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Earl Butts, 98 – Passed June 17, 2020

Earl Butts, 98, went to be with his Lord and Savior on June 17, 2020.

He was born on October 28, 1921 to Samuel Benjamin and Corma Penina (Massey) Butts.

Earl accepted the Lord as his savior as a teenager and was baptized in the creek near Pleasant Hill southwest of Cabool. He was a member of Cabool First Baptist Church at the time of his death.

Earl was united in marriage to Erma Louise Estep on June 14, 1941, in Cabool, Missouri. Earl and Erma were blessed with two children, Howard Earl and Corma Lea.

Earl earned his living in a variety of ways through the years. In 1934, his parents got a new pickup. They built a bed for it themselves and covered it with canvas. When he was around 15, he went to work for REA (Rural Electric Association). He used the flatbed pickup and put seats on both sides. He would haul workers to and from job sites.

On a trip a few years ago with his daughter and son-in-law to visit Mt. Evans, Earl went to reminiscing about a trip he took up Mt. Evans in 1937. In 1937, his parents and sister Doris took off for Colorado in that pickup. They were hoping to find work during the great depression. They filled with gas at a station on College Street by the square in Springfield. They got ten gallons of gas for $1.00. It was buy ten gallons and get a free quart of oil. They made it out to Canon City, Colorado, for less than $6.00 in gas. Earl and his dad Sam went to work on a threshing crew. Wages were $0.25 per hour and they worked 12 hours a day. Every Saturday night they got paid with silver dollars. A pocketful of 18 silver dollars was a lot of weight. They would go get gas and put a silver dollar in the pump. One Sunday, Earl and his Dad along with four other men decided to go up Mt. Evans. They took Sam’s truck and Earl said it was all that truck could do to make the climb.

In 1940, he went to work helping to build Fort Leonard Wood. He drove a 1935 Ford dump truck hauling gravel to make roads for $0.65 hour. Later, he went to Fort Riley, Kansas, and did roofing.

After marrying Erma, he worked at the creamery in Cabool and they milked cows. Soon he stopped working at the creamery and opened Earl’s Garage in Impo, Missouri. Impo is now known as Dunn. Erma and he then moved to Eudora, Kansas, where they both helped produce ammunition for the war. In 1947 the plant stopped producing ammunition and Earl went to work at a sulfuric acid plant and continued there until it started affecting his health.

Earl had been attending school before that to get his realtor’s license in Kansas, which he got in 1962. In 1964 Earl, Erma and their daughter moved back to Cabool. At that time Earl got his Missouri broker and salesperson license and proceeded to sell real estate. He kept his license until 1984.

When daughter Lea married in 1975, Earl and Erma basically retired, traveling throughout the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, plus parts of Canada and Mexico, enjoying the many wonders and beautiful sights the Lord has provided.

Earl was preceded in death by his wife Erma of 73 years; son, Howard and his wife, Barbara, and two of their children, Jeffery and Timothy, and his sister, Doris Hoyle.

He is survived by his daughter, Corma Lea Harmon and husband Max of Cabool; four grandchildren, Tracy Gerkey and husband Tim, Eva Cox and husband Brad, all of Springfield, Missouri, Samuel Butts of Cabool, and Jason Harmon and wife Catrina of Hickory Creek, Texas; six great-grandchildren, David Gerkey of Ohio, Jillian Gerkey of Springfield, Kevin Butts and wife Katie of South Carolina, Taylor Cox of Springfield, and Ryker Harmon of Hickory Creek, Texas.

Earl will be missed by his many friends and family. Some will remember him and think of fishing trips and fishing tales. Others will remember his sense of humor, fairness and compassion.

Graveside services were held at 11:00 a.m. Friday June 19, 2020, at Cabool Cemetery with Pastor Terry Brown officiating. Interment was in Cabool Cemetery under the direction of Elliott-Gentry-Carder Funeral Home of Cabool. Online condolences may be made at

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested contributions be made to Cabool Cemetery c/o the funeral home.