Reeves A. “Butch” Thielen

Reeves A. “Butch” Thielen passed away July 10th, 2020 at the age of 81.

He was born 4/21/1939 in Brainerd, Minnesota. His father looked west to Seattle and the prospect of a job at Boeing. His wife and kids followed him in 1942. But Butch got the measles and the car broke down, forcing them to end their journey in Kittitas County. It was there they stayed.

After high school, Butch worked in the woods for a couple of years before accepting a trainee position with the National Weather Service at Stampede Pass in 1959. It would become his career, putting in close to 40 years before he retired.

He married Rheta Peele in 1964 and started a family. His work took them to several locations in Alaska, and another stop in Arizona, before landing in Yakima in 1977 where he lived until he retired. After that, he moved to Easton for good. The kids were grown and Rheta left to follow her own pursuits. During that time, he enjoyed quiet days on the land he loved so much.

Butch lived many years with MS and survived cancer twice. Rheta returned to Washington in 2002 and took up the position of partner and caretaker. In recent years he relied on his wheelchair and his four-wheeler to get him around. He found ever-inventive ways to do the things he wanted, despite the limits his body placed on him.

Butch was a kind, quiet man. He loved being outside where he could often be seen with his faithful canine companion of many years, Bucko. He spent time hunting, fishing and snowmobiling before his legs stopped doing what he wanted them to. He was always up for a round of cards, especially cribbage. He loved to tinker in his work shed.

Butch was preceded in death by his parents, Al and Evelyn (Casey) Thielen; and his brother-in-law, Glenn “Bud” Graham.

He leaves behind his three children: Shannon Taylor, Eric (JoAnne) Thielen and Holly (Dan) Robinson; his wife Rheta; his sister Barbara and the Graham cousins; six grandchildren; and one great-grandson.

Johnston-Williams Funeral Home of Cle Elum has been entrusted with caring for Butch’s family. Online condolences may be left at