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Barbara  Dan  Butt

Obituary for Barbara Dan Butt

January 26, 1928 - December 14, 2017
San Antonio, Texas | Age 89


Barbara Dan Butt, wife of Howard E. Butt, Jr., and influential leader in The H. E. Butt Family Foundation, died in her home on December 14, 2017, in San Antonio, Texas, at the age of 89.

She was born Barbara Dan Gerber on January 26, 1928, in San Angelo, Texas, to parents Rex Gerber and Christine Hanks Gerber. Although many of their relatives still live around San Angelo, the Gerbers moved to Corpus Christi, where Mrs. Butt's father worked 40 years as a geologist for Humble Oil, then Exxon.

Mrs. Butt was two years older than her sister, Betty Gay Gerber Blank. The two of them attended Corpus Christi High together, where Mrs. Butt served as president of the Latin Club and the Tri-Hi-Y Club, a leadership program of the YMCA. The two sisters would remain very close throughout their lives.

During her senior year in 1945, Mrs. Butt invited her former boyfriend, Howard E. Butt, Jr., to address Tri-Hi-Y when he was on break from Baylor University. Later, he would say that her poise and confidence as president of the club made quite an impression on him. The next semester, she joined him at Baylor, where she received the honor of Baylor Beauty, earned a degree in English, and secured the love and affection of her future husband.

On March 21, 1949, after dating for most of seven years from the age of fourteen, Barbara Dan Gerber married Howard E. Butt, Jr. In their first years of marriage, the two lived in Corpus Christi. She "held down the fort" while Howard worked as an H-E-B executive and led Christian crusades around the country on the weekends. "I would fly all night after speaking in the southeast," Howard Butt often told people. "Barbara Dan would meet me at the plane with a clean shirt and a fresh tie, and I would go and spend the day in the grocery company."

Mrs. Butt believed her marriage was a gift from God, once saying, "I feel like I was put on this earth to be Howard Butt's wife." Everyone who knew them could see that their marriage was special.

After their youngest went to college, Mrs. Butt followed her husband into leadership at The H. E. Butt Family Foundation. By 1983, she was serving as Secretary-Treasurer on the board. Ten years later, she was Vice President, attending weekly executive staff meetings and working together with the staff to operate Laity Lodge, the retreat center built on the Frio River at the 1900 acre H. E. Butt Foundation property near Leakey, Texas.

For several decades, she was instrumental in the planning and execution of the Laity Lodge Leadership Forums, which brought together Fortune 500 executives from around the country for a weekend of learning, spiritual reflection, and worship. She made decisions on everything from the keynote speakers, to the musicians, to the invitation, to the layout of the meeting rooms. In 2007, Howard Butt said of her, "My wife is a wise woman, full of both common sense and spiritual wisdom." After serving alongside her husband more than three decades, she retired from the board of The H. E. Butt Family Foundation in 2014.

"Her love for our dad was the mark of her life," said their daughter, Deborah Rogers. "Theirs was a 75-year love affair, a model of marriage in our family, at Laity Lodge, and in our community."

In 2012, Howard began having health issues, eventually diagnosed as Parkinson's. According to her son Stephen Butt, when Mr. Butt's Parkinson's grew worse, "she absolutely put everything in her life on hold for him … Her devotion to our father was deep and knew no boundaries." Mrs. Butt lost her husband on September 11, 2016.

"I still cannot fathom Mother and Dad separated," said their son Howard Butt III. "Theirs was an exceptional marriage, and it gives us all great comfort to believe that in her passing, they are reunited in heaven."

"After Dad died," Mrs. Rogers said, "she would still tell our children that she loved everything about their grandfather, the way he dressed, the way he treated people, his mind, even the way he aged."

Early in her marriage, Mrs. Butt was known to say, "There is more to life than length! You best measure life by its depth!" Surely, she was blessed with a life of great length and great depth

Barbara Dan Butt is survived by her son Howard Butt III, his wife Pamela, and their children Howard IV married to Kristen, Hillary Butt Gromus married to Thomas, and Jeffrey married to Alexandra; her son Stephen Butt, his wife Susan, and their daughters Sarah and Shelby; and her daughter Deborah Rogers, her husband David, and their children Katherine Hanks McAlister married to Rob, Alexandra Crawford married to Patrick, and Jackson Rogers. Her sister, Mrs. Blank, now lives in Hong Kong, China. Mrs. Butt has one great granddaughter, Charley Butt, daughter of Howard IV.

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Memorial gifts may be sent to Trinity Baptist Church or The H. E. Butt Family Foundation.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • Memorial gifts may be sent to Trinity Baptist Church or The H. E. Butt Family Foundation.

Arrangements By

Porter Loring Mortuary

1101 McCullough Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78212
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