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Hackly Butler, City's 'No. 1 Citizen,' Dies

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Prominent Citizen Passes [Photo Caption] W. Hackly Butler, 78 years old, insurance agent, and secretary of the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce, died last night. He was long active in community movements here. Hackly Butler, City’s ‘No. 1 Citizen,’ Dies Prominent Leader In III Health For Last Six Months HAD MANY INTERESTS Wolcott Hackly Butler, who ranked as Ann Arbor’s “No. 1 Citizen” because of his amazing record of service to the community, died at 10 o’clock last night at his home at 1010 Monroe St. He was 73 years old and had been in failing health. Willing to devote his efforts to any project which would further the progress of Ann Arbor and its residents, Mr. Butler’s lifetime record of service has been equaled by few persons in the city’s history. Among the movements in which he figured prominently are: the Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scouts, city parks, humane society, business advancement generally, and the Ann Arbor Community Fund association. He also was active in the University alumni organization. Lauded at Dinner On the occasion of a testimonial dinner May 15,1935, he was lauded as “Ann Arbor’s No. 1 Citizen” and at another celebration was given recognition as Ann Arbor’s “Ten Thousand Dollar A Year Man.” The title referred to his value to the community and not to the salary he received, as all of his services were free. Outside of Ann Arbor, he was best known for his work with the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce. Active in the Chamber from the time of its organization in 1919, he served as president in 1923-1924, and offered his services as voluntary secretary in 1929, an office he held at the time of his death. The titles give no indication of the extent of the work of Mr. Butler in fostering the Chamber of Commerce. In earlier years he was responsible for the large luncheon meetings of the Chamber, and in more recent years he was the moving spirit in the organization of the merchants of the city in groups according to their business classifications. Aided Boy Scouts He made an outstanding record in Scout work over a period of 25 years, dating back to December, 1910, when he served as a troop committeeman. He was vice president of the Scouts from January 1921 to 1923, and president from 1923 to 1927. Among other Scout offices to which he was chosen are: middle district chairman, 1927 and 1936, chairman of camp committee, December, 1929, and representative on national council, 1935. Mr. Butler was made the recipient of the silver beaver award for distinctive service to boyhood by the Scouts in 1936. Ten years earlier the American Legion gave recognition to him by choosing him for a citizenship citation. Interested in the Community Fund association, he served as chairman of the successful campaign conducted in the fall of 1927. He ended 50 years as a director of the Ann Arbor Humane society last January. He served as president of this society from 1928 to 1935, and had been president emeritus since. A member of the city board of park commissioners at the time of his death, he was first appointed to the board in 1925. He is a past president. The development of the municipal airport and the municipal golf course was a chief interest. He was the first vice president of the Ann Arbor Flying club. Many Other Interests Mr. Butler was a Y.M.C.A. director, a vice president of the Huron Valley Building & Savings association, a director of the Southeastern Michigan Tourist association, and head of the 1936 Ragweed campaign here. Another of his interests was the Theta Delta Chi fraternity of which he was a member. He had been president of the alumni organization of the fraternity for the last 38 years and was given a testimonial dinner for his services in 1930. He was president at the time of his death. In business life, Mr. Butler was an insurance agent representing 30 different insurance companies. He was born May 9, 1865, in Allegan, and was graduated from the University of Michigan law school in 1887 and the literary department in 1891. He practiced law in Ann Arbor for a brief period before starting in the insurance business. In Several Lodges Mr. Butler was one of the oldest past masters of Golden Rule lodge, No. 159, F. & A. M., was a member of Washtenaw chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, Rotary club, Michigan Union and Otseningo lodge, I.O.O.F. Despite his diversified activities, Mr. Butler had started last spring on a South American trip when he was taken ill March 17. He had been in failing health since. He is survived by a son, Ronald of Detroit and Ann Arbor, and a brother, Judge Augustus Butler of Allegan. Funeral services will be held Thursday afternoon at the Dolph funeral home, where friends may call.