Captain James C Butts, born December 13, 1942 in Minneapolis to Clinton and Gayle Butts, left this earthly world peacefully with his wife and son beside him on July 24, 2021. He lived life to the fullest... and then some. He was a fighter to the very end. His presence was large and encompassed many.
Jim, Buttsie, Pardsie, Dad; he answered too many titles and nicknames, but his favorite was a friend. Jim never met a stranger, everyone was a friend. Then there were the special friends- you know who you are. He cherished memories with all of you.
Captain Butts was a proud pilot in the United States Air Force; he commanded his favorite "Phantom F-4E." He earned his Distinguished Flying Cross medal on February 19,1971, protecting his fellow ground troops with multiple passes, saving the lives of many "brothers." There were other medals awarded to him during his service as he flew 201 missions, the last being his hardest. Jim formed many lifelong relationships while enlisted. He was proud to have served.
After his service, Jim moved to Steamboat, CO where he met his first wife Nancy and his step-children, Terrell and Will. It was here he started his life in the retail business with one of his best friends Ben Hambleton. He was grateful for all the mentoring Ben offered. They continued their friendship and connected frequently. Jim moved on to mentor many others, a role that provided his proudest achievements.
Jim moved to Durango, and in 1980 his son Jason was born. He was a family man and was so proud of his children. In 1987, Jim met his second wife, "the love of my life" Rachel Thomas. They made it official in 2006. As he said, "I just want to get this one right." They were blessed with 32 wonderful years together. His last wish was to leave this world at home with Rachel by his side. Those wishes were granted.
Jim was a fighter pilot, business owner, father, step-father, husband, brother, son, and mentor. He was preceded in death by his sister Marilynne (Ford) and brother Bill, father Clinton, and mother Gayle (Butts). He is survived by his son Jason, wife Rachel, multiple nieces, nephews, and extended family.
He will be missed forever, but we know he is in a better place, watching down upon us all. He requested no funeral, but as his life touched so many, there will be a tribute at a later date.
He was graciously taken care of by our local Hospice nurses and staff. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mercy Hospice Foundation.
Fly high Buttsie, Pardsie, Dad, Honey...we know you know-how. We will stay and hold down the fort until we see you again.
Published by The Durango Herald on Aug. 31, 2021.