It is always traumatic to lose a good friend, especially one that you so much admired and appreciated every second of his time. Eric Butlein passed away on June 15, 2020, at the age of 78. My wife, Bev, and I first met Eric and his wife, Jayne, 46 years ago when we were pregnant with our sons. Eric and I attended baby delivery classes with our wives and developed a lifelong friendship. Eric was an astute and thoughtful businessman who created Computer People Unlimited, which was eventually acquired by Compuware, a then publicly traded corporation in 1994. The sale of CPU was followed with other successful business ventures, and Eric served as a mentor to others in need. Eric was measured, had solid judgment, and an analytical mind that could easily identify and resolve problems. He was a people’s person, and was loved by his employees because he treated them as equals and with the utmost of respect. His advice was “golden.”
His financial successes led to the acquisition of a beautiful estate in River Hills. He and Jayne graciously opened their home to their family and friends, and they frequently hosted charitable and political events. Eric and Jayne were revered leaders, active in their community, and were honored by dozens of organizations for their dedication, commitment, and generosity.
During his retirement, which was only a retirement in name, Eric was able to intensify his most beloved of activities, including physical workouts, bridge, bicycling, and spending quality time with his family and friends. Eric was often sought out during his retirement for his business acumen and his ability to mentor.
Eric was also an avid learner. I asked him to attend my Marquette University Law School Class entitled Sports Venues: From Election Day to Opening Day and to participate as a financial advisor and assist the students in creating a plan for the new Bucks’ arena. The students and I were absolutely amazed. His knowledge, his insight, his foresight, his ability to communicate, the directions that he gave, and his communal spirit will never be forgotten by the Marquette law students that he helped guide. The plan that was ultimately created through the guidance of Eric Butlein was submitted to the Bucks as a recommendation for the future. Eric had a unique ability to communicate. He knew how to turn his brilliance into action. Everyone who experienced any contact with Eric had the highest degree of admiration and respect for this gentle giant.
It is for those reasons and so much more, that I dedicate these two articles that I have written for Sport$Biz about the Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum: The Bucks Make Milwaukee’s Future Bright – A Thank you (December 1, 2018) and The Deer District (April 1, 2020) to Eric Butlein, who will be greatly and forever missed. .
Eric, you are a blessing in our lives. May you rest in peace and know that those left behind are thinking of you, admiring you, and hearing your incomparable voice of reason.