Edward Livingston Butterworth

Obituary
  • "My sincerest sympathies to Mrs. Butterworth and the..."
    - Marilyn R. Lohman
  • "Ed Butterworth was my friend. He wasn't a law practice..."
    - William Ahlborn
  • "As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's..."
    - Sharon (Koch) Peterson
  • "As a member of the 'FEDCO Family', I wanted to again convey..."
    - Raymond & Christine Newman
  • "My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this..."
    - Lisa Perra

Edward Livingston Butterworth
May 24, 1914 - April 29, 2014


Edward Butterworth, a longtime resident of Arcadia, and former CEO and President of FEDCO, passed away at his Arcadia home on April 29, less than a month shy of his 100th birthday.

Mr. Butterworth believed in scholarship, duty, commitment and hard work. It was his pleasure to serve his community and his church, and his honor and delight to be married to Shirley Townsend, his wife of 67 years.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Mr. Butterworth attended Stanford University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and political science, and three years later his Doctor of Law degree from Stanford Law School. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, The Order of the Coif and was awarded the Felix Frankfurter Law Scholarship at Harvard Law School.

After three years serving as a naval officer in World War II, Mr. Butterworth became a deputy in the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States, then opened his own law practice in downtown Los Angeles.

Twice Mayor of Arcadia, Mr. Butterworth served a total of 12 years on the Arcadia City Council. He was also a member of the Arcadia School Board for four years, with one term as President of the Board. Mr. Butterworth and his wife, Shirley, joined the Church of the Good Shepherd in Arcadia in its infancy and helped it expand and grow to its current size. He served as Vice President of the church board and Trustee.

One of the threads running through Mr. Butterworth's entire life was his love of scouting. He became a Boy Scout in 1926, at the age of 12, and an Eagle Scout at 14. He spent many years at Emerald Bay Boy Scout Camp on Catalina, first as a camper, and later as an assistant camp director. In fact, Mr. Butterworth studied for the California Bar on a self-made table in the hills behind Emerald Bay while working there. He was Past President of the San Gabriel Valley Council of the Boy Scouts. .

While practicing law in Los Angeles, Mr. Butterworth also acted as General Counsel to FEDCO for 26 years, and in 1958 was elected to the Board of Directors. He guided FEDCO in several legal battles, one of which became a landmark case, determining whether manufacturers could dictate to retailers the prices of their products. Manufacturers sued FEDCO, and out of 31 lawsuits Mr. Butterworth defended - suits brought by companies such as General Electric, Sunbeam, Westinghouse and Revlon - Mr. Butterworth prevailed in 29 of them. Ultimately, although the Supreme Court issued a decision averse to FEDCO, General Electric gave up its attempt to dictate prices, opening the way for discount stores across the country to set their own pricing. Upon retiring from his law practice at age 63, Butterworth became President and Chief Executive Officer of FEDCO on January 1, 1978. He spent 19 years guiding FEDCO through good times, recession and the advent of the big national box stores. When he retired in 1997 at the age of 83, and despite the economic conditions, FEDCO was a popular regional chain with 10 stores and no debt.

Throughout his law and FEDCO careers, for more than 30 years, Mr. Butterworth spent his weekends running an alfalfa farm in the Owens Valley, where he was well-known.

Mr. Butterworth was Past President of the Stanford Law Society of Southern California and was a 32nd degree Mason and Shriner.


Edward Butterworth is survived by his wife, Shirley; sons Edward Jr., Kenneth and David; and daughters Lynne and Lorell. He is also survived by five grandchildren: Hayley, Alec and Elizabeth Neumeyer; and Ellen and Caitlin Butterworth.

His funeral will be held on Saturday, May 10, at 10:30am in the small chapel at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Arcadia, 400 West Duarte Road.
Published in Pasadena Star-News from May 6 to May 9, 2014
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