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In Memoriam: Jim Butschli, ‘A Mainstay, a Rock, a Friend’

We are greatly saddened by the May 21, 2019 passing of Jim Butschli, Editor of Healthcare Packaging and Technical Editor of Packaging World.

Jim Butschli, Editor of Healthcare Packaging and Packaging World.
Jim Butschli, Editor of Healthcare Packaging and Packaging World.

Jim Butschli began with PMMI Media Group (then Summit Publishing) in 1994, having already established himself as an editorial powerhouse. Joe Angel, who hired Jim, recounted that his joining the team brought even more editorial credibility, noting that “several advertisers who had been holding out came with us in ’95 after seeing ‘we were for real.’… Not only was Jim a professional, he was a gentleman and a friend. He will be missed sorely by all of us and the packaging community.”

Over the next 25 years, Jim was a key member of the publications, as thoughtful and sweet as he was diligent at work. He was always concerned about people’s well-being. His calls and emails weren’t “all business.” He’d see how someone was doing, ask about their life and try to make them laugh.

Even after obtaining his cancer diagnosis, he wasted no opportunities to infuse his humor. He once had to go in for a battery of health tests and he let me know the next day that he definitely wasn’t pregnant. He loved cracking jokes, everything from self-deprecation to serialization. In Jim’s own words, “Cheesy is always good in California and Wisconsin.”

“Being the fine wordsmith that he was, he noticed quirky things people said or expressions they might mangle,” said long-time friend and colleague, Packaging World’s Editor Emeritus Pat Reynolds, on his humor. “He was an invaluable resource and a great packaging journalist. I was proud to call him my friend for nearly 30 years.”

What many people will likely miss about Jim is the way that he consistently put his Wisconsinite heart into everyday work situations. When I asked him about his pain, he was more concerned with whether I was ok with a string of work trips, making sure I wasn’t getting worn down amid the germs and “recirculated plane air.”

He was a dedicated team member outside of work as well. “Despite ongoing health issues, he persevered, taking great joy in his family and his musical role in church,” said PMMI VP Jim Chrzan, both a friend and colleague for decades.

The industry loses a friend

Jim established himself as an attentive and motivated editor with a gentle soul. “Everyone he ever interviewed or wrote about, without exception, would mention what a great guy Jim was,” said Chrzan.

Publisher Liz Tierney described him as a friend to many in the industry, adding, “A client recently referred to him in an email to me as ‘a mainstay, a rock, a friend’ and another said, ‘there are lots of people in my professional life…but none with Jim’s heart and grace.’ Jim will truly be missed, not just by the PMMI Media Group Family, but by many in the industry.”

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