BLOOMINGTON — Andy Butler of Normal, a Sprint Corp. national account manager, was remembered by former colleagues as a "great mentor" and "great human being" who never shied away from doing a good deed for his friends and co-workers.
Butler, 40, was among seven people killed in a plane crash early Tuesday near Bloomington.
"I was lucky to have him as my mentor," said Matt Dickey, who worked at Sprint's corporate office in Bloomington-Normal with Butler from 2006 until Dickey took a job with another firm in Champaign in 2014.
For several years, Butler was Dickey's sales manager until Butler was promoted to national account manager with State Farm as his major client.
"He was someone who was always looking out for you. I have three children and he was always interested in what my family was doing," Dickey recalled. "I was truly blessed to work for him."
Dickey said Butler was not married but had a longtime girlfriend. Butler, who was from the Champaign-Urbana area, graduated from Illinois State University in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in marketing.
Butler was a supporter of ISU athletics through the Weisbecker Scholarship Fund. Dickey said Butler attended many ISU home and away games, Dickey recalled.
"What a great human being he was," added Michael Kilian, referring to Butler, whom he worked with at Sprint for 1½ years, beginning in 2013.
"When he didn't know me very well, he did a great deed for me and my family," said Kilian, who now works for Nitel telecommunications networks in Chicago.
Kilian told Butler he and his daughter were going to visit the University of Alabama, which she was considering attending. Butler arranged for the assistant athletic director to give Kilian, and his daughter "an extensive tour of the famous University of Alabama football stadium ... a tour my daughter will never forget," said Kilian.
When Butler made a friend "he made a friend for life," added Kilian. "He had contacts everywhere. He never shied away from doing a great gesture and he never asked for anything in return for that."