Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gerrit Butter March 30, 1916 - Oct. 19, 2014 Banker and Honorary Consul for Holland

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gerrit Butter March 30, 1916 - Oct. 19, 2014 Banker and Honorary Consul for Holland

Article excerpt

Gerrit Butter, known to those in the banking business as "The Flying Dutchman," had the ability to relate to everyone. Even those he didn't know, or those just interested in the heavy Dutch accent he maintained after living in the United States for more than 40 years.

"Everywhere you went, people loved to talk to him, and loved his accent," said his daughter-in-law Vicki Becker of Upper St. Clair. "Up until the day he died, people asked him where he was from."

Mr. Butter, who lived in Upper St. Clair since 1965, grew up in Amsterdam. He died of natural causes on Oct. 19 in Hilton Head Island, S.C. He was 98.

Mr. Butter was very proud of his Dutch heritage, and because of that he never took on U.S. citizenship, said his son Adrian Butter, who's married to Ms. Becker. He was the Dutch honorary consul in Pittsburgh from 1956 to 1981 and was knighted in the Order of Orange-Nassau by Beatrix, Queen of the Netherlands in 1983.

"He maintained a pretty strong connection with Dutch-Americans in the Pittsburgh area," Adrian Butter said.

Mr. Butter held an array of jobs that allowed him to travel and have lasting relationships. When standing in lines he would make comments and strike up conversations with people. "He always had lots of stories to share," Adrian Butter said.

Mr. Butter spent more than 30 years working for banks around the world. His first was in Indonesia. India, Singapore, China and Japan followed.

Mr. Butter married and had his son, Heiner, while living in India. After he and his first wife divorced, Mr. Butter moved to the United States in 1955. He relocated to Pittsburgh from New York that same year to take a job with Mellon Bank.

"He was a real character," said Kathy Mackins, who worked as Mr. Butter's secretary at Mellon. "When I started working for him, I was 18 and scared to death. Originally, I could hardly understand him" because of the accent. …

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