Dale J. Butterworth, 95: Master woodworker, teacher left legacy for generations

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CUMBERLAND — Dale Jared Butterworth, 95, a retired teacher and resident of Cumberland for 66 years, died Feb. 26.

Born July 1, 1919, in Boston, he was the son of Albert Jared Butterworth and M. Elizabeth Butterworth. Dale grew up on a farm in Franklin, Massachusetts, attended local schools, and graduated from the University of Maine at Orono in 1941.

At UMO, Butterworth was a proud member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and the university cross-country team. He also earned a commission as a member of the U.S. Army ROTC program, and began pilot training with the Army Air Corps soon after graduation.

He had met Florence C. Atwood at a college dance, and she later said she had known on that night that she would marry Butterworth. Indeed, the two were married on May 30, 1942, at the Elijah Kellogg Church in Harpswell.

After his wedding, Butterworth completed flight school in Georgia, and went on to serve as a pilot and flight instructor during World War II. Rising to the rank of major, he flew primarily B-29 bombers and trained American and British pilots.

In 1949, Butterworth and his wife bought a farm in Cumberland Center, and he worked as a skilled craftsman in various building projects. His love of sharing knowledge and his passion for woodworking eventually led him to become a teacher of cabinetmaking at Westbrook High School. He also owned and operated the King’s Highway Antique Shop.

Butterworth enjoyed an active retirement, taking bus trips with his wife, camping, spending time with family and friends, and cheering on the New England Patriots. And he continued to follow his passion for creating cabinetry and restoring and dealing in antiques. His students continued to seek his advice, which was honed by decades of practice.

Over his lifetime, Butterworth accumulated a large collection of local 18th- and 19th-century logging and woodworking tools, as well as photos and memorabilia from Maine logging camps. Fascinated by the work within Maine’s woods, Butterworth at age 87 co-authored a book, “From Logs to Lumber,” with his friend, Tom Whalen, on the history of Maine logging and woodworking. He eventually donated his entire logging collection to The Maine State Museum in Augusta.

In addition to his wife of 72 years, Butterworth is survived by his five children, eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

These include his daughter, Susan Swanson; her son, Toby Swanson; and her son, Aaron McPike and wife, Wendy, and their children, Joshua and Emily.

Also surviving are his daughter, Sally Wilkinson; her son, Matthew Soule and wife, Jennifer, and their children Kyle and Audrey; her son, Derek Soule and wife, Cindy, and their children Calvin, Riley and Siara; and her son, Phil Soule.

Also surviving are his daughter, Jane; her son, Peter Herbst and wife, Kate, and their children Abigail and William; her son, Nathaniel Herbst and wife, Gretchen, and their children Penelope and Vivienne; and her son, Ben Herbst and fiancee Linsey Matovich.

Butterworth is also survived by his son, James Butterworth and partner, Leeann Costello, and his daughter, Linda Butterworth.

A memorial service is planned for Saturday, March 21, at 11 a.m., at the Tuttle Road United Methodist Church, 52 Tuttle Road, Cumberland.

Those who wish to make a donation in Butterworth’s honor are asked to consider a contribution to The Maine State Museum to benefit the Dale J. Butterworth Collection, at 83 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04331.

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