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Eliot A. Butler

by Susan J. Ainsworth
March 26, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 13

Eliot A. Butler, 85, professor of chemistry emeritus at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, died on Jan. 19.

Born in Snowflake, Ariz., Butler served in the Army during World War II and later as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Canada. He then enrolled at California Institute of Technology, earning a B.S. degree in chemistry in 1952 and a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry under Ernest Haywood Swift in 1956.

Upon finishing his education, Butler joined the chemistry department at BYU. During his 35-year career there, he taught freshman chemistry and served as department chair, dean of the College of Physical & Mathematical Sciences, and BYU’s associate academic vice president.

He coauthored two textbooks and received a Distinguished Pillar Award from BYU in 2010. He was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1956.

After retirement in 1991, Butler and his wife, Ann, served their church through missions in New Jersey and the Philippines and spent a semester teaching English at Qingdao University in China. A voracious reader, Butler also found joy in fine woodworking and photography.

He is survived by his wife, whom he married in 1949; daughters, Gail Cardon and Anita Ovard; sons, Mark and Lee; 19 grandchildren; and 28 great-grandchildren.


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