In Memory of…

Dr. Donald Butkus
Donald E. Butkus, M.D.

Donald E. Butkus, M.D., 76, died February 2, 2011, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Dr. Butkus was born October 9, 1934, in Binghamton, New York, the son of the late John G. Butkus, M.D. and Mary Koval Butkus. He served as a U.S. Army physician for 30 years and was a veteran of the Vietnam War. Dr Butkus retired from Walter Reed Army Medical Center at the rank of Colonel.

He was a professor of medicine, specializing in nephrology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center until his retirement in 2003. Dr. Butkus advanced the understanding of kidney disease and cared for many people with advanced kidney failure and kidney transplants.

-Clarion Ledger (excerpt)

The passing of Don Butkus will sadden many communities in addition to our woodcarving group. Although his illness hampered his ability to carve in any great detail, he was absolutely dedicated in his enthusiasm for the craft. He was also a great supported of military veterans. When we were doing the veterans canes a couple of years back, Don was an active participant. He turned in about a dozen of the canes to be presented to disabled Mississippi veterans. Because of his handicap, some of the cane heads were not able to be presented; however, we always touched them up a bit and sent them on to the veterans. The club received several letters of appreciation for his fine work on the cane project. He was a good guy.
-Joe Hunt

Some “old timers” may remember Don Butkus who attended Pearl River Woodcarvers guild meetings for several years a number of years back. He was a quiet, humble man. I was blessed to have gotten one of his carvings at a Christmas ornament exchange.

-Patty Fultz

Ralph Breazeale

Ralph BreazealeOver time, the Pearl River Woodcarvers have lost some dear friends and members. Among those, Ralph Whitman Breazeale, 81, passed away Wednesday, May 14, 2008. Mr. Breazeale was born August 15, 1926 in Sunflower County, MS. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and retired from the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol in 1981 after 26.5 years of service. He was a long and faithful member of the Pearl River Woodcarvers Guild, Gideons International, and in World Changers and the Southern Baptist Convention Emergency Response Teams, including 9/11 efforts in New York City. Mr. Breazeale also served on numerous mission trips to Mexico and Honduras and was a member and Deacon at First Baptist Church Terry. Among his fellow woodcarvers, Mr. Breazeale will be remembered as a warm and friendly person who made the world a better place.

Jerry Rees

Jerry Rees
On September 7, 2007, Pearl River Woodcarvers lost a dear friend and faithful member. Jerry Rees went home to be with the Lord after a brief hospital stay. Jerry had several health difficulties, including diabetes, and often came to meetings in spite of not feeling well. Jerry wasn’t a man who complained, so because of his pleasant demeanor, unless one asked, one wouldn’t know what he was going through.

Besides the support of his presence at the meetings, Jerry was willing to haul the club vacuum cleaner back and forth, encourage new carvers, and serve as an officer (vice president). He did a marvelous job as annual show chair, teacher of beginner carving classes and soap-carving teacher. Pearl River Woodcarvers sent Jerry’s wife, Lelar, a fall wreath which is appropriate to be hung on a door. Joe Hunt, George Berry, Don Butkus, James Buie and Danny Fultz attended the visitation and Harry Barkley and Danny attended the funeral to provide support. We will miss Jerry tremendously.