Date of Death:  July 28, 2022

Service Details

Visitation beginning at 10:30 a.m., followed by a memorial Mass at 11 a.m. and luncheon will all be held on Saturday, August 13, 2022 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 645 S. Douglas Street, Three Rivers, MI 49093.

Interment will be at Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Rogers City, MI at a later date.

Obituary Notice

Captain Raymond Walter (Butch) Modrzynski: 5/15/1926-7/28/2022

Captain Raymond Walter (Butch) Modrzynski was born May 15, 1926, in Rogers City, MI, to Stanley and Frances (Romel) Modrzynski. He passed away at Bowman Place in Three Rivers, MI, on Thursday, July 28, 2022, at the age of 96.

Butch was the second oldest of 12 children, attended St. Ignatius Catholic School, and then Rogers City High School where he lettered in football the season of 1942. That next summer (June 1943) he went to work as a deck hand on the Great Lakes freighters and ended up making sailing on the Great Lakes his career. He had a short break when he was drafted January of 1945, spending 4 months as a private in the Army Infantry, then serving 18 months as a Tec 4 cook with the 610 Tank Destroyers in the Philippine Islands. Upon returning home, he resumed his sailing career, working his way “up the ladder,” eventually earning his way to the position of Captain, which he held until his retirement 38 years later on December 31, 1982. He was employed by United States Steel Corporation, USS Great Lakes Fleet, and certified by the U.S. Merchant Marine.

Butch met his wife, Caroline, at the Dairy Bar in Rogers City where she worked. They were married on January 7, 1950, and started their family which grew to 8 children, 14 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren, and 2 great-great grandchildren. “Grandpa Butch” was known for his loyalty and commitment to his wife and family. Many who knew him referred to him as “Captain Butch” and he mentored many young sailors coming through the ranks. His mother and sisters lovingly referred to him as “Raymee.” Butch was a member of the VFW Post 607 in Rogers City, a member of the International Ship Masters’ Association of the Great Lakes and a Life Member of the Knights of Columbus, Council 1705, earning Third Degree honors in March of 1957.

His hobbies included ice fishing, woodworking, painting, making latch hook rugs and crafts, making chooks (knitted winter hats for which Caroline made the pom poms that went atop them), and Christmas ornaments as well as taking meticulous care of his yard. He and Caroline (whom he affectionately referred to as Kal) enjoyed many years of retirement traveling around the United States in their 5th wheel, visiting family and making new friends wherever they landed. They moved from their lifelong home of Rogers City, MI, to Bowman Place in Three Rivers, MI, in August 2017.

Butch is survived by his wife of 72 years, Caroline, children Bill (Annielaurie) of Lawrence, KS, Paul (Donna) of Gaylord, MI, Jean (Felix) Skalski of Three Rivers, MI, Mary Jo (Kenton) Vaughn of Gulliver, MI, and Tomas (Jessica) of Three Rivers, MI, and daughters-in-law Dona Modrzynski of San Antonio, TX, and Debra Modrzynski, of Indian River, MI, as well as 2 brothers Clem of Alpena, MI, and James (Linda) of Manistee, MI, and 5 sisters: Genevieve (Frank) Gierak of Washington, MI, Patricia (Bernard) Malkowski, and Joyce (Ronald) Klee both of Houghton Lake, MI, Gladys (Ron) Kuznicki of Lupton, MI, and Charlene (Patrick) Leen of Nokomis, FL.

He was preceded in death by his parents, 2 brothers (Stanley, Jr. and Henry), 2 sisters (baby Esther and Frances/Fano), 2 adult sons David (Dona), James (Debra), and infant son John.

Additional Information

In lieu of flowers donations can be directed to the Charity of One’s Choice. Envelopes are available and may also be sent to Hohner Funeral Home, P.O. Box 1018, Three Rivers, MI 49093 in care of arrangements.

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  1. Sincerest condolences to all who loved “Captain Butch”. May your memories of his joyful life comfort you. Please keep in mind he is now again sailing the Great Lakes and beyond; surrounded by the love of his large family and friends until he is again reunited with you.

  2. My Deepest Sympathy to Caroline and the
    .Modrzynski family for the passing of Butch.
    I am so happy to have had a chance to have him share so many stories to me and others of his career on the Great Lakes.
    His stories and the love he showed his wife of 72 years tought me many things, that I will treasure in my heart forever.
    Arlene Parsons
    Bowman Place

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