Cover photo for Albert Anthony Butkus's Obituary
Albert Anthony Butkus Profile Photo
1929 Albert 2021

Albert Anthony Butkus

1929 — July 4, 2021

On 4th of July, firework displays all over Waukegan neighborhoods seemed an appropriate send-off for a very patriotic, proud veteran of the Korean War to his new heavenly home. Albert Anthony Butkus, 92, enjoyed life immensely--Cubs games, bicycling, swimming, putting together model ships, accordion playing, cribbage every Tuesday at Park Place Senior Center, gardening, landscaping, and building a beautiful home. Memorable family outings include swimming in Lake Michigan and Paddock Lake, as well as long bicycle trips to Evanston south, to Milwaukee north, and the famous Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail. The Northshore Bike Path east of our home was a favorite for shorter jaunts. But staying in a cabin by Little St. Germain Lake in June, 1964, was perhaps our all-time favorite family vacation. He was born on June 28, 1929, in Waukegan to Anthony and Genevieve (White) Butkus. Al grew up at 818 George Ave (previously River View Place) and graduated from St. Bart's in 1943 and Waukegan High School in 1947. He attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Al enlisted in the Navy after a fun Labor Day 1950 weekend fishing trip with brother Charlie, future brother-in-law John Guokas, and neighbor friend Ed Skarbalis. He served in the Navy during the Korean War 1950-53 on a destroyer escort ship (USS Hanna DE 449). The USS Hanna was engaged in the last Korean War sea battle, suffering only one casualty. After working as an electrician at the Great Lakes Naval Base for 40 years, he enjoyed annual reunion trips around the country with the Destroyer Escort and Tin Can Sailor organizations through 2017. Al married Emily Guokas on June 4, 1955, at St. Mary's Church in Kenosha. They entertained 550 guests at the Lithuanian Hall on 8th Street and Mom's parents provided fresh sausage from their farm for the family-style dinner. The Lithuanian sausage was so good that while they packed leftovers in the car trunk the sausage, at some point, mysteriously disappeared. No thieves were caught, but local tavern patrons nearby were highly suspect! Accordionist Rudy Hodnik provided much loved waltz and polka music for 3 hours; then, after passing the hat around, persuaded the band to play an extra hour until midnight. Al loved to build! As a young boy and teen ager he, his brother Charlie, and neighbor friend Charles Vasilius built a raft that actually carried them down a nearby ravine creek and hammered together a couple of clubhouses that boasted electrical power, bunk beds, and a hot plate for cooking. Free lumber and bent nails they hammered straight were found down the street in a ravine that, at the time, was a construction materials dump. They also fashioned a bobsled that his dad pulled with a rope attached to the family car through the gravel snow-packed roads around St. Bart's Church to the cheers of parishioners leaving a late morning mass and the frantic screams of his mother chasing them. Reliving that particular memory always brought uncontrollable laughter and joyful tears to his eyes. Later in life he built a beautiful brick, ranch home with the help of his dad and cousin Danny. He recalled the fall of 1955 had little rain and the winter following not much snow, enabling them to work on the house September, 1955 to the first week in November, 1956 almost every day after work and most weekends. Al landscaped the property with a variety of trees and evergreens. Our dad also crafted a picket fence to enclose the large backyard to protect us kids from the very busy Lewis Avenue. The exact dimensions are unknown, but he recalled digging 23 posts with 15 to 25 pickets between each pair. Within that backyard he constructed a sturdy playhouse that still stands today as a storage shed. His woodworking skills also produced a small yellow wagon he used to haul all his gardening tools and pull us kids behind his Cub Cadet lawn mower all over the orchard and open fields around our home. He even put together a tall multi-unit purple martin "apartment" to house our feathered friends. He also loved to garden. Mom took care of pretty flowers around the house and Dad cultivated a large vegetable garden behind the backyard--a variety, but grew enough green and wax beans that we froze and tomatoes that we canned to last all fall, winter, and into the next spring. With Mom's famous apple pies also occupying the freezer, our supper meals were always nutritious and delicious. Dad also experimented with different recipes that transformed cucumbers into flavorful, crunchy pickles. When inclement weather limited outdoor activities, Dad picked up his accordion and played a few tunes or joined in a game of pool in the basement with us kids. He also had a passion with wooden ship kits and built 24 of them during his retirement years! Many were taken to the Manitowoc Maritime Museum during annual contests and 3 were even displayed one year recently in the Children's Department at the Waukegan Public Library. Through his mid-eighties he bicycled around town and swam at the Y on Western Ave several times a week. Of course, many trips to the pool were made by bicycle. Dad is predeceased by his parents, Tony (1992) and Gen (1995); also, our mom, Emily (2006) and his lifelong buddies: brother Charlie (2018), cousin Danny (2013), and brother-in-law John Guokas (2009). He leaves behind his 3 kids who had so much fun with him, Linda, Ed, and Frank, all of Lake County. So many happy memories--we'll miss you, Dad! Funeral services will be on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 at Our Lady of Humility Church, 10655 W. Wadsworth Road, Beach Park. Wake will be from 10:00- 11:00 with mass following before going to Ascension Cemetery for graveside services.
To send flowers to the family in memory of Albert Anthony Butkus, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass of Christian Burial

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Guestbook

Visits: 4

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Send a Gift

Send a Gift