Earl Butler, 69
Friday, December 23, 2011
From Austin, Minnesota Daily Herald
Earl “Butch” Butler, 69, of Campbell, Calif., formerly of Austin, Minn., died Dec. 21, 2011, at Kaiser Santa Clara Medical Center in Santa Clara, Calif.
He was born Sept. 27, 1942, in Austin, to George and Evelyn (Fairchild) Butler. Earl graduated Austin High School, where he played on the varsity basketball team. Butler later attended Austin Community College and majored in business administration and continued his basketball career. He married Mary Lou Pinke at Grace Lutheran Church on Nov. 25, 1961, in Austin, Minn.
Earl Butler, with his parents, founded Butler Amusements, Inc. in 1970. Through his unbelievable charisma and compassion, his company became the largest carnival on the West Coast. He served as President and CEO of his family owned and operated business which provides the carnival for 34 fairs and more than 80 events and festivals operating more than 140 rides. Through his ambition and uncanny ability to create a tight-knit culture and family atmosphere, he created a legacy that will carry on for generations.
His creativity and innovative skills made him one of the most respected carnival industry leaders in the nation. He was honored to be inducted into the Western Fairs Hall of Fame at the association’s 2005 convention in recognition of his outstanding service to the industry and the countless fairs where he provided the carnival. He was one of the strongest voices in promoting improved carnival ride safety and game legislation in California. He served in many leadership capacities, including president of the Showfolks of America, Showmen’s League of America, and Pacific Coast Showmen’s League, Service Member Director of the Western Fairs Association, member of the Board of Directors for Preferred Amusement Risk and chairman of its Loss Prevention Committee.
Earl was an avid sports fan, basketball being his favorite. It taught him the meaning of teamwork and a winning, competitive attitude. Only second to his devotion to his family was his love for charity work. Earl was responsible for thousands of fundraising carnivals, was the leader in funding numerous public and private academic scholarship programs, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to local 4-H organizations and many other charitable endeavors, too numerous to name
Earl Butler is survived by daughters, Tami Quint, Los Banos, Calif., Kelley Butler, Stevinson, Calif., Kris Brajevich, San Jose, Jill Moyer, Morgan Hill, Calif., and his son, Sean Butler-Murphy, Campbell, Calif.; 12 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his parents, George and Evelyn Butler and his daughter, Teri Sue.
Funeral service will be 1 p.m. Jan. 3, 2012, at St. Christopher’s Church, 1576 Curtner Ave., San Jose, Calif. 95125. Visitation will be from noon to 5 p.m. Jan. 2, 2012 at Oak Hills Funeral Home, 300 Curtner Ave., San Jose.