Cover photo for James Milton Butler's Obituary
James Milton Butler Profile Photo

James Milton Butler

April 3, 1929 — August 18, 2022

James Milton Butler

As of August 18, 2022, James Milton Butler is now in his eternal home in Heaven with Jesus, and has been reunited with his wife, parents, and many other family members. His daughter and son-in-law were at his bedside, and they take comfort in knowing that as Christians they will be reunited with him in Heaven.

Milton was born in Elberton on April 3, 1929, to Jasper Raymond Butler and Allie Mae Brown Butler. After graduation from high school, he began working and joined the Army National Guard. Eventually, he enlisted during the Korean Conflict with the Air Force and became known as James. While stationed in Del Rio, Texas, on a blind date set up by a local couple, James met his future wife, Billie Joyce Ward, on January 14, 1953, and they married 11 weeks later on March 31. At the time of her death in 2006, they had celebrated 53 years of marriage.

He planned to stay in the Air Force longer, but after deployment overseas and having to be away from his bride, he decided on the civilian life. After several years of frequent moving due to his job of working with construction companies installing electric and telephone lines, James returned to Elberton and his former job with the City of Elberton. He ultimately became foreman and retired after 39 years and eight months of service.

After his retirement, he and Joyce enjoyed their time at the Fish and Game Club, a “step-up” from previous years of tent and truck camping at Bobby Brown State Park. They continued to enjoy fishing and boating, and made several trips to Texas each year to visit Joyce’s family. James also enjoyed driving cars with Claude Ray Ford Sales for several years.

One highlight was when he and Joyce welcomed their son-in-law, Mike Ragsdale, into their lives. They grew to love him like a son and James became a dad to Mike since his dad was deceased.

At the age of 90, he decided to move into Magnolia Estates. It quickly became his home that he enjoyed. James received excellent care and made many new friends and became reacquainted with others. He thoroughly enjoyed playing bingo there.

Many describe James Milton Butler as a people person; others as a “card shark” at games such as Rook, May I, and Joker. He was also a numbers person who could remember dates much better than the average person. His warm, friend, and beautiful smile and unique infectious laugh will never be forgotten. He was a perfect example of having an optimistic outlook on life and accepting life’s many challenges.

James was a longtime active member of Northside Baptist Church including time in Sunday school, as a deacon, choir member, and member in the Jolly Elders Senior Group. Upon moving into Magnolia, he participated in their Sunday church services and Tuesday morning Bible studies.

The last few months he proudly declared he had outlived all of the Butler men! He is preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Billie ‘Joyce’ Ward Butler.

Survivors include his daughter and son-in-law, Elaine and Mike Ragsdale of Toccoa; brother and sister-in-law, Russell and Betty Jo Butler of Elberton; sister, Margaret Craft, wife of the late Lucius Craft, of Honea Path, SC; and several nieces, nephews, and other relatives.

A celebration of Milton’s life will be held on Monday, August 22, at 11 o’clock in the Memorial Chapel of Berry Funeral Home with the Rev. David McConnell officiating. He will be laid to rest beside his wife in Elmhurst Cemetery.

The family will receive friends on Sunday, August 21, from 2:00-4:00p.m. at Berry Funeral Home.

Elaine and family greatly understand if you are not comfortable in attending services due to the current health crisis. If desired, you may pay your respects privately from 9:00a.m.-1:00p.m. on Sunday prior to visitation.

Flowers are accepted and contributions may be made in his memory to Northside Baptist Church, 384 N. Oliver Street, Elberton, GA 30635.

Those wishing may sign the online guestbook at

Berry Funeral Home & Crematory of Elberton is respectfully in charge of charge arrangements for James Milton Butler.

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

Past Services


Sunday, August 21, 2022

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

Berry Funeral Home & Crematory

1 Berry Lane, Elberton, GA 30635

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Monday, August 22, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Memorial Chapel of Berry Funeral Home

1 Berry Lane, ELBERTON, GA 30635

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 46

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree