Nigel Andrew Butcher, age 39, passed away at the Cass Lake IHS Hospital, on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. Nigel was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on July 29, 1980, to William Butcher Jr. and Alfreda May (Greenleaf) McKenzie. When he was a baby, his cousin Darren came to visit and said, “Nigel is small and cute like a banjo. I think I’ll name him Banjo.” The name stuck. He attended school there until the family moved to Onigum and attended Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig school where he played football. After graduation, he attended Bemidji State University for a year with an interest in psychology. During his teenage years, Nigel was involved in Episcopal youth groups on a national level and also with a Leech Lake Youth Task Force focusing on leadership and alcohol and drug prevention. At a conference in Mille Lacs, he received his Indian name which means “White Thunderbird in the White Clouds” from Richard Morrison, a spiritual leader.
Nigel is remembered as someone who had an extensive vocabulary and liked to read, especially science fiction. He was someone who was exceedingly generous and was known to be a giver of his possessions to others. He enjoyed his cats Beastley and IshKwaDence, and his beautiful smile and laughter will be forever missed.
Nigel was preceded in death by his mother Alfreda, his foster mother LaVonne Weitzel, and his grandparents William Butcher Sr. and Glady (Chief) Butcher. Those left behind to cherish his memory are his father William Butcher Jr.; brothers Nathan, John and William Butcher III, and Charlie, Lance and Leonard Cree; sisters Alfreda Cree, Rita McKenzie, and Nicole Butcher; aunts Linda Butcher and Freida Rose Youngquist; uncle Leon Butcher; and numerous cousins.
An Ojibwe Hymn Service will begin at the Onigum Community Center on Friday, June 12, at 7:00pm and will continue until his funeral service at 11:00am on Saturday, June 13. Helping to lay Nigel to rest will be Shaun Butcher, Darren Sayers, Corey Butcher, Kyle Butcher, Tony Butcher, and Nathan Butcher and alternate pallbearer Luiz DeLaRosa. Burial will follow at the Old Agency Episcopal Cemetery.
Nigel’s care has been entrusted to Whispering Pines Funeral & Cremation Service serving Northern Minnesota. Online condolences for the family may be left at www.whisperingpinesnorth.com.
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