Festus R-VI Hall of Fame Inductee - Ronald L. Butler
2009 Festus R-VI Hall of Fame Recipient
Ronald L. Butler
Ronald L. Butler (Ron) was born December 1, 1940 in Jefferson City, Missouri to Ralph E. Butler, Sr. and Harriet Butler. Ron had two older brothers, Ralph and Allen, and a younger sister Becky. Ron’s father was a Missouri Highway patrolman and his mother a school teacher and taught most of her career in the Festus Elementary School.
In January 1955, the Butler family moved to Festus in time for Ron to finish his freshman year in high school. During his time at Festus High School, Ron was a member of the Boys Glee Club, Spanish Club, Future Teachers of America, Dramatics Club, Tiger and Spokesman staff, Junior Rotarian, two all-school plays, and the National Honor Society.
Outside of school, Ron was active in the First Presbyterian Church choir and in Sunday School. He was also very active in a youth organization, DeMolay. He joined DeMolay while living in Union, Missouri and continued his membership and perfect attendance working his way to the top leadership position at age 16. At the time, he was the youngest DeMolay Master Counselor in the state of Missouri. He was instrumental in recruiting enough boys from Jefferson County to start a local DeMolay chapter.
After graduating from Festus High School in 1958, Ron spent one year at Missouri Valley College in Marshall before joining the United States Air Force through the Aviation Cadet program. After 10 months of training, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and rated as a Navigator. He was assigned to KC-135 air re-fuelers in South Dakota and New Mexico. In 1967 he was accepted into Air Force pilot training and was rated as a pilot in March 1968. The remainder of his military career he flew as either a jet pilot or as a staff officer supporting flying operations. This included one year in Thailand flying combat missions and three years in Germany assigned to a NATO command-and-control facility. He was trained as a flying safety officer and his duties were to keep all pilots in the unit aware of all safety issues and to investigate any accidents. In his final assignment in the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel, he was the Chief of Safety for an Air Force Base with 5000 personnel. He was responsible for all aspects of flying safety, ground and industrial safety and weapons safety.
During his military career, he continued to take night courses until 1974 when he had enough credits to finish his undergraduate degree at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. In 1977, he was able to complete the course work for a Master’s in Counseling from Pepperdine University.
Following his retirement from the Air Force, Ron worked 14 years for a law firm as a corporate pilot, accident investigator, and legal assistant for trials in federal court. Upon the retirement of his boss, he few as a corporate pilot for several individuals. This flying took him from southern Mexico to Seattle to northeastern Canada and to the Caribbean, plus almost all points in between.
After his retirement from corporate flying, Ron took advantage of an opportunity to finally follow in the footsteps of his father. Growing up, his desire was to be in law enforcement, but life seemed to get in the way of that dream. At age 63 he completed 650 hours of training over nine months and was commissioned as a peace officer in the state of Texas. He volunteers an average of 80 hours a month on patrol, inmate transfers to and from other counties, assisting with the mental health unit, lake patrol, sex offender registration compliance, and underage alcohol sales. He has served for two years as the president of the Travis County Sheriff’s Reserve Officer Association.
Ron has always remained active in all of his communities by signing in 27 local church and community choirs. For the last 23 years, he’s been a member of the Round Rock, Texas Community Choir, which has performed throughout Europe, at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., with the highlight in 2006 of singing at Carnegie Hall.
Ron has two children and four grandchildren. His family is completed by his dear friend Martha, who has been a part of his life for 11 years.