Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Remembering Grandpa

Eulogy for Louis Edward Butler
March 16, 1923 - July 27, 2005

by Mark Edward Butler, grandson
at the funeral service
July 30, 2005

Louis Edward Butler was born March 16, 1923, at Haswell, Colorado to Jesse L. Butler and Mable E. (Davis) Butler. He was the first of their four sons and was followed by brothers Charles, Eldon, and Delbert.

Grandpa was a great story teller and loved to reminisce about his childhood, and often told us stories about his experiences. He loved to make a good story just a little better, so if anything we say here today isn’t quite how it really happened, it’s okay. Grandpa loved to embellish his stories and never told the same story twice.

Grandpa love to reminisce about the summers he spent at the Harriman’s ranch in Fowler. He had many aunts and uncles and it seems like countless cousins. He and his cousin, Clark Harriman were very close while growing up and that closeness continued as adults. Family relationships were very important to him, and he loved staying in touch with his relatives all through his life. A highlight for him in his later years was receiving the Davis family round robin letter in his mailbox.

He grew up in Pueblo and was active in the church during his youth. Grandma just told us the story about the day she fell in love with Grandpa. She was just 12 years old and he was 14 when they were at a church activity. He walked past her, and in typical 14 year old boy fashion, stepped on her shoelace so her shoe came untied. She was in love! They went together from that time on with the exception of her sophomore year in high school when they didn’t even speak to each other!

Grandpa enlisted in the Navy during World War II and was sent to Seattle, Washington. The war messed up his plans, as he had to leave his sweetheart, Leona, behind. But that was a temporary separation as she soon boarded a train in Pueblo that was filled with soldiers moving between assignments. With notarized letters from both mothers giving them permission to marry in her possession, Leona joined him in Seattle. They didn’t have to use her permission slip since they weren’t married until 3 days after her 18th birthday on November 17, 1943. However, since he was only 20, he was considered "underage" and had to prove his parents' permission. They lived together in Seattle until he was assigned to Adak in the Aleutian Islands and she returned to Pueblo.

After his discharge in 1945, he returned to Pueblo and enrolled in the junior college to get his education. He played football and basketball on the college team and Grandma often traveled with him on the team bus to out of town games.

They quickly started (and finished) their family when their four sons were born in 2 years and 8 months, Lou, Jr, Jim, and the twins Tom & Don.

He was called back into the service during the Korean War and left Grandma and the four little boys in the care of the parents while he served his country for a second time.

Grandpa completed his education in 1954, graduating from Colorado State College of Education at Greeley (now called UNC) with his Master’s Degree in Education Supervision and began his career as a principal in School District 60 in Pueblo where he worked for 33 years, retiring in 1983.

While his sons were young, Grandpa was very involved in Boy Scouts, and along with his brother Chuck, helped each of his four sons and Chuck’s two sons achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. He was awarded the Silver Beaver by the Boy Scouts of America for his outstanding years of service.

He served in many capacities in the church including Bishop and Stake President. He gave many hours of church service and traveled thousands of miles around the Colorado Springs and Pueblo Stakes visiting the wards and branches. Grandma always went with him and they were both loved by the church members in those stakes.

After he retired, Grandpa and Grandma served their first mission as institute directors at Haskell Junior College in Lawrence, Kansas. The Indian students there loved them as their own parents. Grandpa and Grandma taught institute classes, played countless games of ping-pong and pool, made popcorn, baked goodies, took the students to the store, and many other things during the three years they served. They also served a temple mission in the Swiss and Frankfurt temples.

Grandpa loved to travel and got great joy from hooking up his 5th wheel trailer and truck and heading out to visit the kids and grandkids. They took cruises to Alaska and the Panama Canal, long road trips to church history and temple sites, and car trips wherever they could.

Grandpa is survived by a large family and many friends who will miss him greatly.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Radio School Graduate

Lou Butler - Bud Burns - Rob DeTar

The dorms were quiet at night and I had three great guys for roommates. None of them liked to drink, and for some reason their language was not nearly as vulgar as I had gotten used to at Boot Camp and Ship’s Company. My roommates were Bud Burns, from someplace in the Midwest I think – maybe Indiana, Rob Roy DeTar from Denver, and Fred Busch from Cheyenne, Wyoming. They were all three real nice guys. I was lucky to get them for roommates because they wanted to study and do a good job, and they went to bed on time, etc. Some of the guys were always wanting to sneak out of the dorms and go downtown at night to get beer, so I was lucky. Some of them spent all of their money on booze and wanted to borrow money all of the time also.

Bud Burns - Lou Butler

Rob Roy DeTar - Lou Butler

When we went to town on liberty, we usually went to a show or to eat in a restaurant. Sometimes we would go down to Lewiston, which was a rough logging town. Most of all, though, it was a bus ride down a long hill that wound around and zig-zagged down the hill. We could see the river and the whole town from the bus. Those old buses really groaned going back up the hill.

It was a great place to be after boot camp. Good food cooked by the civilian cooks of the college, and plenty of it. The rooms held just 4 men each, and that was great after the large numbers per room at Boot Camp. It was also nice to be able to walk downtown and see civilians and to be in a college atmosphere, even though there were mainly sailors around.

Certificate of Completion - Navy Training School (Radio)
Scores listed on back:
Code Sending: 18 wpm -
Code Receiving: 18 wpm
Typing: 58 wpm -
Radio Theory: 88%
Radio Procedure: 86%

Radio School Company - University of Idaho, Moscow - August 1943
Lou Butler, 2nd Row (follow the arrow)

I finished the school and received my 3rd Class stripes at the end of the summer (August 2, 1943) and had a 30-day leave. I was assigned to another school, this time on Bainbridge Island in the Puget Sound area just across from the Seattle docks, in the downtown of Seattle. I didn’t exactly know what I was getting into, but I knew that the FBI had been all around our neighborhood in Pueblo asking questions about me. People were asking the folks why they were interviewed as to my character. It turned out to be for security clearance, which was necessary for the school I was going to attend. The new assignment was an advanced radio school which was kept top secret at the time.

Radio School Graduate
August 2, 1943

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Eagle's Nest

Lou was involved in Scouting from the time he was a young boy, and continued the tradition with his sons and nephews. The following picture and story appeared in the Pueblo newspaper on February 7, 1964:

In 1961 Lou, Jr. and Jim received their Eagle Scout awards.

In 1963 the twins joined the prestigious group.

The Butler family Eagle tradition has continued as several of the grandsons (those pictured below as well as others) have earned the award. While processing Dad's memories, I found these pictures and the following journal entry.

December 29, 1989
Jeremy - Chuck - Tom - Chuck - Grandpa Lou

January 3, 1990 - One of the highlights of our stay [during Christmas break, 1989 in Germany] was the Eagle Court of Honor for Tom and Chuckie. They are both taller than I am now, and such big good looking kids. And they are doing great in school as well as in Scouts and church. Jeremy is a Star Scout now and headed for his Eagle as soon as he is eligible, but that will have to be in the States now. He is also getting big, almost as tall as I am.

And these words, hand written on the back of the program for that Eagle Court of Honor, are representative of how proud Grandpa was of all of his Eagle Scout grandsons:

"Great thrills:
Father - to see sons become Eagles

Grandfather - to see grandsons become Eagles"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Naval Radio School - Moscow, Idaho

Lou Butler - Jim Shelhammer
Moscow, Idaho - April, 1943

By the time I got to Radio School [about April 1, 1943], Jim Shelhammer had already been there for 3 months and was about ready to leave for active duty. We were lucky to have one weekend together for liberty. He was leaving for San Francisco, California for duty. We had lived in the same neighborhood almost all of our lives and we, along with his older brother, did everything together for as long as I can remember. We had joined the Navy together, following his older brother (who was my age) and no we were going to separate again, and it turned out to be for several years until the war was over. By then I was married and we never saw a whole lot of each other after leaving Moscow that spring day. He still lives in the same neighborhood where we grew up and his brother lives just a few blocks away, so I used to see them once in a while, but we have different interests now.

Chrisman Hall, Room 316
University of Idaho - Moscow
"This is our 'barracks' - pretty classy beside the Army's cots. That is all thick lawn that you see, and only about a third of it on our 'yard.'"

I was sure I was going to like this place [University of Idaho in Moscow], especially that mess hall we now called a cafeteria! And another surprise came when we were eating the first time. We saw the old timers there gulping down their fresh milk and just reaching for the pitcher which was on the table and filling up their glasses again. Then when the pitcher was empty, they just held it up in the air and one of those young co-eds who worked in the cafeteria would come over and hand him a full pitcher and take the empty one back to the kitchen! Loving cold fresh milk like I did (and could drink it then) I thought this place was great.

Lou in doorway of Chrisman Hall
May 15, 1943

I thought it might all end, but it didn’t. I continued to like the place all of the time I was there. There were long hours of study and practice, trying to get my speed up in receiving code (thank goodness I could already type fast enough to qualify) but the rest of it was work. I decided that these college kids had it made.

University of Idaho - Moscow, Idaho
This is a picture of the campus. The big building in the upper left is the gym we use - it sure is neat. Pretty nice, huh?

We had to do some marching, but mainly just to our classrooms and back to the dorm, not a lot of drill. Then we got to go over to the college gymnasium for exercise and recreation, which I liked.

Lou on the lawn in front of Chrisman Hall

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Memories of Grandpa Davis

As a young boy, Lou spent a lot of time with his Davis grandparents - Della and Harker. These are just a few of his recorded memories.

Grandpa Davis’ Meals

Charles Harker Davis was the head of a large family: 6 boys and 8 girls (7 living.) There was no doubt in anyone’s mind as to who was “the man.”

After chores were done and it was time for breakfast, Grandpa took his place at the head of the table, and the six boys sat down. They didn’t bless the food (to the best of my knowledge), but there was a moment of waiting until Grandpa was served. It was a large meal as it often had to last until evening as he would often be gone all day on the open prairie.

Card Games – “High Five”

Whenever the family got together after most of them were married, it was customary to go coyote hunting in the morning and home to a big dinner.

After the dinner, Grandpa, who was always served first and finished first, would get out the card tables and the cards.

During the card games there was lots of teasing, joking, and good times. As teenagers we would give our eye teeth to get a seat at the card table. There would often be a dozen or more games going at one time – no smoking! Only one son and one daughter smoked, but not in front of Grandpa, who smoked, rolling his own. But he never smoked in the house.

Hiring Herders

It was always fun to go with Grandpa Davis when he needed to hire sheep herders or extras for lambing season or shearing season.

Outside of Las Animas was a place where people from Mexico would come and live in a little “barrio” which was a few long adobe building consisting of many small apartments.

This was during the early and middle 1930’s depression, and there were always many men looking for work, and they worked very cheaply.

We would drive into the parking area, and by the time we stopped there would be a huge crowd around the car. They would all be asking questions in Spanish and pushing.

I don’t know how Grandpa selected the ones he hired, but he did, and in just a few minutes they would be back with bags of clothes and be ready to go.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Double the Fun!

During the summer I worked for the Recreation Department of the City of Pueblo and also for R.B. Flemons and Sons Concessionaires. While I was at a job at the horse races in Brush, Colorado, our twin sons were born on July 3, 1949, Charles Thomas and Donald Eldon.

Leona actually tells of this event with a lot more detail - maybe she'll put it in a comment so we have "the rest of the story!"

Don - Tom

Don - Tom

Tom - Don

Happy Birthday to the twins!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Becoming a Sailor

Picture a 19 year old boy leaving home to go to Naval Boot Camp:

In front of the family home in Pueblo, Colorado

Newspaper announcement of Lou's enlistment
October 1942

"Going to the Navy"
Kenny Hood - Lou Butler - Jim Shelhammer

Lou didn't record anything about his actual experience at boot camp, but these excerpts from his account of his next assignment at Radio School indicate that boot camp accommodations were not luxurious!

When I arrived in Moscow [Idaho] and was taken up to this beautiful dorm, I could hardly believe that I would be living here after living in that ugly, crowded barracks for what seemed like an eternity. But there it was, and I was hauling my sea bag into it just though I had earned it!

It was even a greater surprise when we went to chow that evening and saw food cooked by women who were pleasant, instead of the faces of those sailors on KP who resented doing that job and resented serving us. These people actually acted like it was a privilege to be serving us and they were even asking if we wanted more!

If you have never had to live in a barracks with 120 other people, you can’t appreciate what it is like to be assigned to a room with just 3 other guys. And we even had our own shower, wash basins, and toilet! And the water was hot!

Boot Camp - 1943