David William Butela

May 25, 1977September 12, 2021

On September 12, 2021, David William Butela passed away in a car accident at the age of 44.

Dave was born May 25, 1977 to William and Linda Butela (Pickard). He was a 1996 graduate of Byron Center High School. After graduation and a few years in the workforce, Dave furthered his education and earned his Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Medicine from Ferris State University. He also participated in an internship program through Michigan Medicine of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

After graduation, David was a dedicated professional in milk processing. He worked alongside his brother, Jeffrey, and with many friends at the plant. In addition to his full-time job, Dave had an entrepreneurial spirit and managed a rental property while also operating an Airbnb.

Dave’s paternal grandparents lived on a lake where he developed a love for boating and the beach. He was an avid sports fan and his blood ran maize and blue. He enjoyed cruising Lake Michigan and spending time in Grand Haven and sailing and exploring the North Channel of Lake Huron with his father and his Uncle Richard and Aunt Alice. Dave looked forward to visiting his favorite “paradises” including spending every other weekend in Traverse City and Leelanau County cruising on the family boat, the beaches of Seagrove and Seaside, Florida, the music and culture of New Orleans, and Chicago, the home of the Cubs and his ancestral roots.

Dave embraced life to the fullest and had a magnetic personality. No matter where he went or who he was around, he was able to make a friend. He never met a stranger. Dave had an infectious smile and playful sense of humor. Life was enriched by Dave. He was kind, considerate, and a positive life force. His connections extended farther and deeper than we can ever know. Life won’t be the same for many of us who loved him.

Dave was preceded in death by his grandparents Kenneth and Dorothy Butela, Robert and Marge Holtz, and his uncle, Doug Holtz. He is survived by his father and stepmother Bill and Jan Butela of Traverse City; mother and stepfather Linda and Bob Pickard of Byron Center; fiancée, Ericka Lake and her daughter, Emma of Byron Center; brother, Jeff and Nicole Butela and his nephew, Collin of Lowell; stepsister, Christie and Patrick Draper and their daughter, Grace of Springfield, Missouri; stepsister, Melanie and Billy Luckey and their children Hayden and Madison of Milan, Tennessee; stepmother, Becky Butela of Grand Rapids; and his many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

A visitation will be open to the public from 6-8 p.m. Sunday, September 19, 2021 at Cook Funeral Home (West building) in Grandville. (NOTE: THIS VISITATION IS IN GRANDVILLE.) There will also be an additional visitation prior to the funeral service from 10-11 a.m. Monday, September 20, 2021 at Douglas Walker Park in Byron Center, 1194 84th St. SW, Byron Center, MI with a funeral service immediately following. Family requests that guest wear masks. A graveside burial will be reserved for family only.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in David’s honor to Doctors Without Borders. Go Blue! The family welcomes memories and messages in their guest book online at


  • Visitation

    Sunday, September 19, 2021

  • Visitation

    Monday, September 20, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Monday, September 20, 2021


David William Butela

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Robert Holtz

September 19, 2021

I always remember both David and his brother tight knit together doing the life that young boys do. Always smiling and enjoying life. Very ingenious and inventive, never giving up or giving in. Creative in all things he will be sorely missed but never forgotten his life lives on through those who knew him

Rhonda Smith

September 18, 2021

I miss you Dave! You were one of the first people I met when I moved to Grand Rapids many years ago and instantly became friends with Lindsay and I. You, Chris and Jeff were inseparable and loved that you guys were my neighbors!

Throughout the years we spent lots of time on the water, boating, docking, hanging out, living life to the fullest. I will never forget the time I was trying to drive your boat and almost side swiped the sea wall. Thank you for those fun times!

During our friendship, you were my listening ear when I was grieving the loss of Lindsay. How shocking that was for us all. I missed my roomie and best friend so much. You never turned me down and listened with compassion. Thank you for helping me through.

Within the past couple of years, you were my milk man. Living close to Coopersville, I loved exchanging milk for McDonalds or IHOP; just to catch up. You knew how much my family loved Fairlife and it was just so nice seeing you in person.

Speaking of Fairlife, you didn’t just live a fair life, you lived a super life. Loved and lived to the fullest! Always on the go and so outgoing. It is very hard to comprehend you not being here anymore. It will not be the same. One thing as a I am raising my glass of milk in your honor; you will never be forgotten my friend and please hug Lindsay for me 💕 Rest In Peace.

Christopher Jordan

September 17, 2021

So many memories I don't know where to even begin. Dave and I were very close friends, till this day he still had just as much energy as he did when I first met him over twenty years ago. I have never met anyone in my entire life to have a better work ethic than that of Dave. Someone that can work a 16 hour day then go home, come back and do another 12 hours and still manage to call me and text me repeatedly because he wanted to go out and check the latest blues band that was playing down the road.
I always caved in to his demands of course. The peer pressure was just to much lol. We managed to live the night away to the fullest and have the best times of our lives even if it was just for a few hours before he had to do it again all over at work the next day.
Well my friend, it's time to rest, until we meet again. GO BLUE!!!

Jennifer Stull

September 17, 2021

I remember all of us kids playing in the field next to our Grandparents house. Sometimes it was baseball and other times kick ball. Rest in Paradise

Chris Shea

September 17, 2021

I remember talking to David about his sincerity in moving forward with his life and career. It ended so suddenly,so unexpectedly. I am sorry that family members and friends will not have the chance to share his future. May memories of David enhance our lives.

Gloria Dejonge

September 16, 2021

Bill, Linda,Jeff and family.
My heart breaks for what you are going thru. May our Heavenly Father wrap His loving arms around you and give you strength.
Gloria and Randy DeJonge

John & Marcia Waldmiller

September 15, 2021

Dear Bill, Linda, Jeff and families, We are so sorry for your loss. We remember David as a nice young man. We know the pain of losing a child and sympathize with all of you. May God give you peace and comfort during this very difficult time. John 14

Dan Christie

September 15, 2021

It's hard to wrap my mind around writing this. You were a great friend Dave. You were kind, compassionate, and friendly to those who knew you. Your friendship will be greatly missed by so many. Your sense of adventure, your love of Michigan football, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Boating will be a source of many funny stories for so many of us to remember you so fondly by. To your brother Jeff and your immediate family, I hope you may find peace and comfort in the difficult days ahead knowing the life Dave lived touched so many with happiness and laughter. One time only, just for you, from a ND fan, ugh....GO BLUE. Rest well my friend.

Mike Schmidt

September 14, 2021

Gonna miss you Big Guy. You lived life to the fullest. Hope you find peace friend.