Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Remembering teachers past

JIM BUTLER has enjoyed many diverse and interesting experiences – from military service in World War II to distinguished careers in law enforcement to education.

Born in January 1919 along Bordeaux Creek about eight miles east of Chadron, James L. Butler was one of three children born to T.J. and Grace Butler. He, his sister Elizabeth and brother Melvin, all attended country school through the 8th Grade. Young Jim then went to Chadron Prep, where he competed in football, basketball and track before graduating in 1936.

Then he enrolled at Chadron State College and pursued a degree in Industrial Arts.

It was during that time that he played on CSC athletic teams under the legendary Ross Armstrong.

After several jobs, marriage, two children, the death of his wife, and service in the Army Air Corps, he returned to Chadron following World War II. He's in his Air Corps uniform in the photo shown above. Butler remarried in 1946 and graduated from CSC in 1947. After teaching and coaching for a year at Igloo, SD, he was appointed as Dawes County Sheriff, a job he held for 10 years – with lots of memorable experiences!

Many folks will also remember Jim Butler playing first base and other positions for the Chadron Elks baseball team for several years. Check out a few photos from an earlier era in Chadron.

In 1960, Butler joined Chadron Public Schools and held a variety of teaching and administrative positions. He earned school administration certification and his Specialist Degree in Education from Western State in Gunnison, Colorado while working at CHS. In 1985, after 26 years with Chadron Public Schools, Jim Butler retired as elementary principal.

In 1992, he and his wife, Donna, moved to Lincoln. She passed away in 2008. Donna and Jim were married for 62 years.

Jim Butler remains active at 91 years of age. He lives in Lincoln and follows both the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Chadron State Eagles. He has five boys and their families to keep track of: Gary in Savannah, Missouri; Dale in Overland Park, Kansas; Scott in Des Moines, Iowa; Criss in Omaha; and Curt in Lincoln.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Remembering teachers past

CURTIS THOMPSON was one of the longest serving and best-loved teachers and coaches at Chadron High School.

Born at Sargent, Nebraska in 1922, he had a bad left arm that prevented military service, but he was an avid sports enthusiast all his life. He taught school in rural Sioux County in 1942 – before attending the State Normal School at Chadron the following year.

After teaching a year at Sargent, he came to Chadron High in 1945, where he taught for six years before earning his college degree. He coached varsity sports but switched to junior high in the 1950s. We have fond memories of his many diverse and colorful ties! He was assistant varsity basketball coach when the Cardinals won the state Class B basketball title in 1961. That same year, his youth all-star baseball team won a berth in the National Teener Tournament in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

He taught/coached in Chadron for 38 years, the second-longest teaching tenure in the Chadron school system. He was married to Chadron native Betty Rhoads. She was a Registered Nurse at the Chadron Community Hospital for many years. They had two boys, Skip and Gay, and a daughter, Kathy. When Thompson left education in 1984, he and Betty traveled extensively until her death in 2001. Curt Thompson died in 2006. He was 83 years old.