Reeves A. “Butch” Thielen passed away on Friday, July 10, 2020 at the age of 81. He was born April 21, 1939 in Brainerd, Minnesota, the son of a farmer and a farmer’s wife. His sister, Barbara, arrived three years earlier. From a young age he was known as Butch – everyone called him Butch.
As the country climbed out of the Depression, his father, Al, looked west to Seattle and the prospect of a job at Boeing. He left his wife, Evelyn, behind to settle their affairs before heading west herself in 1942 with the two children in tow to join him. But fate had other plans for them. Butch got the measles and the car broke down, forcing them to end their journey in Kittitas County. It was there they stayed.
After high school, Butch worked in the woods for a couple of years before accepting a trainee position with the National Weather Service at Stampede Pass in 1959. It would become his career, putting in close to 40 years before he retired.
He married Rheta Peele in 1964 and started a family. Two years later, Butch and Rheta and their two young children moved to Fairbanks, where their third child was born in 1967. His work took them to several locations in Alaska, and another stop in Arizona, before landing in Yakima in 1977 where he lived until he retired. After that, he moved to Easton for good. The kids were grown and Rheta left to follow her own pursuits. During that time the new house was built, and he began to enjoy quiet days on the land he loved so much.
Butch lived many years with MS and survived cancer twice. Rheta returned to Washington in 2002 and took up the position of partner and caretaker. She helped him keep himself and the place in working order and looking good. In recent years he relied on his wheelchair and his four-wheeler to get him around. He found ever-inventive ways to do the things he wanted, despite the limits his body placed upon him.
Butch was a kind, quiet man. He loved being outside where he could often be seen with his faithful canine companion of many years, Bucko. He spent time hunting, fishing and snowmobiling before his legs stopped doing what he wanted them to. He was always up for a round of cards, especially cribbage. He loved to tinker in his work shed.
His children knew a loving father; their cousins a dedicated uncle. They were all so important to him, even though he struggled at times to tell them how much. He was the best kind of man there is.
Butch was preceded in death by his parents, Al and Evelyn (Casey) Thielen; his brother-in-law, Glenn “Bud” Graham; and his nephew, Scott Graham.
He leaves behind his three children: Shannon Taylor, Eric (JoAnne) Thielen and Holly (Dan) Robinson; his wife Rheta; his sister Barbara and the Graham cousins: Cherie, Casey, Nathan and Amy; six grandchildren: Justin, Jolene, Ben, Emily, Shea and Sean; and one great-grandson: Jaron.
A small gathering of family and close friends will be held on July 25th in Easton. Cascade Funeral Home of Cle Elum has been entrusted with caring for Butch’s family. Online condolences may be left at www.cascadefuneralhome.com
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