November 12, 1928 - August 18, 2016
Robert "Bob" Lawrence Butler, 87, co-owner of Lawrence’s Jewelers, passed away August 18, 2016 from complications resulting from a stroke he suffered in 2014.
Bob was born November 12, 1928 in Medford, Ore., son of Arnel Porter Butler and Elsie Louise Lawrence. Some of Bob’s fondest memories of his childhood were spending time at the family cabin at Diamond Lake and the summer he spent working as a spotter at the Mt. Scott watchtower at Crater Lake National Park as part of the Fire Suppression Crew. Bob was a track star in high school, high hurdling to state under the coaching of Bill Bowerman who would later become the track coach for the University of Oregon and the inventor of the shoe that would launch Nike.
Bob graduated from Medford High in 1947. He attended Oregon State College (Oregon State University) and Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., earning a degree in horology. He entered the United States Army Air Corps during the Korean War serving as a weather balloon specialist. His fondest memory of that time was when he was stationed at Johnston Island, a tiny atoll in the South Pacific Ocean, where he spent his free time snorkeling the reefs and getting a great tan.
Bob was given an early release from the Air Corps in order to return to Medford to join his mother, Elsie and sister, Ann in running Lawrence’s Jewelers. His grandfather, John Lawrence founded the family business in 1908. Together Elsie, Bob, and Ann created a thriving institution where everyone in the Rogue Valley went for engagement rings, bridal gifts, Christmas and birthday presents, as well as getting their watches and jewelry repaired.
A blind date set up by mutual friends led to 49 wonderful years of marriage to Alpha Jane Clinkinbeard. Alpha Jane passed away in 2006.
Bob was active in the Medford community. He was a member of the Medford Rotary Club, serving as president in 1974. He held many other offices throughout the years and was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow. Bob served as president of the Southern Oregon Historical Society and served on the board of the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon. Bob loved to play golf and was a member of the Rogue Valley Country Club for many years. He was very proud when he broke 80 and once got a hole in one. He was also very active in amateur radio and belonged to Rotarians of Amateur Radio (ROAR), serving as treasurer. In retirement, Bob and Alpha Jane spent time traveling throughout the country in their motorhome and were members of the Family Motor Coach Association. After Alpha Jane died, Bob joined the First Congregational United Church of Christ and enjoyed serving on their board and running the sound system during services.
Bob is survived by his children, Debra Anker (Fredericksburg, Va.), Sandra Byers (Albany, Ore.), and Rob Butler (Issaquah, Wash.); his sister, Ann Horton (Medford); and eight grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, September 17, 2016 at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Medford, Ore. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Bob’s name to the Medford Rotary Foundation, the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon, or the Willamette Valley Symphony Orchestra.