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Rugby loses community leader

By Staff | Feb 24, 2012

Rugby lost a community leader and former mayor this week with the passing of Mark J. Butz, attorney-at-law.

Butz had practiced law in North Dakota for 49 years. He specialized in estate planning and real estate law, as well as providing legal services to individuals, businesses, boards and organizations over the years.

He was born in Williston and lived there as well as in Chicago before moving to Rugby in the 1960s. Butz graduated from UND first with his undergraduate degree and then with this juris doctorate from the UND School of Law in 1963. He and his wife of 52 years, Diane, raised their five children in Rugby. Diane passed away a year ago. They had 15 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

“He was one of the good ones,” said Galen Mack, an attorney and friend. “He really cared about Rugby.”

Butz served a term as mayor of Rugby from 1974-1978. He was city attorney from May of 1990 to 2010 and served as assistant state’s attorney for Pierce County. He had been a member of the North Dakota State Bar Associationsince 1963. In the late 1980s he served as special judge in the Turtle Mountain Tribal Court.

In 2007 he was awarded the

Community Service Award by the North Dakota Bar Association.

A man with a sense of humor, Butz had vanity plates that read: SUE ‘EM. He had a huge heart and a hearty laugh which he shared with family and friends.

He and Hartley Hageness shared an interest in old cars. Butz was an avid collector of old cars in the 1970s and ’80s. He rented an office from Hageness and they became good friends over the years.

“He was a nice gentleman,” said Hageness. “He did a lot of work with and for the city of Rugby.”

Butz spent many summers at his lake home on Lake Metigoshe with his family. He enjoyed watching the Green Bay Packers football team and the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. He played golf and loved to travel.

The full obituary can be found on page 6 of this issue of the Tribune.

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