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Richard "Rusty" Butzen '92 April 11, 2023 4:25 PM updated: April 24, 2023 1:08 PM

Richard "Rusty" J. Butzen

November 1, 1964 - April 7, 2023

Rusty was born on November 1, 1964, in Fond du Lac Wisconsin, the second child of Richard "Dick" Butzen, Jr and Rose Marie Butzen. Dick and Rosie were so excited to welcome Rusty that they didn't even wait a full year after the birth of their first child and Rusty's only sister Theresa "Terri" Butzen Darr. He was so handsome and charming that Dick and Rosie tried to recreate the magic and had two more sons, Steven the following year and Michael a few years later.

Rusty grew up predominantly in Fond du Lac attending school at St. Louis and St. Patrick's Catholic schools and St. Mary's Springs Academy graduating in 1983. He also spent many days at the family cottage in Hancock WI, camping, fishing, boating, and much Tom Foolery that has been sworn to secrecy. He gave college a try but after 1 semester at Marion decided he needed a different challenge.
He joined the Army. Uncle Sam in his wisdom felt Rusty had the proper skill set to willingly jump out of perfectly good aircraft and so he became an Army Ranger. Rusty served honorably and achieved the rank of Sergeant.

After realizing that jumping out of airplanes is inherently foolish, he decided to give college another try. This time it stuck! Rusty received a bachelor's degree in Maritime Engineering from Texas A&M – Galveston in 1992. While at A&M he would make many new lifelong friends. He discovered a talent for Rugby and embraced all aspects of the game, both athletic and social. He loved "singing" in the bars after the games and the camaraderie of his teammates.

His senior year at A&M he also found a little red head from Texas he decided to take back to Wisconsin. Chrissy and Rusty met and fell in love aboard the training ship The Texas Clipper. After several years of dating, they were married in Alvin, Texas on Jan 14, 1995. Rusty then somehow tricked Chrissy into leaving Texas and moving to Wisconsin. They settled in Rusty's hometown of Fond du Lac.

While Chrissy was safely stowed at home surrounded by his brothers for protection, Rusty continued to travel around the world working aboard many different types of ships. He would always come home to Chrissy bringing souvenirs from all his travels. Twice he left Chrissy with something a little extra special and daughter Bridget and son Richard "Jake" were soon welcomed into the crew. After many years of life at sea and earning his Chief Engineer's license he permanently moored his vessel in Fond du Lac.

Chrissy and Rusty purchased their "little" retirement home in 2016 and Chrissy handed him the honey-do list she had been compiling for the last 20 years. He got right to work! Unfortunately, Rusty developed Parkinson's Disease which curtailed his ability to complete her list.

Rusty was an incredibly active man. He played rugby with the Galveston, Beaumont, Oshkosh, and Fond du Lac teams. He loved noon ball at the Y when he was home. He enjoyed winter sports and summer sports; spring sports and fall sports. Sports that he didn't play he would watch on TV. He played softball in the summer and bowled Wednesday nights with his dad and brothers in the Knights of Columbus league. He also enjoyed a good game of army golf- left, right, left...!

Rusty loved competing and was a notorious card counter. It was a risky proposition to sit next to Rusty as he was known to "peek" at his neighbor's cards, a skill he learned from his mother. He enjoyed boating and fishing, water skiing, and just being outdoors. He loved to lift weights and exercise.

Rusty was also a very faith filled man. He was a third-degree Knight of Columbus. He loved going to mass and was brilliant at dragging his sleepy family to church every Sunday.

His life was very full and all who knew him as blessed by his beautiful smile. He was not a man to speak a lot of words but when he did, they were always kind or funny or meant to be good for you.

Family absolutely was the most important thing to him, and friends were family. He was the absolute best Dad, a devoted husband, a true friend, a treasure.

We lost our dearest Rusty on Good Friday April 7th, 2023, after complications from Parkinson's. Being the faithful man he is, he decided to share the gift of life to others by being an organ donor.

Rusty will be dearly missed by his wife Chrissy; children Bridget Butzen, Richard "Jake" Butzen, and Daughter-in-law in training Chrissy U; sister Terri Darr; brothers Steven (Kaye) Butzen and Michael (Jen) Butzen; in-laws Kimberly (Marcus) Aguirre and Leslie (Jenny) Hock; nieces and nephews Hannah Darr, Erin Fitzpatrick (Jonathon), Collin (Alyssa) Fitzpatrick, Malaki Butzen, Justice Butzen, Marcus Jr, Mari Aguirre, Mateo Aguirre, Nikolia (Zack) Nickolas, Zack Hock, Chris Hock, Justin Hock, Gabriel Hock, Simon Hock, Christiana Hock; great niece and nephew Athena Fitzpatrick and Ambrose Nickolas; as well as adopted family and friends.

Rusty was preceded in death his parents, Dick and Rosie Butzen; uncles Paul Butzen, Peter Kramarczyk, George Kramarczyk; aunt Barbara Butzen; cousin Jeff Hall; and his grandparents.

Rusty's family invites friends and relatives to a time of visitation on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM at Zacherl Funeral Home. Visitation will continue Wednesday, April 12, 2023, from 9:00 AM until 9:45 AM at Holy Family Catholic Church in Fond du Lac. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated following the visitation at 10:00 AM. Burial will take place in Calvary Cemetery, Fond du Lac.

The family would like to extend their gratitude to the staff at SSM, nurses "Magic" Mike, Jillian, Ally, Breanna, Lisa, Kristine; Dr. Freeland and Dr. Wright; therapists Angela and Liz; paramedics, Fond du Lac Police and Fire Department for their heroic efforts to try and save him; and Racheal with UW Organ.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to UW Organ Donation, Knights of Columbus, and St. Mary Springs Academy.

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