On Tuesday, April 13, 1926 in Manning, Arkansas, Meddra and Lubie Lock Butler welcomed the birth of another son, Espen Butler. He was blessed with God fearing parents who, by example, taught Christian values, integrity and hard work that resulted in a solid upbringing. His parents were highly respected among friends and neighbors in the community and taught their children that a good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all.
He confessed his faith in Christ as a little boy. His father a farmer, taught Espen to “chop cotton”, “pick cotton” and live from the land. He instilled in his son that farming was an honorable living and a blessing from God.
On June 27, 1944 at the strapping age of 18 he enlisted into the United States Army. He specialized as a rifle sharpshooter and was the recipient of the American Theater Campaign Ribbon, the Victory Ribbon and the Good Conduct Medal.
He later moved to the Sparkman, Arkansas, where he met and later married Francis Hall on February 2, 1950. To this union, five children were born. He was a wonderful man who loved his wife dearly, always supported his children and cherished his grandchildren. Espen was a lifelong resident of Dallas County. He was an active and dedicated member of Harmony Missionary Baptist Church where he was ordained as a deacon and served as chair of the deacon board.
He was a retired employee of Reynolds Metal Company where he worked as furnace operator and a member of the USWA Union. He was a mason, and an avid farmer who farmed until his health would no longer permit. He spent many days and countless hours hunting. In 1965 he started the B&M Deer Camp.
After 88 seasons of life he passed into the Lord's embrace on Saturday, July 19, 2014 with his family at his side. Deacon Butler was preceded in death by his parents; his beloved Francis who made her transition on Saturday, October 20, 2011, one step-son, Jessie Jackson; three sisters, Evie Walker, Beatrice Giles, Evalee Lambert; five brothers, Ivory Butler, Harry Butler, Waiver Butler, William Butler and Meddra Lee Butler.
The independent spirit, strong character and iron will of Espen Butler, will be missed. He leaves to cherish his memory five children, Carolyn Butler of Milwaukee, WI, Venderine Jones of Houston, TX, Herman (Ermaline) Butler of Sparkman, AR, Helen (Theodis) Harris of Little Rock, AR, and Sherman (Rev. Linda) Butler of Sparkman, AR; seventeen grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, one great-great grandchild; one brother, I.V. (Gloria) Butler of Warren, AR and one sister-in-law, Rose Butler of Monticello, AR. He also leaves a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives, a special friend, Anderson Walker of Arkadelphia, other cherished friends, the members of B&M Deer Camp and the Harmony Missionary Baptist Church family.
Home going services to celebrate his life will be held at 11am on Saturday, July 26, 2014 at Harmony Missionary Baptist Church. Moderator Roy T. Salley will officiate and Rev. Harvey T. Goodwin will serve as eulogist. Interment will be in Butler Cemetery with military honors. Public visitation will be Friday, July 25, 2014 from 12 noon until 6pm at the funeral home.