Deacon ‘Butch’ Amos, former director of Permanent Deacons, dies at 91

By Jenara Kocks Burgess

Correspondent

March 4, 2012

Deacon Clarence “Butch” Amos

(Photo courtesy of Thompson’s Harverson and Cole Funeral Home) 

Deacon Clarence Albert “Butch” Amos, 91, former diocesan director of Permanent Deacons, and the most senior ordained deacon in the diocese and a retired U.S. Air Force major, died Wednesday, Jan. 25.

Retired diocesan director of Permanent Deacon Formation Ann Healey remembers Dcn. Amos as being instrumental in its formation of permanent deacons. “Butch Amos was very supportive to me, as I set up the Office of Permanent Deacon Formation in the diocese in 1984,” said Ann Healey, who retired in 2010 after 26 years of service as the diocese’s director of Permanent Deacon formation program. “This was [our] first office for the formation of permanent deacons, and Butch was so effective in helping ‘spread the word’ to pastors and parishes that the Diocese of Fort Worth would now be forming its own permanent deacons,” she said.

A vigil service was observed Monday, Jan. 30, at Holy Family Church in Fort Worth. Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Sacred Heart Church in Fredonia, Kansas.

In eulogies given by two of his seven children at both the vigil service and Mass, Danny and Pat Amos described their father as a family man who had a big personality and booming voice but was also humble.

“All of his children were influenced by his desire and actions to help others,” said Pat Amos in the eulogy he titled, “Our Love for Dad and Lessons Learned.” “He (Dcn. Amos) was a blessed man of faith.“

Dcn. Amos was born May 4, 1920, in Fredonia, Kansas. He had attended the University of Kansas, Tarrant County Junior College, and Oklahoma City College of Law, and also served in the United States Air Force for 23 years before retiring as a major.

During high school, Dcn. Amos set a record for running the quarter mile that he held for 27 years, Danny Amos said in his eulogy. Despite being recruited by two bigger schools, he chose Kansas University because the track coach was chosen to be the next Olympic track coach. Danny Amos said his dad had one of the fastest times in the half mile but his dad quit college and joined the Army Air Corps, now called the Air Force, after the Olympics were cancelled in 1940 due to World War II having begun in Europe.

“Many, many years later, while in his 80s, Dad won the Cowtown 5K for his age bracket three years in a row, and that’s why I’m proud of my dad,” Danny Amos said.

Danny Amos said his dad always put his family before himself. Dcn. Amos turned down a promotion and retired from the military in 1962 so he wouldn’t have to move his children after more than eight years in Fort Worth, took a job working the night shift at General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin) when a better advertising job fell through, but was later moved to the accounting department at General Dynamics.

He later got the sales position he wanted at Louis Bull Advertising Company in Fort Worth, which is where he worked until he became the director of Permanent Deacons for the Fort Worth Diocese, Danny Amos said.

Dcn. Amos was a part of the first permanent deacon class in the diocese, formed in conjunction with candidates from the Diocese of Dallas. He was ordained to the diaconate on June 3, 1978, by then-Bishop John Cassata at St. Patrick Cathedral.

As a deacon, he had served at St. Paul Parish in Fort Worth from 1978-1984, and at St. Peter Parish in White Settlement from 1984-1986, before taking on the role as director of Permanent Deacons from 1986-1991.

Deacon Joseph Milligan, a member of Holy Family Church in Fort Worth who worked as a deacon there for 22 years, 10 of which he served as diocesan director of Permanent Deacons, said he met Dcn. Amos during his deacon formation classes in the late 1980s. Dcn. Milligan and Healey both remembered that Dcn. Amos and his wife Betty attended all the weekend classes at Sid Richardson Scout Ranch.

“His perspective on the needs of the Church and his sense of humor were invaluable resources,” Healey said. “After the program began, Butch and Betty, as a deacon couple, faithfully made themselves available during formation weekends to talk with and encourage the candidates and their wives. They provided a wonderful role model for the blending of marriage and diaconal ministry,” she said.

Dcn. Milligan said he became director of Permanent Deacons after Dcn. Amos retired in May 1991.

“Butch was very much a mentor for me,” Dcn. Milligan said. “Whenever Butch indicated that he had recommended me to take his place at the diocese, I was taken aback because I had only been ordained a short period. I said I would do it as long as I could have his phone number. Butch continued to be there for me throughout the years,” he said.

Dcn. Milligan said he also remembered that Dcn. Amos was a humble man with a great sense of humor.

“Butch had a listening ear, and he was able to empathize and be there for other people. Butch was very honest and direct. He was always very pastoral in his ministry. He helped people feel good about themselves,” he said.

In addition to parish ministry, Dcn. Amos also served as a volunteer chaplain at DFW Airport, diocesan Scouting chaplain, and as associate chaplain for Knights of Columbus Council 4191 in Fort Worth.

In addition to serving on committees and boards and performing dozens of baptisms and weddings, Dcn. Amos also officiated more than 625 funerals as the “on call” Catholic Chaplain to the local funeral homes, hospitals, and nursing homes, Danny Amos said.

“He was nicknamed ‘Burying Butch’ by the deacons in the area,” he said.

Pat Amos said in his eulogy that he and his siblings learned many life lessons from his dad while growing up in their large family including being humble; to love, respect and be loyal to your spouse; provide for and protect your children from financial anxiety; have a sense of humor; spread joy through song; be a top shelf good Samaritan; and how to die in faith and peace.

Dcn. Amos is preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth. He is survived by his daughter, Terilee Steelman and husband, Dr. Ronald Steelman, of North Carolina; sons, Stephen and wife, Sharon, of Wimberly; Patrick and wife, Nancy of Plano; Daniel and wife, Jana, of Plano; Michael and wife, Judy, of Fort Worth; Christopher and wife, Gail, of Aledo; and Peter and wife, Betsy, of Georgia; fourteen grandchildren; twenty great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Deacon Clarence Albert "Butch" Amos, 91, the most senior ordained Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Fort Worth and a retired U.S. Air Force major, died Wednesday, Jan. 25. Retired diocesan employee Ann Healey remembers Dcn. Amos, former diocesan director of Permanent Deacons, as being instrumental in its formation of permanent deacons. "Butch Amos was very supportive to me, as I set up the Office of Permanent Deacon Formation in the diocese in 1984," said Ann Healey, who retired in 2010 after 26 years of service as the diocese’s director of Permanent Deacon formation program. "This was [our] first office for the formation of permanent deacons, and Butch was so effective in helping ‘spread the word’ to pastors and parishes that the Diocese of Fort Worth would now be forming its own permanent deacons," she said.

Published (until 1/9/2115)
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