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Steve Buttry

1954 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Steve Buttry Obituary
Steve Buttry

Baton Rouge, LA

Steve Buttry, a journalist for more than 45 years, died February 19 at age 62 of pancreatic cancer. Buttry spent most of his career as a reporter and editor, but achieved some prominence late in his career as a newsroom trainer, then as an advocate for digital journalism and media innovation and finally for blogging openly about his cancer treatment. Buttry was born at Sampson Air Force Base, N.Y., on Oct. 24, 1954, the second son of Air Force Chaplain Luke Buttry and his wife, Harriet. For the next 16 years, the Buttry family lived on or near Air Force bases in Florida, England, Utah, Japan and Ohio. As a high-school freshman in 1968, Buttry started carrying the Columbus (Ohio) Citizen-Journal, waking an hour before he needed to start riding his route, so he could read the newspaper first, imagining the day he would be the journalist writing such stories. After moving to Shenandoah, Iowa, when his father retired from the Air Force, Buttry started his journalism career the summer before his senior year of high school, covering sports for the Evening Sentinel in Shenandoah. Buttry graduated from Texas Christian University in 1976. He then began a journalism career that took him to the Des Moines Register, Kansas City Star and Times, Minot Daily News, Omaha World Herald, American Press Institute, Cedar Rapids Gazette, and Digital First Media. He also taught journalism, as an adjunct at Central College in Pella, Iowa; Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids; the University of Iowa; Georgetown University and American University and full-time at Louisiana State University. He was Director of Student Media at LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication at his death. Before starting the LSU job, the Buttry sons and their wives took Steve and Mimi on an Alaska cruise to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary in August 2014. With the cruise, Buttry had visited all 50 states. Buttry was named Editor of the Year by Editor & Publisher magazine in 2010 and that year also was inducted into the Hall of Excellence at TCU's Schieffer School of Journalism. He was honored for his contributions to journalism with three major awards in his final years: the Glamann Award from the American Copy Editors Society in 2015, the Rich Jaroslovsky Founder Award from the Online News Association in 2016 and the Chairman's Citation from the National Press Foundation in 2017. He also will be honored with the creation of the Stephen Buttry Scholarship at the Manship School. He is survived by his wife, Mimi Johnson Buttry; sons Mike, Joe and Tom; daughters-in-law Susie Burke, Kim Bagby and Ashley Douglass; granddaughters Julia Burke Buttry and Madeline Burke Buttry; mother Harriet Buttry of Lee's Summit, Mo.; brothers Dan of Hamtramck, Mich.; and Don of Shenandoah, Iowa; sister Carol Devlin; and many in-laws, nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held in the coming weeks in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Details are pending. The family requests that memorial tributes are directed to a scholarship fund created in Buttry's honor at the LSU Manship School of Journalism: Details can be found at, Checks can be sent to: LSU Foundation, Attn: Buttry Scholarship, 3796 Nicholson Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70802.
Published in Des Moines Register from Feb. 26 to Feb. 28, 2017
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