Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Norman W. Butts, loving husband, father, and friend, passed from the earth to meet his Lord and Savior on January 2, 2021. He was born on February 6, 1930 in Dexter, New Mexico to Eunice and O. M. Butts. He lived his entire life in the small community that he loved. Norman was given the nickname “Babe” by a family friend when he was just an infant. The name stuck with many friends.
Babe was one of six siblings. When asked how many children were in the family, he enjoyed watching the reaction as he told them, “There were 5 of us brothers, and we each had a sister!” For the last few years of his life, he was the only surviving member of his family. He continued to miss and talk with fondness about his brothers Byron, Clifford, Newell, Marvis, and his sister, Nerine Butts Aston.
On June 12, 1949, Babe married his high school sweetheart, Aileen Jeanette Sterrett, in the Little Grey Presbyterian Church in Dexter. Babe and Aileen have two daughters, Deborah Joan Butts Morgan and Cynthia Annette Butts Vallaster, who were blessed to be the joy of their parents’ lives. Debby and her husband, Tom, live in Colorado Springs, CO. Their children include Sarah Morgan Dankesreiter and husband Tommy of Lubbock, TX, Cameron Morgan and wife Allison of Pittsboro, NC, and Valerie Morgan of Carlsbad, NM. Cindy lives in Bartlesville, OK, and has two daughters, Lindsay Vallaster of Stillwater, OK, and Emily Goodwin and husband Jason of Bartlesville. The Butts’ great grandchildren include Alyson, Noah, Nathan, and Hailey Dankesreiter, Cecile and Lincoln Morgan, and Tyler and Laura Goodwin. He is also survived by many beloved nieces and nephews. Babe was an avid people person and leaves countless treasured friends in the Pecos Valley and throughout the United States.
Norman’s dad worked on many farms in the Dexter area and during later years as a blade man for Chaves County. The Butts family followed the job, living in numerous houses along the way. During visits, Norman’s grandkids enjoyed driving the countryside, seeing where he had lived and hearing tales of events that happened in each location. All of the Butts boys started working at a young age to help support the family. Norman’s mother was a wonderful, strong lady and spent her life loving, caring for, and encouraging her family with unconditional love. When Babe was just a boy, he had a newspaper route and spent many hours on a bicycle delivering papers and making friends along the way.
While in junior high, he began working for Mrs. Bailey in her grocery store which was located where the fitness center is today. He continued to work at the Bailey Grocery Store all through high school and established a family-like friendship with Mrs. Bailey and her children. He always appreciated Mrs. Bailey’s flexibility. She allowed him to work the hours he could on school days and gave him time off for sports practice and events. He always considered Mrs. Bailey and the store butcher, O. W. Phillips, as mentors and role models in his life. He would say it truly did take a village to raise him and would list others like Coach George Lewis, who encouraged him along the way.
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Babe spent all 12 of his school years in the Dexter Public Schools and participated in all sports with basketball being his passion. He was captain of the basketball team and was honored to be selected to play on the North/South All Star Team in Albuquerque in 1948. Upon graduating, he turned down two collegiate basketball scholarship offers in order to remain in Dexter to work and be near Aileen. As long as health permitted, he attended Dexter sporting events and traveled countless miles to support his grandchildren in their activities, as well.
Babe was baptized in the Dexter Methodist Church at age 11. He fondly remembers his Methodist roots. While courting Aileen, he joined the choir at the Little Grey Presbyterian Church so he could spend time with her, and later became a member once they were married. His faith was an important part of his life. He served his Lord as best he could as a Sunday school teacher, Elder, church treasurer, choir member, youth group leader, and Presbytery Moderator. He was a delegate to the National General Assembly in 1964 in Oklahoma City, OK and in 1998 in Charlotte, NC. He was also on the Board of the National United Presbyterian Men. One of his greatest contributions was being on the search committees through which God called the Charles Fullinwider and Stephen Deutsch families to the Pecos Valley. Babe was even named an honorary member of the Ollie McNeil Ladies Circle by the ladies at the church – as he always found ways to help and a reason to be at the church during their gatherings!
Norman began his career in the Dexter Post Office in 1949 at the age of 19. He served as a clerk and held this position for 20 years. He was appointed as Dexter Postmaster in 1969. During this time, he also served as Postmaster Trainer and for 9 months as Officer-In-Charge of the Carlsbad Post Office.
Following his work in the Dexter office, he was appointed as Director of Mail Processing for the Management Sectional Center in Roswell, which served 127 offices throughout eastern New Mexico. This job put Norman in charge of transportation, facility, equipment, and building maintenance for all 127 offices. It also included the negotiation of 110 highway contract routes. His job included traveling to numerous states to help with processing problems and to serve on interview committees.
During his career, his satisfaction came from his commitment to serving the people of Dexter and those in his mail processing area. He retired with almost 38 years of service in 1987. He spent his retirement traveling to enjoy time with his children and grandchildren and to spend time doing volunteer work, such as tutoring students at Dexter Elementary School and mentoring church youth. Babe was a regular at the Dexter Hardware where he enjoyed drinking coffee with store owner Robert Garnett and others, catching up on the news of the day, telling jokes, and recounting tales from times past.
Babe loved and was proud of his community. He served 9 years on the Dexter Board of Education. He encouraged the advancement of women athletic programs and was on the board when the members helped to establish a college in Roswell which would later become a branch of Eastern New Mexico University. He helped start the Dexter Little League program where he assisted the Association as a Player Agent for 17 years. He was a member of the Dexter Volunteer Fire Department for 18 years. Babe was inducted into the Dexter High School Alumni Hall of Fame in 1978. He served on the committees of the Chaves County Crime Stoppers and the Chaves County Joy Centers, and he was a member of the Dexter Lions Club and the Roswell Elks Club. In recent years he enjoyed volunteering at Loaves and Fishes, a local food pantry, and folding church bulletins for Sunday service.
Most will remember Norman “Babe” Butts as a man of great integrity, a trait that he displayed in many ways. From his personal life to his professional life, his choices were always based in faith, honesty, and generosity. He also was known for his sense of humor. There are few that will forget his telling and retelling of stories and jokes. Very few would leave his presence without lighter hearts or smiles on their faces.
Our family is grateful to extended family, church family, friends, community, and medical professionals for your friendship and support through the years. Pastor Stephen will lead the family burial, and we look forward to friends and family gathering to honor Babe with a memorial service and reception at the Little Grey Presbyterian Church in Dexter later this spring. To receive information on memorial service details, or to share favorite stories or pictures of Babe, please send an email to RememberingBabe@gmail.com. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Dexter’s Little Grey Presbyterian Church or the charity of your choice.