Cover photo for Daniel R. Butler Iii's Obituary
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Daniel R. Butler Iii

Daniel R. Butler, 70, died peacefully at home on July 30, 2020. He was born in Columbus, Ohio to Daniel Robert (II) and Jeanne (Huber) Butler. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University, followed by an M.S. Degree from University of Oklahoma.


Dan was proud to say he was an aquatic biologist. Most of his career was with the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, enjoying field work and eventually as Director of the Water Quality Division. Dan was the architect of many of the programs that are core to the Commission’s mission, emphasizing statewide stream monitoring and data collection, as well as education, at a time when neither was a focus. He was known for creating partnerships with other agencies within and beyond Oklahoma, farmers, volunteer groups, and cities and tribes to improve the stream waters across our state.


The adventure began in 1973 when Dan met, and a couple of days later, impulsively invited Rachel to go to Alaska with him. They moved to Norman, Oklahoma for graduate school, and bought a piece of land. For forty years Dan watched with joy the changes on that land. Road trips and camping were shared delights. He loved ideas and sharing interesting tidbits of all sorts. He enjoyed everything outside-walking around and observing, even mowing and weeding. He loved to teach and share the joy of the woods with everyone. He was a great partner and friend.


Dan is survived by his wife Rachel (Coppock) Butler, brother Lawrence L. Butler and sister-in-law Ruthann Hall of Washington state, sister Laura (Butler) Frank of Massachusetts, and special aunt Joan Huber and cousins Nancy and Steve Rytina. Russ Dutnell was a special friend. Dan had a mind meld with his beloved dog Bieder.


Dan always tried to do good for the long term for Oklahoma streams and land. He was a mentor who had a positive impact on many lives. He had a devious nature, to be sure, but a kind and compassionate spirit, and seemed to know everything about the natural world and loved to share his knowledge. He taught his brother-in-law it was okay to drink cold coffee that had spent the day in a vehicle. There was never a dull moment around Dan.


We want to thank Dr. K, people in the Norman Parkinson’s and Loud Crowd groups, Valir Hospice, as well as Visiting Angels Halie and LaTevia for their wonderful care and support through the end part of Dan’s life with Parkinson’s and Lewy Body dementia in this COVID time.


No service is planned at this time.


Gifts in honor of Dan may be made to the Oklahoma Nature Conservancy’s Tulsa office at 10425 S. 82nd E. Avenue, Suite 104, Tulsa, OK 74133. Online gifts made through the Oklahoma City Community Foundation benefit their permanent Chapter endowment. Dan also believed in and supported Planned Parenthood Great Plains/Oklahoma; donations may be made online.


Please view and sign the family’s online guestbook at

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