Services to be held for H-E-B board member Howard Butt

Howard E. Butt, Jr.
Howard E. Butt, Jr.

Funeral services are scheduled Sept. 17 in San Antonio for Howard E. Butt, Jr., the former president of H-E-B's charitable foundation and an H-E-B board vice chairman.

Butt, 89, passed away Sunday due to complications related to Parkinson's.

Butt, whose grandmother Florence founded the food business that his parents grew into the H. E. Butt Grocery Co., "pioneered the concept that the business world was a high calling for people of faith," according to the H. E. Butt Family Foundation. He was known for his books and radio broadcasts about his faith and about the charitable endeavors supported by the foundation.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of my brother, Howard," Charles Butt, H‑E‑B's CEO, said in a statement. "His decades of inspired leadership, philanthropy and humanitarian efforts will forever be missed by our family and those he impacted across the U.S."

Calling him a "bridge builder between the secular and religious worlds," the foundation said Butt pioneered terms and concepts — such as work/life balance and small groups — that became hallmarks of mainstream Christianity, and was an early adapter of the servant leadership movement. The foundation said that at a time when most leaders feared showing any weakness, Butt also courageously modeled transparency about his bouts with depression, recognizing the benefit to others in acknowledging that everyone has struggles.

While working in his family's business, Howard pursued spiritual endeavors, creating with evangelist Billy Graham the Layman's Leadership Institute, which hosted national faith-based programs for business professionals. In recognition of his efforts on behalf of workers, Butt was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to the first Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity.

Butt served as a VP of the retailer though the late 1960s but stepped away from day-to-day business to dedicate his life full-time to the ministry.

Born Sept. 8, 1927, in Kerrville, Texas, Butt grew up in the food business and graduated from Baylor University in 1947 with a degree in business. 

He is survived by his wife, Barbara Dan; two siblings, Eleanor Butt Crook and Charles Butt; three children, Howard III (Pamela), Stephen (Susan) and Deborah Dan Rogers (David); eight grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.

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