Hildred “Hil” R. Butters

Published Dec 5, 2017 at 4:00pm

Hildred “Hil” R. Butters, 83, passed away on November 27, 2017 at Bethany Gardens, with his loving family at his side. He was born in Rome on September 24, 1934, the youngest child of the late Francis and Ethel Woodhouse Butters of Westernville. As a child, Hildred was educated in a one-room schoolhouse in Westernville, and he was a 1953 graduate of Holland Patent Central Schools. After graduation he enlisted in the United States Army, serving two years during the Korean Conflict. Following his military service, Hildred attended Utica College of Syracuse University, earning his Bachelor of Arts in Physics in 1961.

On November 5, 1955, Hildred married Jane Sykes in the Rome First United Methodist Church. They lived in Rome and were faithfully married for 61 years, until her death on January 1 of this year.

Hildred spent his entire professional career at Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome as a civilian engineer in the Rome Air Development Center, an integral member of the Air Force’s research and development team for ground electronics and intelligence systems. He was a long-time member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). While many people joke about being rocket scientists, Hil actually was one. While his skills and knowledge were vast and worldly, he chose to live a simple life, focused on being prepared for anything and taking great pride and pleasure in his family – especially his three children and his ever-growing brood of grandchildren. Hildred enjoyed golfing, gardening, fishing, tinkering, and watching Syracuse basketball; he loved a bargain; and he could always be counted on to know what the weather forecast was for any location his family lived in or visited. 

He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Randall and Loren Butters of Rome; two daughters and sons-in-law, Sherry and Mark Novelli of Bowling Green KY and Punta Gorda FL, and Karen and Stephen Pogge of Hopewell Junction NY; nineteen grandchildren, fifteen great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild; and a brother, Donald Butters of Sacramento CA. Hildred was predeceased by nine siblings and has several surviving nieces and nephews. Hildred shared a very special connection with his grandson, Tyler Butters, who became an unwavering daily presence in his life after the loss of Jane this January. 

A memorial service will be held on Friday, December 8, 2017 at 11 a.m. at Strong-Burns & Sprock Funeral Home, 7751 Merrick Road, Rome. Family and friends are invited to attend calling hours at the funeral home from 9:30 until 11 a.m. prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, and to honor Hildred’s strong support of educational pursuits, donations may be made in his memory to either Utica College Office of Advancement, 1600 Burrstone Rd., Utica NY 13502; or the Rome Academy of Sciences Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 211, Rome NY 13442-0211.