Mr. Robert H. "Bob" Butcher, USAF retired, 78, of 768 Goff School Road, Belington, departed this life Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, at his home. He had been in his usual health and death was unexpected.
He was born March 20, 1935, at Beverly, a son of the late James Elmer and Bernice Ora Goddard Butcher. On June 14, 1987, at Belington, he was united in marriage to the former Reta D. Poe, who survives at their home in Belington.
Surviving are two brothers, Richard "Dick" Butcher and wife, Joyce, of Colonial Heights, Va.; and Freeman "Joe" Butcher and companion, Mary Everhart, of Elkins; three sisters, Rebecca "Peggy" Kalar, of Elkins; Ruby B. Lewis and husband, Herbert, of Dinwiddie, Va.; and Elaine Yeatts of Petersburg,Va. Also surviving are three brothers-in-law, Jim Clark, Wayne and Ronald Poe; three sisters-in-law, Karen Butcher, Charlotte Weaver and Donna Talbott, mother-in-law Mary M. Poe, and several nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by three brothers, Elmer "Junior" Butcher, Elijah "Bruce" Butcher and Alvin "Sherwood" Butcher; two sisters Margaret Clark, and Thelma Knippenberg; father-in-law Robert "Jake" Poe; two brothers-in-law Ron Kalar and Blaine Poe.
Mr. Butcher retired from the United States Air Force in 1978 after 28 years of service with the rank of chief master sergeant, E-9. He joined the Army National Guard in 1950 and then entered the U.S. Air force in late 1953, where he served in the air operations field for a quarter of a century in Korea, Alaska, Vietnam, all over the continental United States as well as in the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. From 1975 to his retirement, he worked directly under the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assigned to the National Emergency airborne command post flying out of Andrews Air force Base in Maryland. Bob was one of a 15-member battle-staff crew on one of three modified 747s operated by the military to serve as command post for the president in case of a national emergency. During his career, he was awarded Air Crew Wings, a Bronze Star, a Defense Meritorious Service Medal and Air Force Commendation with two oak leaf clusters, an Army Commendation, a Vietnam honor medal and the Combat Crew Medal plus 15 other service awards. Bob was proud of the fact that he had flown with Presidents Nixon, Ford and Carter, and Vice Presidents Agnew, Rockefeller and Mondale. Upon returning home to West Virginia following his military career, he was employed with Elkins Distributing Co. as a sales manager and the Bottle Shop in Elkins. Bob had attended the schools of Randolph County, was a lifetime member of the VFW, the American Legion and TREA, (The Retired Enlisted Association). He was an avid hunter and fisherman and a protestant by faith.
Friends will be received from the Talbott Funeral Home in Belington from 6-9 p.m. on Friday Nov. 29, 2013, and on Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., the funeral hour when final rites will be conducted from the funeral home chapel with the Rev. Jimmie E. Tallman officiating. Interment will follow in the Talbott Cemetery where full military rites will be accorded by the American Legion Post No. 96 of Belington and the United States Air Force. The Talbott Funeral Home in Belington is in charge of the arrangements for Mr. Robert H. "Bob" Butcher, USAF retired. Condolences can be sent to the family at www.talbottfuneralhome.com.