Larry Meyer Argus observer


Malheur County lost a longtime business and community leader and Boy Scout advocate, with the recent death of Ross Butler.

Butler, 88, passed away Saturday. Memorial services were held Thursday and today.

Ross Erin Butler was born June 16, 1916, in Manard, near Fairfield to John Lowe Butler III and Bertha Malvina Thurber.

He and his wife, Margie (deceased) came to Malheur County in the 1940s.

According to Bob Butler, one of Butler's four sons, his father was working for the Idaho Power Company, when the family moved to the Treasure Valley and then hooked up with Nephi and Golden Grigg in 1946, to form the Grigg Brothers & Butler Company which evolved into Ore-Ida Foods.

Butler said after Ore-Ida was sold to H.J. Heinz, his father stayed with the company for a while and then bought the Grigg Brothers and Butler Insurance and real estate business back from Heinz, operating them again until his retirement. He still continued to be involved in real estate matters, Butler said.

Prior to his death, Butler was the last living founder of Ore-Idaho.

It wasn't just Butler's business sense, however, that benefited the Treasure Valley.

Most recently, Butler was honored in January for 70 years of registration with the Boy Scouts of America, having begun scouting at age 12. He had served on the Ore-Ida Boy Scout Council executive board since the 1940s. Bob Butler said his father had received the Silver Beaver and Silver Antelope Awards and he and Farris Lind were instrumental is establishing the current Scout Service Center in Boise

Besides, the Scouts, Ross Butler was very active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving in many ward and stake positions, and serving a mission in Merced, Calif, with his wife, Margie. Butler also served on the Vale Union High School District Board and was a member of the Vale Lions Club, the Association of American Retired Persons and the Malheur Country Historical Society.

Bob Butler said his father also reached out to help young people in other ways besides scouting, particularly in education. Ross Butler made sizable donations to the University of Idaho, his alma mater and to Utah Valley State College. To honor this gift, the college established the Ross and Margie Institute for International Understanding. There was also a donation of ranch property to Brigham Young University Idaho, Butler said. His parents also made a donation to the Four Rivers Cultural Center for the Native American Exhibit.

His father preferred to do his service quietly, behind scenes, without a lot of fanfare, Bob Butler said. "He did enjoy the awards from the Boy Scouts."

Butler's love for the Boy Scouts of America ran so deep, that in his passing, it is asked memorials in lieu of flowers be made to the organization.

Ross and Margie had nine children in all. They are Dr. Ross Erin Jr. (Rusty) and Danielle, Orem, Utah, Nancy Butler, Bend, Robert (Bob) and Sandy, Vale, Tom and Darlene, Ontario, MaryAnne and Marlowe Ashton, Orem, Utah, Paul and Terrilyn, Fruitland, Susan and Gary McCarney, Payette, Edith and Lee Lowe, Imbler, and Marty and Brian Rudd, Brentwood, Calif.

He is also survived by 55 grandchildren, almost 100 great-grand children, four great-great-grandchildren and two of his 10 siblings.

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