Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home - Champaign Il

Today is

Peron “Butch” Johnson

Peron “Butch” Johnson, 73, of Champaign, Illinois, passed away January 19, 2021, at Carle Hospital, Urbana, Illinois.

He was born on October 16, 1947, in Champaign, to Richard and Eleanor (Dickey) Johnson. His three sisters, Barb (Don) Holmes, Sue (Murray) Watkins, and Kitty (Bill) Baker (Bill is still with us, of Deer Lodge, Montana), also preceded him in death.

Surviving are his wife Judy Johnson of Champaign, Illinois three daughters, Danelle (George) Hnatiw of Scarsdale, New York, Lisa (John) Gadbury, and Sheila (Toby) Drollinger, both of Champaign, Illinois; four grandchildren, Nicole, Hailey, Sydney, and Samantha of Champaign, Illinois.; seven nieces, Sue Sphar of Peoria, Illinois, Janna McCommon of Mattoon, Illinois, Missy (Scott) Henslee of Beebe, Arkansas, Kitty (Tony) Keener of Enterprise, Alabama, Karen (Matt) Butler of Hilliard, Ohio, Diana (Mike) Scott of Live Oak, Texas, and Anne (James) Baker of South Jordan, Utah; three nephews, Michael (Linda) Watkins of Hilliard, Ohio; Mark (Tina) Watkins of Galena, Ohio, and Matthew (Patty) Watkins of Grove City, Ohio; and a multitude of grandnieces/nephews and great grandnieces/nephews who loved being at the cabin with Butch, especially Gianni, who was up at the cabin with him almost every year.

After Butch served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, he held a variety of positions in law enforcement. Butch retired as a Capital Investigator for the Public Defender’s Office in Columbia, Missouri.

Butch enjoyed spending summers at his cabin on the lake in the U.P. of Michigan, cooking for groups and taking care of the deer, chipmunks, hummingbirds, and loons that visited the cabin. Butch had a great wit and had lots of stories to tell. He was an avid Green Bay Packers fan with a work ethic that was unmatched by anyone. Although stubborn, Butch had a heart of gold and was always there to help family and friends.

Butch’s loved ones plan to have a memorial on the lake later this summer in his honor.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

In addition, the family would be grateful for any kind words, stories, or photos of Butch that his family or friends would like to share.

Online condolences may be offered to the family at www.HeathandVaughn.com.


Butch was our uncle, we loved him dearly. He was a tight lipped, stubborn man that always had your back and would do anything for you. He loved the cabin and it was always open to us. The cabin will never be the same but it will always be full of Butch no matter which way you turn. We will miss him. All our love to you and your family.

—Michael Watkins


Judy and Family,
On behalf of the D’Orsi family (Stanley, the late Robert, and Armand Jr.) I would like to extend our Deepest Sympathies in your time of need! May your memories of “Butch” bring you peace and last an eternity! 

—With Love and Prayers, Mike and Sharon D’Orsi and Family


I'm so sorry to hear of Butch's passing. I was his go-to IT guy at the Public Defender's office from 2008 until he retired. Butch was a good 'ol boy. If you gave him crap, he gave it right back. He was definitely strong willed, but always polite and gave respect when he was shown respect. I'd always look for him at the different workshops we had because I knew I could have a beer with him and shoot the bull without getting into trouble. He was a good man. I'm going to miss Butch.

—Jeff Hays


My deepest sympathy to the family. I worked at the Public Defenders Office in Columbia for many years and remember Butch fondly. He always was helpful, caring and personable, with bright, sharp eyes, a warm smile and a kind heart.

—Barbara Hoppe


I worked with Butch at the Missouri Public Defender office in Columbia MO. He was a kind man who always had a smile to offer. Once, I mentioned to him how much I liked the cones used for ice cream cones at Braum's, a store that was in Springfield MO about 3 hours away where he frequently traveled for work. After that, Butch always offered to bring me back Braum's cones on his work trips to Springfield. : ) Butch was a shameless flirt with all of us ladies at the office - but a harmless one. I have a great picture of him with a few of the girls and would be happy to send upon request. Rest in peace, Butch. Your friends in Missouri will always remember you fondly.

—Maggie Johnston


I would like to offer my sincere sympathy to Butch’s family and friends. He was a very liksable and kind person, whose presence will be greatly missed. His easy-going manner made one feel immediately comfortable, as if you would have known him for a lifetime, and his absence will be keenly felt by many, including myself.

—Judy Arbuckle


Uncle Butch was a fun-loving man that lived his life to the fullest. Will miss his visits to see us in Alabama. He loved being at the cabin, and we will always feel his presence there. His hard-working spirit and love will always be in our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. May God’s grace give you comfort, strength and peace.

—Tony and Kitty Keener