Friday, January 8, 2016

Gene Warren Butler, BHS 1945

Gene Warren Butler, 82, passed away on February 10, 2010 in his home located in Scottsdale, Arizona following an extended illness. He was born on April 7, 1927 in Kansas City, Missouri. He spent most of the early years of his life in Burbank, California. He graduated from Burbank High School in the fall semester of 1945. He then attended Glendale (California) Junior College and being classified 1A in the draft, he was drafted shortly there after into the army in early 1946. He was then sent to Camp Roberts and was being trained for the invasion of Japan, when the bombing of Japan ended the war. He was then sent to Nome, Alaska. He spent a little over a year in Alaska and was then honorably discharged. He returned home and resumed his life long dream of being a professional baseball pitcher. ...............With the help of the Fifty-Two Twenty Club (unemployment fifty-two weeks with $20 dollars per week) veteran's benefit, he signed a baseball Minor League contract with the Cleveland Indians Minor League Farm Club, known as the Tucson Cowboys, in the old Arizona-Texas Baseball League. His baseball league career was short lived so he returned home and decided he needed to get a real job. He found a truck driving job with Dunn-Edwards Paint in Glendale, California. This was the start of his 54 year career with Dunn-Edwards. He worked as a truck driver, clerk, store manager, and outside salesman. In 1954 he was offered a job to come to Phoenix, Arizona as their store manager. He moved his wife Clara, and their three small children: Janet, Nancy and Brian to the Valley of the Sun. .......................
When he arrived in Phoenix he found that the store had only three employees. The store was located at 3119 North Central Avenue across the street from where the Park Central shopping mall would later be built. There were cows grazing in the field since it was the Old Central Park Dairy. In 1964 Dunn-Edwards built a store at 233 East Camelback Road where he spent the rest of his career until retirement. He always enjoyed his association with his fellow employees. He often said the success he enjoyed was the true relationships that he had developed with his fellow employees and customers. He called on hundreds of painting contractors in his 54 year career, among them were some of the legends in the painting industry. They included his sales manager Jim Murphy; and names like Ernie Sauer, Bill Reagan, Jerry King, Carrol Smith and Mickey Smith are just a few of his customers that helped mold the residential and commercial painting industry in Phoenix. ......................He and his first wife Clara were blessed with 3 children, 9 grandchildren, and 16 great grandchildren. He has one surviving sister Laura Geary of McMinnville, Oregon along with a stepdaughter Marissa, son-in-law Harry Spieker and granddaughter Allison. ............................Funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 20, 2010, 10:00 A.M. at A.L. Moore Grimshaw Mortuary located at 710 West Bethany Home Road in Phoenix, AZ. In Lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to Hospice of the Valley. Interment will be at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona on Monday, February 22, 2010. The grave will be dedicated on the following Saturday in a private family ceremony. ...........Published in The Arizona Republic from Feb. 18 to Feb. 20, 2010

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