Beneath the Gay Head Lighthouse Sunday, Islanders celebrated the life of late Aquinnah resident Len Butler, known to many as “the man who moved the lighthouse.”

Mr. Butler’s epitaph was earned eight years ago when he successfully led a campaign to relocate the Gay Head Lighthouse away from a rapidly-eroding seaside cliff. He died on July 5 and the lighthouse, said his wife Mallory Butler, seemed the most fitting place for a memorial ceremony.

During the service, family members, friends and colleagues of Mr. Butler took turns reading from The Book of Len, a name crafted by Ms. Butler for a collection of eulogies about the many stages of Mr. Butler’s life.

Mallory Butler shares a moment with Isaac Taylor. — Ray Ewing

Ms. Butler spoke first, and told the story of their first date.

“We walked into the student center at Rutgers University… and we ended up sitting there at a table till after dark,” she said. “We literally laughed the entire time at each others’ jokes. It was like a shooting star had landed on our table.”

On July 4, the night before Mr. Butler, 74, died, the couple sat surrounded by family at the dinner table and shared laughs as they did on their first date. It was the most peaceful way, said Ms. Butler, to bid farewell to her husband.

Many family members followed with jovial tales of Mr. Butler’s childhood and career, telling them through laughs and tears.

Richard Skidmore, former keeper of the Gay Head Lighthouse, reminisced about working with Mr. Butler to move the lighthouse.

“Now, eight years after the move, it is a pleasure as always to be on this marvelous site,” he said.

It was Mr. Skidmore who first realized that the lighthouse was in peril when he noticed the fencing normally erected around the park had tumbled down a cliff. The lighthouse, which sat 46 feet away from the cliff’s edge, was surely to be next, he said.

At the time, the lighthouse was owned by the federal government. Working with Mr. Butler, he pushed the town of Aquinnah to purchase the property and relocate the 224-year-old and 400-ton structure approximately 134 feet farther from the cliff.

Len Butler was known to many as the man who helped move Gay Head Lighthouse back from an eroding cliff. — Ray Ewing

“[Mr. Butler] wanted it to stand tall and straight after it was moved,” said Mr. Skidmore. “And over the next couple of days after the move, you can be sure that he and I were driving around looking at it from every angle to make sure it was going to be straight.”

Local singer-songwriter Isaac Taylor serenaded the crowd with Red Queen, a song he wrote and dedicated to the lighthouse.

“[Mr. Butler] was a pearl to me, and we all gravitate to this place where his luster is so, so bright,” he said before the song.

The ceremony concluded with a blessing from Wampanoag medicine man Jason Baird. As he prayed and the family and friends of Mr. Butler grew silent, rain began to fall, obscuring the tears that fell with it.