Clyde Eugene Butler
2/10/1929 - 3/23/2020
Clyde Eugene Butler, 91, died March 23, 2020, at his home in Ada, OK. Born Feb 10, 1929, in Indianola, OK to Erdie Butler and Myrtis (Harper). Clyde was one of nine children. Erdie, a sharecropper instilled in Clyde a love for the land and plants that he would have for the rest of his life.
Clyde enjoyed and excelled in school. He was a star basketball player and graduated early at Indianola as Valedictorian in 1947. He returned in 2019 to be the Grand Marshal of the Indianola Homecoming parade at age 90.
Clyde joined the U.S. Air Force in 1947 and served in Okinawa and occupational forces in Japan. While with the Inspector General unit at Kelly AFB, San Antonio, TX, he began his college education at Trinity University. In 1951, he enrolled in Southeastern University, where he met and married Ruth Joan Dunlap in 1953. Clyde loved all forms of education. He enjoyed learning new things and teaching others. Clyde's first degree was a double major, earning a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Bachelor of Chemistry, graduating Summa cum Laude at Southeastern University in 1953. He taught biology and chemistry for grades 7-12 for 11 years. Moving back to Oklahoma, he earned two master's degrees, a Master of Secondary Education and a Master of Natural Sciences, both from Oklahoma University. During this time, he also developed a course in natural science, and taught it from his television show on educational television in 1958. In 1963, he was chosen by the National Biology Teachers Association as Oklahoma Biology Teacher of the Year. He was then utilized to introduce the national curriculum to the state of Oklahoma by supervising and instructing Oklahoma biology teachers with the National Biological Sciences new curriculum. Continuing his education, he moved his family to Stillwater, where he completed his Doctorate of Education with specialties in plant taxonomy and physiology at Oklahoma State University in 1967. He accepted a position in late 1966 as a science professor at East Central State College, where he remained until his retirement in 1992. Dr. Butler bought a small farm in Ada, where he raised cattle and had large productive gardens and orchards. His vegetable and flower gardens are legendary. It was common to see him with his students covered in the newspapers or on television displaying exotic plants or teaching in some area of science. While at East Central University, he taught Plant Taxonomy, Genetics, Animal Parasitology and Biology Methods for Teachers from 1966-1992. He was a "teacher's teacher" and took great delight in advising and mentoring students and student teachers. As an advisor for undergraduates in the sciences, he quickly became the preferred advisor for pre-med students. His former students were a beloved part of his life, to the end providing years of collaboration and learning. Dr. Butler served as Chairman of East Central University Faculty Counsel, Chairman of the Biology Department, Oklahoma State Science Fair Judge, Curator of the ECU Herbarium, and an Executive board member for the United Campus ministry. Dr. Butler worked with a team of biological scientists conducting environmental impact studies at Crescent, Clayton, and Gore and EPA projects near Stratford. After retirement, he continued to consult for Man Tech conducting environmental research services. He also continued supervising Student Teachers driving to observe them in rural areas of Oklahoma. Clyde Butler was a deeply spiritual man. He valued his Bible, which was always filled with loose pages of notes and references. He applied himself to church and community as he did in education. Clyde joined Joan's family church of Presbyterian and quickly became a ruling and teaching elder at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City, First Presbyterian Church Stillwater and First Presbyterian Church Ada. He was elected and accepted the position of Moderator of Indian Nations Presbytery and served as commissioner to Indian Nation Presbytery for many years. Locally, he loved hymns and sang in the choir. His Sunday school class and Bible studies were a staple of curriculum at First Presbyterian Church of Ada for over 50 years.
Clyde Butler is survived by Ruth Joan Butler, spouse of 66 years; daughter, Martha Colvin and spouse John Harshman, granddaughter, Alyssa Colvin, of Fort Smith; son, David and spouse Li Meng Butler, grandson, Timothy Butler, of Ada; sister, Lucille Bird, Georgetown, TX.
Preceded in death by his parents, Erdie Abram Butler and Myrtis (Harper) Butler; brothers, Vern, Wayne and Carl; and sisters, Pauline Tannehill, Lorene Cathey, Irene Heath, and Mary O'Connor.
Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, Memorial Services are to be scheduled when travel is approved by CDC
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