Eugene Craig Butcher - age: 83
(July 19, 1933 to January 25, 2017
Eugene Craig Butcher passed in his sleep January 25th, 2017 in Ukiah, CA due to heart failure following hip replacement. Gene was 83 and had been braving the the waxing and waning of dementia, but was blessed to be in a very happy and peaceful state of mind while rehabilitating his broken hip.
Gene was born on July 19th, 1933 in Sunnyvale, CA to Francis Butcher and Craig Butcher. He grew up working on the large family ranch known as Butchers Corner located on El Camino Real and Wolfe Rd. Gene was a 4th generation California fruit grower having been born into a Santa Clara Valley Pioneer family with California fruit growing roots originating with the purchase of the family ranch by his great great grandfather Rolla Butcher in 1860. Gene graduated from Fremont High School where he, as his friends recollected, was known as a kind, somewhat quiet, intellectual jock
something they chuckled about. He held a Santa Clara Valley regional High school pole vaulting record and was a standout football player with the knick name The Black Avenger supposedly because as a Defensive Back, he came out of nowhere. He
was recruited to play college ball, but enlisted in the Air Force as it was the time of the Korean War. He served as a helicopter mechanic and with intel relayed from his service friends, was a mechanic so thorough and trusted, the pilots forewent their usual check and simply got in and went. After an honorable discharge from the Air Force, Gene attended San Jose State where he obtained a BS in Organic Chemistry. In 1962 Gene married his high school sweetheart Marilyn Lehmann and bought and moved to a pear ranch in Ukiah, CA. Gene and Marilyn had, and raised two girls, Kerri Butcher Daniels and Amy Butcher on the ranch which they eventually sold to family friends, the Ruddicks.
Gene lived the remainder of his life on a hill over-looking the pear ranch in a house he and Marilyn designed and built, delving into various investments and some land development.
Gene will be remembered as a man with a brilliant mind, a sometimes complex nature and a heart of gold. He was born with an unquenchable inquisitiveness, seeking to know the why in just about everything he encountered. That nature, combined with his God-given intellect, made for a man who knew a hell of a lot about a whole lot of things.
He was an, unrecognized at the time, virtual Encyclopedia Brittanica, being his
daughters go-to for which anything they might have a question. And although he often began his answer to an inquiry with the funny; Well you probably know a lot more about this than I do
, he invariably had more information than the girls wanted, loving to talk on. Gene also had a fascination with the vastness and possibility of the cosmos, introducing his girls to Astronomy with an, in their view, gigantic telescope, often on late, cold winter nights when the sky was crystal clear. It is this openness to all that there is, and can be, beyond ones imagination that his daughter Kerri appreciated about him
most. There was simply nothing that was too far out that she could bring up that Gene wouldnt give the respect of serious contemplation as he didnt fear that which he didnt know and was, in noway, bound by conventional thought. Gene was a bit of a gentle giant, having a physical presence in his younger years that many of his daughters male friends later jokingly espoused as wanting for themselves. He was also a sensitive man that seemed to be happiest when needed. From being able to solve a difficult problem, fix just about anything, to being the man who could always be relied upon to step up in
even the most difficult of situations. One of the things his wife Marilyn most appreciated about him was his unwavering support of her in unusual arenas such as her embarkment upon Mendocino Countys first woman Supervisor. His daughter Kerri loved this about him as well, recognizing later in life that he raised her as a first born son without limitations, but with a beautiful respect for all that it is to be female. All of this emanating from a heart with more in it than he could possible give away. It will all be missed, and no doubt, contemplated in appreciation for its wonderful uniqueness.
Gene is survived by his daughter Kerri Butcher Daniels and his grandchildren Haley Daniels and Johnny Daniels. He is preceded in death by his wife Marilyn Butcher and daughter Amy Butcher.
Gene will be laid to rest at a graveside gathering at Russian River Cemetery 11AM, Monday, February 6th, 2017.