Harry LaRue Butler
Harry LaRue Butler, 95, passed from this life on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021. Born to Fred Lee & Lucille Franklin Butler, sharecroppers in Newbern, TN, on August 29, 1925, the foundation of honesty & honor were instilled in him at an early age as was his extraordinary marksmanship with a slingshot and love for hunting & fishing. After suffering in abysmal poverty before & beyond the Great Depression, he left Memphis in the 10th grade to join the 2nd Division U.S. Marine Corps with his best friend, Thurman Mynatt. He proudly served our Nation at Tarawa, Tinian, Saipan & Okinawa in the WWII Pacific campaign and was honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant in 1946.
On his return to the United States, he married his Germantown high school sweetheart, Julia Ethleen Farley, the daughter of Forrest R. & Mozelle Reid Farley of Cordova, TN. After passing his GED, he attended Texas A&M University on the G.I. Bill and graduated at the top of his 1951 class with an architectural degree. He was also one of only two students to pass the National licensing test on their first attempt. Returning to Memphis, he joined the architecture firm, Mann & Shapley, where he worked until starting his business in 1963. His first design projects included the invention of "track lighting", construction of the original St. Jude Hospital and the sanctuary at Berclair Baptist Church, at the time having +2000 members. There are many other churches, schools, commercial buildings and homes bearing his unwavering seal of quality and professional integrity. His watchword was the Texas A&M Code of Honor: Aggies do not lie, cheat, or steal, nor do they tolerate those who do.
His hunting & fishing adventures were legendary prompting the publication of "Harry & Coach", a collection of stories by Barney L. Hitt III, the son of "Coach", Barney Hitt II, a dedicated, former Memphis police captain.
For someone to have risen as the Phoenix from the dirt of poverty and to have attained the polymath attributes & ideals of the Renaissance is a tribute to his inner circle of friends, Dan & Dennis Westmoreland, MDs and Fred Williams, MD, Dan Westmoreland, Jr., PhD, Kinnard Mayes, James Stricklin, Jim Wilson and all of the "lizards" at Highpocket's billiard parlor.
He was a Man of Purpose and would have tipped his hat to the memorable words of wisdom of General George S. Patton, Jr.:
"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."
His departure leaves behind four children, Norma (Roger) Powell, LaVerne (Tim) Wood, Forrest (Mary) Butler and Hal (Elaine) Butler, grandfather of eight, Daina Wood, Kristen (Matthew) Cox, Scott (Mariana) Powell, Eric Powell, Jennifer (Jack) Barron, Haley (Matthew) Crabtree, Julietta Butler and Melissa Butler, great-grandfather of four, Shawn, Chase & Liam Crabtree and Ian Barron.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers any memorial contributions be made to Berclair Baptist Church at 4584 Summer Avenue, Memphis, TN 38122. His remains will be cremated and a memorial service will be arranged with a USMC Rifle Detail in the future.
Published in The Commercial Appeal from Apr. 10 to Apr. 11, 2021.