As with any business, it's the people that set one company apart from another. The associates at Butler Funeral Homes & Cremation Tribute Center have dedicated themselves to serving the families of this community for more than a century. Jack and Chris Butler CFSP, along with their professional staff, are committed to the high standards of the funeral service profession and the leadership in advancing those standards. Because of their focus in their role as sustained caregivers, the associates of Butler Funeral Homes & Cremation Tribute Center have earned the continued trust of the families in this community.
Executive Vice President, Licensed Funeral Director
Jack Butler was born in Taylorville, IL and lived in Morrisonville, IL until he was 6, when his parents, Bernard and Irene Butler, moved with their two sons to Springfield. It was during World War II, and his father worked for the State Highway Department; his mother was a homemaker. A third son, Patrick, and a daughter, Mary Kay were born several years later. Bernard joined the firm in the early 1940s, having been recruited by Harold P. Butler, Bernard's brother and owner of the funeral home. Bernard died in 1954, and Harold hired Jack who was by then a junior in high school (Cathedral Boys High - later Griffin and now Sacred Heart-Griffin). Jack served two years in the U.S. Army after high school, and then enrolled at Springfield Junior College (now Benedictine University), and subsequently graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 1960.
Harold Butler died in 1963, and the funeral home was purchased by Jack, his brother Jerry, Leonard Berry and Jack McCarthy in 1965. Jack McCarthy died in 1966; Leonard Berry retired in 1974 and died in 1994. Jerry Butler retired in 1993 and died in 1999.
The "Butler" name was incorporated into the name of the firm in 1972. Jack's sister, Mary Kay Butler Harrelson, joined the firm in 1979 and served for many years as a Family Service Director and Advance Planning Specialist at Butler Funeral Homes.
Jack married Springfield native and Sacred Heart Academy (now Sacred Heart-Griffin High School) graduate Janice Skube in 1959. They are parents of four children: Deanna (Terry) Griffin of Inverness, IL, Julie Gallagher of St. Louis, MO and Chris, who is now President of Butler Funeral Homes & Cremation Tribute Center. An infant daughter May Ann died shortly after birth. There are five grandchildren: Kevin and Courtney Griffin, Erin and Kaitlin Gallagher, and Camilla Butler.
Jack is also active in funeral service and has served the profession in various capacities, including Regional Director for the Illinois Funeral Directors Association. He is a member of Selected Independent Funeral Homes (SIFH), an association if independently-owned and operated funeral homes, as well as state chairman for the International Order of the Golden Rule, an association of independently owned and operated funeral homes and the Cremation Association of North America.
He is a member of St. Agnes Parish, the St. Agnes Holy Name Society, the American Business Club, Elks Lodge 158, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Catholic War Veterans, Bishop Griffin Assembly 4th Degree Knights of Columbus and Knight of Columbus Council 4179, the Peter F. Rossiter Chapter of the Sons and Daughters of Erin, and served on the Alumni Advisory Board of Sacred Heart-Griffin High School. He is a Foundation board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Springfield, as well as a past board member of the United Way of Central Illinois.
He is a member of Illini Country Club, Island Bay Yacht Club and the Sangamo Club in Springfield. He enjoys spending time with his grandchildren, working in his yard, boating, golf and travel.
Chris Butler, CFSP
President, Licensed Funeral Director
Chris Butler, CFSP, was born in Springfield, IL and is a graduate of Christ the King Grade School, Griffin High School, Springfield College in Illinois, the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, Forest Park Mortuary Science Program in St. Louis, MO, and the National Foundation of Funeral Service School of Management. Chris is an active participant in many funeral service organizations including Selected Independent Funeral Homes, International Cemetery, Cremation, and Funeral Association, and various other educational organizations, and has served in various office capacities for several funeral service organizations.
Chris is also active in the Springfield community, and is currently a member of Christ the King parish, Knights of Columbus Council 4179, Knights of Columbus 4th Degree Bishop Griffin Assembly, American Business Club (past Board Member and past President), and is an Ambassador of Hope for the Hope Institute for Children and Families. Chris also served as a past Board Member for the American Cancer Society, past Chairman of the Business Drive for Springfield College in Illinois, past Division Chairman for the United Way of Central Illinois, and past Ambassador and current member of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. He also previously served as a member of the St. John's Hospital Advisory Council and served on the Renovation Committee for the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Chris has also has been active with Downtown Springfield, Inc. and is a current member. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln and St. Patrick’s Grade School. An advocate for animals, Chris is also glad to be a supporter of the Animal Protective League. In 2013, Chris and Butler Funeral Homes were honored by the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce with the Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award.
Chris is the President of Butler Funeral Homes & Cremation Tribute Center, and serves as CEO and COO. He helped form the funeral home continued care program that now includes the "Holiday Help" program, designed to assist families during the holidays and other significant days. He founded the Butler Cremation Tribute Center in 2000, and started the Pet Services Division for the Cremation Center. Most recently, Chris has expanded the Butler organization to include McCullough-Delaney Butler Funeral Home in New Berlin (2005) and Roselawn Memorial Park (2007) and plans to make short and long term renovations to help preserve this beautiful and historic cemetery. In addition, the Park plans include making available more options for memorialization following cremation, a natural burial area, and a Pet Burial Cemetery adjacent to the current cemetery.
Chris and his wife Val, who serves as the Communications and Marketing Coordinator for the organization, enjoy working in their yard, traveling, and spending time with their daughters, Camilla & Audra, and dogs, Turney, Millie, and Pearl. Pearl serves as a Certified Grief Comfort Dog for the Butler organization. They also miss dearly their dog Pippen and cat Jordan, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Chris is glad to be a life-long resident of the Springfield community and also enjoys the spirit that is present in each of the communities served by Butler Funeral Homes & Cremation Tribute Center and Roselawn Memorial Park.
Director of Operations
Zack Wilson was born in Danville, IL and lived all of his childhood in Chrisman, IL where he farmed with his family. He attended and graduated from Chrisman High School in 1994. Zack then attended college in Danville, IL before moving to Vincennes, IN to work for a funeral home and attend Mortuary College. He received an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science from Vincennes University. Zack worked in funeral service in Vincennes for five years before joining the staff of Butler Funeral Homes & Cremation Tribute Center in December of 1999. Zack is a Licensed Funeral Director, Certified Cremation Specialist, and Celebrant. He also serves as the Director of Operations for all of the Butler family organizations.
Zack and his wife Katie, who serves as Senior Licensed Funeral Director for the organization, live in Chatham with their daughter and two dogs. He is a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus Council #364 in Springfield.
Zack has enjoyed living in Central Illinois and the people that he has had the opportunity to serve. He looks forward to serving the community for years to come.
Katie Mendenhall Wilson
Senior Licensed Funeral Director
Katie Mendenhall Wilson was born in Springfield, IL, the daughter of Ken and Joy Mendenhall. She spent most of her life in the New Berlin and Pleasant Plains area. Katie is a 1999 graduate of Pleasant Plains High School and Capital Area Career Center in Health Occupations and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Sciences majoring in Mortuary Science and Funeral Service at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL in 2004. Katie has worked in the funeral service profession since 1999.
Katie is a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Springfield, the Sangamon County 4-H Foundation, and serves as a Director for the Sangamon County Fair Board.
Katie and her husband, Zack Wilson, live in Chatham with their daughter and two dogs. She enjoys camping, playing softball, showing cattle, reading, and spending time with her family, friends, and animals. Katie proudly joined the Butler Funeral Homes team in July of 2006 and looks forward to continuing to assist area families and growing professionally for years to come.
Brandi Q. Noel Klughart
Brandi Q. Noel Klughart was raised in Bishop Hill, IL. She attended and graduated from Galva High School in Galva, IL in 1997. Brandi then attended college in Lincoln, IL before transferring to Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, IL to attend Mortuary College. She received an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science from Carl Sandburg College in 2000. Brandi previously worked in funeral service in Central Illinois and Central Missouri before joining the staff of Butler Funeral Homes & Cremation Tribute Center in January of 2011.Brandi is a Licensed Funeral Director, Certified Cremation Specialist, and Celebrant. She enjoys spending her free time with her family and friends—especially her husband, Charles, his daughter, Olivia, and her only niece, Sofia. Assisting with the homeless is a cause that is very near to her heart. Brandi received the Heart of a Hero Award from the American Red Cross in 2009 for her work with the less fortunate. She takes pride in creating meaningful, personalized ceremonies that honor and reflect each individual’s unique character.
Keith Ham, a native of Bushnell, Illinois, has been a licensed funeral director and embalmer for more than 25 years. A graduate of Southern Illinois University Mortuary Science Program, he also holds degrees from Western Illinois University and has practiced as a licensed nurse. He has served as a funeral director and embalmer in his home town at Martin-Hollis Funeral Home, as well as at Hoffmeister Mortuary in St. Louis and Parker Funeral Service in Columbia, MO. He enjoys restoring furniture, reading and when possible spending time with family. He recently joined the staff at Butler Funeral Homes and looks forward to assisting them in continuing their strong tradition of exceptional service to the families they serve.
Licensed Funeral Director
Porcelain E. Rollins joined the Butler Funeral Homes team in June 2012 to pursue her dream of becoming a Licensed Funeral Director. She and her daughter moved to Springfield from a small town near Pittsburgh, PA. Porcelain is a graduate of the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, where she earned a diploma as a Funeral Director and Embalmer and an associate’s degree in Funeral Home Management. Most recently, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Science with a concentration in Business and a minor in Psychology from Point Park University in downtown Pittsburgh.
Porcelain enjoys spending time with her daughter, cooking, reading, and working out. She is honored to serve families in Springfield, New Berlin and the surrounding areas and looks forward to becoming a vital part of the Butler Funeral Homes organization.
Carissa Thai Switzer
Funeral Director Apprentice
Carissa grew up in Milford, PA and graduated from Delaware Valley High School in 2008. After a short duration in the United States Navy, she attended Sussex County Community College. Carissa then moved to Pittsburgh to attend Mortuary School at the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science where she received her diploma, an associate’s degree in Specialized Business, and a Cremation Operators Certificate. She then continued her education, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Science with a minor in Psychology from Point Park University. While at school, she worked in security for the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Carissa joined the Butler Funeral Homes team in 2013 where she serves as a Funeral Director Apprentice and Certified Cremation Specialist.
Cheryl Garvin was born and raised in Springfield, IL; the daughter of Jerry and Mary Garvin. Cheryl is a graduate of St. Patrick’s Grade School and Sacred Heart Academy and as a member of the Blazer volleyball squad; Cheryl returned to St. Patrick’s as a volunteer volleyball coach and assisted the SHG Club teams.
Cheryl earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Accountancy from the University of Illinois in Springfield. She joined the staff of Butler Funeral Homes in June 2011 as Controller, after working several years in the accounting and funeral industry with Federated Funeral Directors. She is a member of Cathedral Parish, the IL CPA Society and AICPA; and volunteers for the American Cancer Society where she holds the position of Accounting Chair for the Sangamon County Relay for Life.
Cheryl currently resides in Chatham, IL with her companion Erik Wilson, where they share their home with two loving cats (Zinger and Bizbo). In her spare time, Cheryl is found with her family watching her nieces and nephews participate in their chosen extra-curricular activities and traveling to South Bend, IN to watch the Fighting Irish!
Chris Daniels was born in Springfield and raised in Chatham, Illinois. He joined Butler Funeral Homes in September of 2012 as an Accounting Bookkeeper. He graduated from Glenwood High school and continued his education at Lincoln Land Community College. There, he earned his associate’s degree in Applied Science. Chris also attended the University of Illinois at Springfield and graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Accounting in 2012. He is currently working towards his master’s degree.
Chris volunteers for the Appalachian Service Project and enjoys helping others out. He has received management training from Darden Restaurants and has enjoyed being a server for the company for several years. Chris is also a member of the Student Accounting Society (SAS) at the University of Illinois.
He enjoys playing basketball, watching football, working out, and spending time with his friends and family. Additionally, he likes to take his dog Oreo (Siberian Husky) and Oreo’s best friend Jade (Boxer) for walks. He also appreciates being able to volunteer his time at Lincoln Memorial Gardens as a grounds worker.
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Val (Friedrich) Butler joined the staff of Butler Funeral Homes in 2005 as a Family Service Director and Advance Planning Specialist. In 2006, she was given the opportunity to begin serving as the Communications & Marketing Director.
Val was born in Springfield, IL and graduated from Southeast High School. She attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Communications, specializing in Public Relations. She has also attended the University of Illinois at Springfield, working towards her Master's Degree in Communications, focusing on Interpersonal and Organizational Systems.
Val has worked for several local non-profit organizations in the areas of marketing, public relations, and fundraising. She is currently a member of the Public Relations Society of America, the National Communication Association and St. John’s Lutheran Church. She also serves on the Leadership Councils at both St. John’s Hospital and the Hope Institute for Children and Families.
Val also served as a Combat Medical Specialist in the Illinois Army National Guard for nearly 8 years, providing healthcare services to both fellow soldiers and to international populations in Central and South America via military humanitarian aid efforts.
Val is married to Chris Butler and, together, they have two beautiful girls, Camilla and Audra. They are also “pet parents” to three dogs: Turney, Millie, and Pearl, who serves as a Grief Comfort Dog for the Butler organization. They also miss terribly their dog, Pippen, and cat, Jordan, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Val’s interests include spending time with family, writing, traveling, and volunteering.
Judy Woerner was born in Evanston, IL and raised in Westmont, IL, the daughter of Richard and Dorla Ellis. She graduated from Downers Grove South High School and then attended Blackburn College in Carlinville, IL. It was there that she would meet her husband Thornton. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 1990, she and Thornton moved to Eugene, OR where she took classes towards a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management.
Before joining the staff at Butler as Certified Celebrant in 2011, Judy served in several positions with various not-for-profit organizations throughout Springfield and owned her own bath and body products company, which she ran out of her home.
She and her family now reside in Chatham with their son Patrick and daughters Rachel and Alison, along with dog Millie and cats Ozzie and Mabel. Judy is an active member of Chatham Presbyterian Church, where Thornton is Director of Worship Arts. She is involved in the children’s programming at church and has served as Vacation Bible School Director for many years. She loves watching baseball, especially the St. Louis Cardinals and has volunteered for many years with the Springfield Ballet Company where her daughter danced.
Cremation Tribute Center and Funeral Service Associate
Jay Edgecomb joined Butler Funeral Homes in October of 2002 as a Pet Services Associate, courier and Funeral Service Associate. Jay currently serves as the Cremation Tribute Center Funeral Service Associate. His responsibilities include operating and maintaining the Cremation Tribute Center, as well as a separate crematory dedicated exclusively to pet cremation. Jay was born and raised in Springfield. He is a graduate of Springfield High School and earned an Associate of Arts degree at Lincoln Land Community College. He was a theatrical stagehand for many years and active with the Springfield Muni Opera. Jay managed First Night for the Springfield Area Arts Council for several years and continues to actively support the arts in Springfield. Jay is married to Claire and they have two sons, Jim and Paul.
Operations Administration Specialist
Christina Tebrugge was born in Evansville, IN and moved to Springfield, IL after graduating from Waverly High School. She received an Associate’s degree from Lincoln Land Community College and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois—Springfield in History. Christina joined the staff of Butler Funeral Homes in 2009 as an Operations Administration Specialist. Before coming to Butler, Christina worked as an administrative assistant for 7 years at a local engineering firm. Christina spent 16 wonderful years married to Steven Tebrugge before he passed away in January, 2008 and has a daughter, Natalie. She enjoys spending time and playing with her daughter, reading, swimming and watching movies. Christina and Natalie also share our home with three cats, Vader, Anakin and Luminara and a dog, Clara.
Operations Administration Specialist
Stephanie Talbott joined the staff at Butler Funeral Homes in 2010 as an Operations Administrative Specialist. In 2011, she was given the opportunity to serve as the Lead Operations Administrative Specialist.
Stephanie was born in Odell and graduated from Pontiac Township High School. She attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a specialty in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. She is a member of the Springfield Young Professionals Network and has volunteered for the Special Olympics.
Stephanie enjoys spending time with her dog, Jersey and had fond memories of her dog Maggie, who has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Her interests include playing volleyball and softball, working in her yard, cooking out and spending time with friends and family.
Mike Haldeman was born in California and moved to St. Charles MO, where he graduated and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1978. Mike retired from the U.S. Army and shortly thereafter began his career in the Cemetery and Funeral Home business. He has held many positions including Market General Manager, Director of Operations, and Regional Manager, and worked as a supplier for Cemetery and Funeral Home supplies across the United States and Puerto Rico. Mike found a home at Roselawn Memorial Park in 2009, where he currently serves as the Director of Cemetery Operations. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Home Association. Mike has five children and four grandchildren which are his world and keep him very busy.
Clada Parker was born in Charleston, IL and was raised in Chatham, IL. She is a graduate of Chatham Glenwood High School and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing with a minor in Art from Eastern Illinois University. Clada joined the staff of Roselawn Memorial Park in January of 2010. She brings forth knowledge of both the funeral and cemetery industry having previously worked for the International Order of the Golden Rule (OGR), a not-for-profit membership organization of independent, family-owned funeral homes throughout North America and overseas. Clada provides administrative support for Roselawn Memorial Park as well as caring, compassionate customer service and sales support to all families she serves. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, working in her yard, traveling, art, attending church, and helping those less fortunate.
Family Service Director and Advance Planning Specialist
Dan joined Butler Funeral Homes in March 2009 and currently serves as a Family Service Director and Advance Planning Specialist. Dan was born in Lawrenceville, IL and raised in Decatur, IL. He served in the United States Navy for 8 years in Port Hueneme, CA and Pearl Harbor, HI and attended Hawaii Pacific University. Dan joined the financial service arena in 1993 as an insurance and investment producer with Citigroup. He was promoted to Regional Vice President of Sales and Marketing and served in this position from 1994-2003. He has also held management positions with Charles Schwab and Chase Bank as a producer/manager.
Dan lived in Hawaii for 13 years where he met his wife Ima. He and his family reside in Springfield with their son Drew and daughters Taylor and Morgan. They are active members at Westside Christian Church in Springfield where they have been teaching 3rd & 4th grade children’s ministry for several years. Dan is 32nd Degree Master Mason with Springfield Masonic Lodge #4. He enjoys golf and fishing, but most of all loves being a husband and father to his family.
Advance Planning & Continued Care Administrative Assistant
Bev Hoffman joined Butler Funeral Homes in January of 2003, after working for 30 years at the Illinois Department of Public Aid in a variety of capacities—from caseworker to senior public service administrator. Bev is active in the Cathedral Parish as a Lector and Eucharistic Minister. She has served as the Treasurer and President of the Cathedral Council of Catholic Women and as the Secretary-Treasurer of the National Council of Catholic Women, Chicago Province. She completed the two-year Lay Ministry Program through the Springfield Diocese, specializing in Pastoral Care, and is a graduate of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce Leadership Springfield Program. Bev volunteers in the Pastoral Care program at Memorial Medical Center, as well as the Pregnancy Care Center, Helping Hands Homeless Shelter and the Friends of Athens Library. Bev enjoys family, working in her yard, reading and travel. She is married to Larry and has one son Matt, daughter-in-law Jamie, and grandchildren Destiny and Zach.
Mary Kay Butler-Harrelson
Mary Kay Butler-Harrelson served for more than 30 years as an integral part of Butler Funeral Homes and Cremation Tribute Center. Joining her family’s business in 1979, Mary Kay participated in the planning and organization of corporate and business affairs, program management, staff leadership, and daily business operations. In 1995, Mary Kay began her 15-year career as an Advance Planning Specialist and Family Service Director—a career which she devoted herself to and enjoyed immensely. On May 16, 2010, Mary Kay lost her courageous battle with cancer. Her compassion, humor, and spirit remain an important part of the Butler organization.
Please click here to view Mary Kay’s on-line life story and guest book.
Ralph Blissett served for more than 35 years as the Maintenance Director for Butler Funeral Homes. His duties at Butler Funeral Homes included the maintenance of the buildings, grounds, and automobiles. The beautiful flowers and immaculate grounds were always a result of Ralph's care. With a building more than 100 years old and grounds occupying over four city lots, Ralph's skills and talents were tested on a daily basis. Yet, he came to know every inch, nook, and cranny of our 1868 Victorian Mansion and treated it like his own home. We miss his dedication, his unmistakable personality, and his friendship. Please click here to view Ralph’s online life story and guest book.