Mike Absher is to take the oath of office and be sworn in as the new Marion mayor. Absher won the April 2nd election, beating Anthony Rinella, who had served as Acting Mayor since Butler’s retirement.
* Marion Republican…
Butler was the driving force behind the city’s west end development and Marion’s rebirth following the devastation of the 1982 tornado.
Butler said that once the city was back on firm ground financially, it was just a matter of enhancing an already good product. “I never dreamed of having a cultural and civic center like we have today or a top-notch recreational facility like the Hub or a gathering place like the Pavilion,” he said.
“In the back of my mind, I knew something good could happen here … as long as we didn’t stand in our own way.”
He was also a delegate to the state’s constitutional convention.
* Former Marion Mayor Bob Butler died Monday at 92. Here are 90 facts about Butler, who was mayor for more than 50 years.