Mitchell J Butterfield, 68, died of leiomyosarcoma on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, at his home in Smithfield, Utah, in the arms of his partner, sweetheart, companion, wife, and caregiver, Star Coulbrooke.
He was born on June 23, 1954, in Logan, Utah, on the west side of town, to George and Irene Butterfield. He was proud to be one of the original “latchkey kids,” free to explore the neighborhood, carouse the downtown, and roam the west fields all day while his dad drove a Wonderbread truck and his mom worked at JC Penney.
He was a middle child, bookended by his sisters Shelley and Holley. He had many lifelong friends, kids he’d gone to Ellis School with, who graduated from Logan High with him. He liked to say he graduated in “Parking Lot,” a free spirit in the late sixties and early seventies.
Known all his life as Mitch, he was “My Mitch” to Star, who met him in December of 1991, when they embarked on a 32-year-one-night stand. He said he figured out who she was right after they were introduced. He had carried her groceries out when he was a sixteen-year-old bagboy at Smith’s Food King and she was a nineteen-year-old mother of two. He even knew the cars she had driven. Then he lost track of her for about twenty years.
After his bag boy days, Mitch went into the building trades, working for various contractors around the valley. He married Nancy Hawkes in 1976. They had three children, Jasmine, Dylan, and Chelsea. He built their house in Richmond at only 24 years of age, while working at Pepperidge Farm and studying for his general contractor’s license.
Mitch was a craftsman who took pride in his work with every occupation he held as builder, framer, finish-carpenter, and drywall contractor. He was noted for his finish work in the 1991 Ellen Eccles Theatre renovation and for the uniquely artistic plaster ceiling designs he created in houses all over the valley.
He was an artist, his creations eclectic, out of the ordinary. Hardwood tattoos, parchesi boards, woodburned/painted floral balls and boxes, club ducks, antler buttons with suspended flowers or fishing flies, and a 6-foot by 8-foot farm scene with an overlaid drafthorse made of driftwood he scavenged from the banks of Summit Creek in Smithfield City.
He loved National guitars. He started collecting them after he taught himself to play after age fifty. His dogs were his only audience until he learned to sing along with his playing and started jamming with musician friends. He graduated to banjos and began to take lessons at age sixty. He made his own guitars from found objects, including cigar boxes, sewing machine drawers, and even a bedpan. He shared his appreciation for music with friends and family, where every gathering was an invitation to pick up an instrument and strum along.
During his years with Star, he claimed to have fulfilled every dream and wish list he ever had, including owning his own business, buying a Harley, and renovating the house they lived in to make it comfortable and beautiful for their final years together. But they also lived with his cancer for twenty years, and it decided to have its turn just as the house was finished.
Mitch is survived by Star and their extended blended family, children Dylan (Ellen) Butterfield, Chelsea (Gabe) Morland, Darrin (Londyn) Freeman, Diana Mason, Laurian Escalanti (David Jones), a biological child Jason (Leslie) Olsen, 19 grandchildren and 8 great-grands, his sisters Shelley (Jerry) Gill and Holley (Wayne) Allen, many beloved nieces and nephews from their former and current marriages, Star’s siblings and their spouses, their few remaining aunts and uncles, bunches of cousins, many dear friends they claim as family, and of course by their dog Rooster and their cats Rosie and River. He was preceded in death by his parents, by a daughter, Jasmine Marie Jensen, and by all his other dogs, who are where he says he wants to be.
Mitch believes that his greatest achievement was to make himself into a kind and loving man who collected as many friends as he collected unique items with which to make his art and to leave others with a lot to remember him by. Some of his artwork will be displayed at a Celebration of Life event, to be held on Friday, July 21, 4:00 PM, at the Logan House Reception Center, located at 136 W. 100 N., Logan, Utah. His ashes will be interred in the Smithfield City Cemetery in a private family ceremony.
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