TSgt. Carl Michael “Birdman” Butala, 71, of Mountaintop, passed away suddenly Friday at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Hospital.
Born in Hazleton, he was the son of the late Alex and Helen (Rocosky) Butala.
Carl was a Vietnam-era veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield. He retired from the USAF in 1996 after 25 years of service.
Carl grew up in McAdoo where he served as an altar boy at St. Michael’s Byzantine Catholic Church. He graduated from Hazelton High School in 1968. After high school, he enlisted in the Air Force and served as cook while on active duty. He spent over 20 years in the Air Force Reserve as an air cargo specialist.
In his early years, Carl worked at Prestolite Wire & Cable and Barrett Haentjens & Co. He then spent the rest of his career as a dedicated Certified Nursing Assistant on the psychiatric floor at the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre. He retired in 2018 after 34 years of service.
Carl enjoyed riding his Harley, swimming in the pool while listening to oldies music, cruising in his Mustang, listening to Hamm radio and scanners, and reading magazines and books. He hosted exchange students from France, Japan, and Germany. His favorite pastime was taking care of his African gray parrot, Paku. An avid news watcher, he enjoyed conversations with family and friends.
He is survived by Pam (Altaffer) Butala, his wife of 48 years; daughter, Sherri Fusaro and husband Marc of Emporia, KS; grandchildren, Anthony and Talia; brother, Ronald Butala and wife LaDonna of Allentown; sister, Mary Ann Mifflin of Denver, CO; and several nieces and nephews.
His funeral will be held Thursday at 10 a.m. from the Damiano Funeral Home Inc., Blaine and Cleveland Sts., McAdoo. Rev. Gregory Hosler will celebrate the Divine Liturgy with Office of Christian Burial in St. Michael’s B.C. Church, McAdoo, at 10:30 a.m. Interment will follow in the parish cemetery.
Calling hours will be held Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. in the funeral home. A Parastas service will be held.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations would be appreciated to the Disabled American Veterans at www.dav.org.
Condolences may be entered, and information is available at www.damianofhinc.com.
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Disabled American Veterans Charity