Body of LI school administrator found in Lake George, cops say
The body of an Amityville school administrator who went missing while paddleboarding was discovered Saturday morning in the waters of Lake George in upstate Ticonderoga, authorities said.
Police responded Friday night to a report of the missing man, Michael J. Butler III, according to Ticonderoga Police Chief Michael F. LaVallie.
On Saturday morning, searchers found Butler’s body in 8 feet of water about 40 yards from shore, LaVallie said.
Butler, 61, of Patchogue, had been the facilities director for the Amityville School District since 2015. His widow, Diane Butler, said he drowned while not wearing his life vest during a family trip to the lake.
“He was a very active water sportsman, and unfortunately, this is probably the 1 percent of the time he went out on the water without his life vest,” she said. “He always goes out with his life vest on.”
Butler liked to ride his paddleboard to Fire Island, enjoyed the more “extreme” kiteboarding, and “always wore a life vest,” she said.
The couple had lived in Patchogue about 30 years. He is survived by four children, ranging in age from 19 to 41, and two grandchildren.
“He was a very positive, energetic person. Very kind, caring and all that good stuff. Everybody loved him, never had a harsh word for anyone,” his widow said.
Amityville Superintendent Mary Kelly offered condolences in a statement posted on the district’s website.
Kelly said Butler “was a respected member of our staff and he will be missed. His leadership and experience within the facilities department was invaluable to our district.”
The statement added: “Mr. Butler was well-liked and respected by his colleagues and always went out of his way to help others. He will be remembered for his warm, caring and friendly disposition.”
A longtime facilities administrator, Butler had worked for the Suffolk County Parks Department, and the Sachem, Elwood, and Patchogue-Medford school districts, Diane Butler said. He also had once owned his own construction company, she said.
“He enjoyed providing safe buildings for the children to learn and grow and be educated in,” she said.
An autopsy is planned to determine the cause of death.
A wake is to be held Wednesday at the Ruland Funeral Home in Patchogue from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Burial arrangements are still being planned.