Jimmy Lee Butt, age 96, died on April 4

Jimmy Lee Butt, age 96, of St. Joseph, MI, died on April 4, 2018, at Pine Ridge Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. JImmy was born in Tippo, MS, on October 13, 1921, the son of Henry Willoughby and Jimmie Oneida (Davis) Butt. He attended high school in Charleston, MS, and Wetumpka, AL, and graduated in 1943 from Auburn University where he served as Student Government president.

He married Jane Williams of Wetumpka at Ft. Sill, OK, on June 23, 1943. They shared 64 beautiful years and raised three children: Janie (David) Berry of Novi, Maryanne Butt of Holt, and Jimmy (Becky) Butt of DeWitt. He has six grandchildren: Jake (Jessica) Berry, Ben (Elisabeth) Berry, Marney Berry, Sarah Butt Gruesbeck, Emily Butt, and Kathleen (Andy) Edmisten. He has three great grandsons.

Jimmy served in Europe during WWII as a field artillery survey officer and forward observer with the U.S. Army’s 63rd Infantry Division. He was awarded a Bronze Star, Army Commendation Ribbon, and three campaign stars. After VE Day, he was transferred into U.S. Military Government of occupied Germany in Karlsruhe and Stuttgart.

Upon discharge, Jimmy returned to Auburn for his MS degree and served ten years on the Agricultural Engineering department research faculty. In March 1956, he was appointed Executive Vice President of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE, now ASABE), St. Joseph, MI, where he served for 31 years. During this period, the organization experienced growth in many operational and functional areas and built a new headquarters on Niles Road. He was elected president of ASAE from 1987-89.

Jimmy was also a leader in several other professional associations. He served as president of the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives (1977-78) and was a board member of the American Association of Engineering Societies. Globally, he worked with the Commission Internationale du Génie Rural, headquartered in Brussels, as ASAE’s representative and was awarded a “Certificate of Appreciation” by the Egyptian Engineering Society for leading a delegation to teach irrigation techniques. He served on the Auburn University Research Council (1985-88) and received an “Outstanding Alumni Award.”

Jimmy was a proud and active member of the local community, volunteering for many local activities in roles large and small and participating actively in the Lest We Forget project. He served on the boards of Junior Achievement, the Krasl Art Center, the St. Joseph Library, and the First United Methodist Church. He has been a faithful Lions Club member since 1948, having served as president of the Auburn and St. Joseph clubs. And he loved sports – especially Auburn football – and music, including playing stride jazz piano for friends and performing with the Sunshine Boys and Whitcomb Warblers.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Jane, and son-in-law, David Berry.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 5, 2018, at 11:00 AM at the St. Joseph First United Methodist Church, 2950 Lakeview Ave. St. Joseph.  Friends may visit with the family from 10:00 to 11:00 AM before the service.  Private burial will take place at a later time.  For those who wish to leave an online condolence may do so at www.starks-menchinger.com.  Memorials may be made to the St. Joseph First United Methodist Church, the J.L. Butt Fund of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, or the St. Joseph Lions Club.