Cover photo for Bobby "Gene" Butler's Obituary
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1936 Bobby "Gene" Butler 2024

Bobby "Gene" Butler

May 9, 1936 — April 1, 2024

Johnson City

Bobby Gene Butler passed away Monday April 1, 2024. Born in Washington County, Tennessee, on May 9, 1936 to Raymond R. Butler and Norma Lilly Preston. He was 87 years old.  As a child Gene was the oldest of four children.  He went to Lamar High School where he proudly played football. He later graduated from Northeast State. While in high school, he met and fell in love with Betty Joyce Wilburn. Betty loved to tell the story of how she sat on her porch swing each day waiting for him to walk by as he went to and from work. He eventually stopped to talk to her and it was just a matter of time before she “caught him”. They married December 22, 1955.


Shortly after they married, Gene joined the US AirForce, and the two of them moved to Merced California where they lived for 4 years. They returned to Johnson City, where Gene worked for Magnavox Company, and then North Electric/ITT as a quality assurance engineer. After ITT closed, he began a career as a steel estimator, working for P&B Welding in Montgomery Alabama and then Henard Metal in Kingsport, TN.


After retirement, Gene loved to spend his time traveling with Betty and his family, woodworking, growing tomatoes, and finding bargains at flea markets, yard sales and estate sales. He was a loving and devoted husband to his wife Betty, and they were married for 65 years. Even after she passed in February 2020, he signed all of his Christmas, Valentines, and Birthday cards, with both of their names. 


Together, they raised two children- Teri Butler Dosher of Johnson City, and Robert (Robbie) James Butler of Asheville, NC. As a father, grandfather, and great grandfather, Gene was the best. He was always there for his family, looking for ways he could be helpful. It was important to him that they knew he was always there for them, and he was always saying, “if you need anything let me know.” His greatest joys in his life were his granddaughter, Zoë Dosher of Johnson City, and then his great granddaughter, Thunder Rose. Even in his last few months of life, at 87 years old, he was putting on puppy ears and getting down on the floor to play with his great granddaughter. And he was sure to always have candy for her. 


Gene was also very kind to everyone he met and always willing to help when he could.  He was the very definition of a good man, and he will be greatly missed by all who know and loved him.


Other family members include Joey Salyers, grandson-in-law. Brothers Lee Butler and Ronnie Butler, both deceased, sister Shirley Gutherie, and a very special sister in-law Suzie Butler, and brother in-law Jimmy Wilburn, as well as several nieces and nephews.


A celebration of life will be held for Gene at The Down Home, 300 West Main Street, Johnson City, TN, Sunday April 28 from 2-4.


Memories and condolences may be shared via


Morris-Baker Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 2001 E. Oakland Ave., Johnson City, is honored to serve the family of Gene Butler.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Bobby "Gene" Butler, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Sunday, April 28, 2024

2:00 - 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

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