Long time Alaska resident, Gary Butcher, passed away in Anchorage on January 30, 2020 after a brief bout with cancer.
Gary was born to Earl and Thelma Butcher in Sweetgrass, Montana Oct. 14,1935.
Gary moved to Alaska from Montana as a small boy. He and his mother traveled with his father’s construction company whenever possible. This began the path of his mechanical wizardry. It was often times said throughout his life that” If Butcher can’t fix it, you should probably throw it away.”
Gary grew up in Fairbanks but would rather have been spending as much time as possible at the family hunting lodge, Butcher’s Camp, at Tangle Lakes. He graduated from Fairbanks High School in 1953 where he met and married his first of three wives. He was heard to say on occasion, that he had enough adventures for three lifetimes…and he just happened to have had three wives to share those with.
The first of which was Dorathy Jean Pierce. They had five children, all born in Fairbanks. They moved to Anchorage in 1962.
He was very proud of the fact that he worked in many of the most remote locations throughout Alaska “before anything was there”. He was involved in building numerous remote runways, a skill handed down from time spent with father. He was involved with the DEW line projects in various parts of Alaska. He worked for Bendix United Geophysical, a seismic company that did much of the work on the North Slope, prior to the drilling of the Discovery well.
In 1972, he married again, to Geraldine Hutchison. They had another child and began his adventures in Nome. In 1974, he was approached by an old friend of his father’s and was contracted to “drill a few holes” for the startup of the large land dredges that had been sitting idle for quite some time. After completion of the summer project, he was offered the opportunity to stay in Nome and help get the dredges running and run the power plant. Looking to avoid the long schedules of working away from home, he accepted. He loved Nome! After the gold company shut down, he stayed in Nome and worked for Nome Joint Utilities, running the power plant, also serving on its board.
He served as president of the Pioneers Igloo #1 and the Bering Sea Lions Club. He could always be counted on to “just take a look” at anything for anyone. In 1999, shortly after retirement, he moved back to Anchorage. He married for the third and final time to Hannah Ahmasuk. They spent much of his retirement traveling back and forth to the Kenai Peninsula in the motorhome going clam digging, fishing or “just going for a ride”.
He was preceded in death by his father Earl, mother Thelma and sister Buelah “Bootsie”, aforementioned spouses, Dorathy Fesler, Geraldine Hutchison, and Hannah Butcher.
He is survived by his children Gary Butcher Jr (Big Lake), Belinda Wilson (Ron) (Anchorage), Richard Butcher (Big Lake), Clifford Butcher (Anchorage), Kirk Butcher (Becky) (Anchorage), and Earl Butcher (Colorado). Grandchildren Gary Butcher III, Johnny Butcher, Curtis Wilson, Jacob Wilson, Ryan Wilson, Andrew Butcher, Desirae Butcher, Seth Butcher, Mike Butcher, Bailey Butcher, Bradley Butcher, Cory Butcher, Cody Butcher, Carly Williams, Axel Butcher and numerous great grandchildren.
Stepchildren Randy Spencer (Kenai), April Spencer (Ninilchik), Bart Castel and Cheryl Geddes (Anchorage).
He is also survived by his beloved cousin Ted Butcher (Anchorage).
Per Gary’s request, there will be no service. Celebrations of life are being planned for Anchorage and Nome this summer.