The Joseph A. Butler family has over 100 years of experience caring for Kansas City area families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.
When we sit down with a family, we have just one goal: to create a fitting, memorable and affordable service for their loved one. Together, we explore the wide variety of services and products available, as well as a wealth of creative ideas and suggestions.
Together, we'll design a memorial or funeral service that suits their needs now, and in the future. Families who come to us know that years from now, they will have deep peace-of-mind because in coming to us, they've done their best to honor their loved one.
In 1905, Joe Butler, a second-generation cooper and local politician, decided to enter a completely new line of work. Leaving barrel-making, this was the year he opened the Joseph A. Butler Mortuary at Central Ave. and Coy in Kansas City, Kansas. At first, the business was housed in a barn he and one of his brothers had built. This was soon replaced by a more permanent structure.
Always a family venture, the Federal Garage was added next door and run by his son, J.A. Butler, Jr., who later added a Hupmobile dealership.
Joe Butler III, the current president, started in the funeral business at age 11. When families still held wakes in their homes, this young schoolboy was responsible for making sure the same number of loaned chairs came out of the houses, as went in.
A child at heart, Joe Butler, always carried nickels in his pockets to give out to neighborhood children for quick visits to the area confectionery. Many of those same children still remember him as the jolly Santa who paid yearly Christmas visits to their schools.
Roughly 20 years after opening the original location, Mr. Butler opened a second location at 22 S. 18th, where he and his wife, Minnie Nichols Butler, lived until his unexpected death in 1939, while on vacation in California.
The 18th Street location housed Joseph A. Butler's Sons Funeral Home, until 1964, when J.A. Butler, Jr. and his son, Joseph A. Butler III, went into partnership with another longtime Kansas City, Kansas funeral family, Phil Gibson and his son, Paul, at the corner of Hoel Parkway (19th Street) and Minnesota, forming the Gibson-Butler Funeral Home.
With the death of the Gibsons and the addition of Joe Butler’s son, Joseph A. Butler IV (Jay), following his 1979 graduation from the University of Kansas, the business became Joseph A. Butler & Son. A daughter, Barbara, joined the firm in 1987.
Kyle Zoellner signed on in 1991 as funeral director and embalmer.
Through the years, the Butler family has had the privilege of handling the funerals of such luminaries as Carrie Nation (who once knocked a cigar from the senior Butler’s mouth), a governor, U.S. senator, several Kansas City, Kansas mayors and several Archbishops of the Archdiocese of Kansas in Kansas City. And while the Butler family has certainly been honored to handle those funerals, they are just as honored and flattered to work with every family who comes through their doors.
The Butler family’s desire is the same today as it was in 1905; to provide quality, caring service to the families of Kansas City, at affordable prices.
was born in Kansas City, Ks., and was a 1941 graduate of Wyandotte High School and attended KU. After serving with the Air Corps during WWII, Joe officially entered the funeral business in 1947. In addition to serving as president of the Kansas City Funeral Directors Assoc., he was elected Wyandotte County coroner between 1951 and 1963 and also served on the board of Donnelly College and is member of Knights of Columbus, 40 & 8, VFW, American Legion and Rotary. He passed away on July 30, 2013.
followed his father and grandfather’s footsteps by attending KU. He joined the firm in 1979, following his college graduation and works with families, as well as, overseeing funeral services. Jay is a former board member of the KCK Red Cross and is active with the Downs Syndrome Guild, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and Kiwanis.
joined her father and brother in 1987, and works with families in coordinating arrangements. She currently sits on the boards of Cancer Action, the Sisters, Servants of Mary Guild and the Serving from the Heart Gala for the Sisters, Servants of Mary.
originally from Ellinwood, Ks., joined the firm in 1991, while still a student at Kansas City Kansas Community College School of Mortuary Science. He serves as a Youth Minister at his church.
is a Kansas City native who has been providing information systems and audio visual technology support to the funeral home for some time. You will also find him assisting in other facets of the operation. As a retired Social Security employee who spent many years working in the Kansas City area, he relates well to the families in the area. Through his service with a number of local non-profit, charitable groups, Joe is also knowledgeable about the community.