A man impossible to forget, John “Butch” McQuillen, was killed on June 2, 2006, in a motorcycle accident while vacationing in New Mexico. His wife of 43 years, Judy, was with him in his final moments. Judy, who was also badly injured, survived and will carry on his memory. He was a husband to an adoring wife, a father to loving children, a Papa to giggling grandchildren, and a friend to many.
Born on March 28, 1943, most of us came to know him as “Butch,” a name that commanded respect and had a sense of presence to it. Butch grew up in northeast Kansas City, Missouri and worked at the GM Fairfax Plant for 36 years before retiring. His greatest accomplishments include his three children (Craig, Rick, and Tara), eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Butch lived his live to the fullest and made everyone he met feel a part of his family. That was the most important thing to him—family. Everyone who knew him knew that Butch’s family was more than just his wife and children. His family included extended relatives and lifelong friends. He was the kind of man who made everyone feel welcome and loved. This was proved true at his visitation at Holy Cross Catholic Church, where nearly 1,000 people came to pay their respects.
Not only was Butch a family man, he was a member of Holy Cross Parish and an avid Irishman. Butch enjoyed all sports and coached several teams. Chiefs Sunday was a very important day. And through all my years as a Chiefs cheerleader, I will always remember seeing his family waving whenever I passed by the visitors’ side of the stadium. Butch cherished life and loved people.
Always known as “Uncle Butch,” he was a motorcycle enthusiast and was a member of FOG Cycles. He was featured last year in the Cycle Connections article Road Trippin’ to Sturgis. This article followed Butch and his friends on their trip to Sturgis. The article also talks about the longstanding tradition of Boot Hill and the ceremony that is given for fallen riders. Butch was the one who gave this emotional ceremony for two fallen comrades. Ironically, August 6, many of Butch’s friends and family will all be heading to Boot Hill for a ceremony dedicated to our fallen comrade, Butch.
There was so much more to Butch’s life than can ever be put into a tribute. To all those who knew him, we all have cried a tear in his honor. As Butch now watches down upon his beloved “family,” I end this tribute with something I overheard at his funeral as the hearse, limos, and processional with over 35 motorcycles stretching almost a mile began. A close friend revved his engine, leaned over and said, “Okay boys, Uncle Butch is going to lead us one more time.”
Your Cousin, Missy
Tribute by Missy Rockers - Cycle Connections August 2006 Cover Model
Photos by Mike Schweder and Stripe