Mr. Butler turns 92 in January, but you'd never know it by the schedule he keeps. Although he now lives in Lincoln near some of his sons, he still occasionally drives back to Chadron to take in a CSC ball game or -- as happened last week (10/23/10) -- to be inducted into the Chadron State College Athletic Hall of Fame.
Jim Butler grew up along Bordeaux Creek east of Chadron, one of three kids born to T.J. and Grace Butler. He went to school at the old Chadron Prep, competing in football, basketball and track. After graduating from high school in 1936, he enrolled at Chadron State in pursuit of an Industrial Arts degree.
Then it was college work at Chadron State, where he participated in sports under legendary coach Ross Armstrong.
Veteran Chadron writer Con Marshall wrote, "Butler played offensive guard and linebacker for the CSC football teams in 1937, ’39 and ’40. His defensive play was a major factor in the Eagles’ 12-9 win over the University of Wyoming in 1940. He also lettered in basketball at CSC two years when the Eagles were 16-4 and 15-3."
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. 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 from 1950 until 1958 – 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.
Read Con Marshall's story about the Chadron State College Hall of Fame inductees.
The Jim Butler award is well deserved, and a timely recognition for a family with a lot of sports history. His son Dale was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame earlier this year.
Below are a few Jim Butler photos we snapped at the October 23 induction luncheon at Chadron State College. You can click on the images to see a larger version of the photo.
|2010 inductees to the Chadron State College|
Athletic Hall of Fame. Jim Butler center front.
|Members of the Jim Butler Family were on hand|
as he received his award at Chadron State College