Robert Clifton Butler, of Essex Fells, passed away peacefully at home on Sept. 20, 2020, surrounded by his family. He was 90.

A native of Glen Ridge, Mr. Butler graduated from Glen Ridge High School and from the University of Notre Dame in 1952. He served in the Army in Japan from 1953 to 1955 and was honorably discharged as a specialist, third class. Upon completion of his service, he received a master’s in finance from the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania in 1956.

Mr. Butler spent the remainder of his 50-year career in finance, beginning as an auditor at Sylvania Electric Products Inc. and advancing through several financial positions at GTE, Inmont and RCA. Later, he rose to the level of chief financial officer, first at NBC, then at the International Paper Co., and finally at the Celgene Corp. 

Nearing retirement, he chaired the Financial Accounting Advisory Council of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, and served on the boards of NVR Inc. and Carter Holt Harvey.

Mr. Butler gave to his community, serving as vice president of the board of trustees of the Montclair Art Museum, chairman of the board of the United Way of Greater Newark, councilman in Essex Fells, chair of the Zoning Board of Essex Fells, and chairman of the board of directors of the COPE Center in Montclair. 

In addition, he served as a board member of the Montclair Foundation, a member of the finance committee at the Westmoor Club, vice president and treasurer of the board of trustees of the Montclair Golf Club and, most recently, as chairman of the investment committee of the Archdiocese of Newark.

Mr. Butler is survived by his devoted wife of 64 years, Eileen Hudson Butler, three sons, Christopher, John and Thomas, and their spouses, eight grandchildren, and his brother, Norman Butler of Point Pleasant.

A private Mass of Christian Burial was held on Sept. 23 at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church in Roseland. A celebration of Mr. Butler’s life is planned for spring 2021.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Catholic Charities. Donations may be made online at or by mail to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark, Development Office, 590 North Seventh St., Newark, NJ 07107.