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President General 2009 - 2010: Judge Edward F. Butler
Judge Edward F. “Ed” Butler is a native of Memphis, TN. Ed was an active member of the Sigma Chi social fraternity at Ole Miss. In 2005 the Sigma Chi Fraternity recognized him as a “Significant Sig” (along with John Wayne). The Mississippi Governor presented him with a medal as the outstanding cadet from the Army, Navy and Air Force R.O.T.C. units in 1957. At Ole Miss he was elected into the honorary leadership fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega.
Ed joined the Air Force Reserve in 1954, and was discharged as a S.SGT. in 1962 after completing 8 years service. He was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy Reserve in 1963. He served continuously in the Navy reserve for 27 years as a Naval Intelligence officer. His military awards include the Naval Academy Commandant=s Award; Naval Academy Superintendent’s Award; Navy Commendation Medal (2); Air Force Reserve Commendation Medal; and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal (3). He retired in 1990 as a Commander (O-5).
Judge Butler attended Vanderbilt Univ. School of Law as a Ford Foundation Scholar. He was elected to the honorary legal fraternity of Phi Delta Phi. He graduated with honors in 1961. While at Vandy, he was editor of the law school newspaper. He practiced law in Memphis, TN from 1963 through 1984, and was admitted to practice law in Texas in 1972. Before going on the bench he was Board Certified as a Civil Trial Lawyer.
Academically, he as served as an full Professor of Law at the Reynaldo Garza School of Law at Pan American University at Edinburg, TX; as Adjunct Professor at the University of Memphis Law School; of Constitutional Law and Criminal Justice at the University of Memphis, Shelby State Community College in Memphis, and the University of Texas at Brownsville, TX.
Judge Butler first wore his judicial robes in Memphis as a Juvenile Court Judge. In Tennessee he served as a municipal, county and state judge. There he was president of many organizations.
While living on South Padre Island, TX he served as Presiding Municipal Court Judge. Frequently, he conducted court in Spanish. He was elected President of the S.P.I. Merchants Assn; the Port Isabel-S.P.I. Chamber of Commerce and the Laguna Madre Republican Club. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Brownsville, TX Chamber. He is a graduate of “Leadership Brownsville”. In 1991 he received an appointment to the federal bench in Dallas.
Ed joined the SAR in 1986 and became a Perpetual Life Member ten years later. He has been awarded dozens of SAR medals and awards, including the coveted Gold Good Citizenship Medal, Minuteman Medal, and the Gold National Distinguished Service Medal. He has eight patriot ancestors. He has served as SAR Ambassador to both Mexico and Spain (and founded SAR Societies in both nations); Genealogist General, Chancellor General, Treasurer General, Secretary General, and in July 2009 was unanimously elected as the 106th SAR President General.
Judge Butler and his lovely wife, Robin spent 14 months traveling around the world in 1997-1998, following his retirement. They enjoy spending time with her two daughter and a grandson and granddaughter, and his two sons and granddaughter.
Judge Butler has written two law books; a U.S. State Dept. Guide to Australia; an award winning book on the Butler family, and two family history books on his wife’s family. He has had dozens of professional articles published in legal and medical journals. Many of his travel articles have been published in newspapers and magazines. He is currently researching on his next family history book, and enjoys being a member of the Circumnavigators Club, Century Club, USA Today, Travel and Leisure and Conde Nast Travelers Advisory Panels. He has visited about 170 countries, and has published three books on travel.
Other groups which hold his interest include the Sovereign Military Order of the Knights of the Temple of Jerusalem (Knights Templar), where he has served as both the Prior for Texas, and the Deputy Grand Prior; Order of Founders and Patriots (TX Treasurer); Sons of Confederate Veterans (former Camp Commander, Texas Division Parliamentarian); First Families of Maryland, Colonial Bench and Bar; the Military Order of Stars and Bars (former National Deputy JAG); War of 1812 Society (Judge Advocate General); and the Society of Colonial Wars (Texas state Governor). He is also a member of the Texas Society, Magna Charta Barons; Americans of Royal Descent; Colonial Order of the Crown; the Order of the Garter; the Huguenot Society and the Descendants of Washington=s Army at Valley Forge (former Judge Advocate General).
In this SAR Magazine, he authored many articles. One was entitled “God Bless Texas”, in which he pointed out the connection between the heroes of the Alamo and their fathers and grandfathers who fought in the American Revolutionary War. Another article was entitled “Spain’s participation to the American Revolutionary War”, including information about the Texas Connection to the American Revolutionary War. Judge Butler was a charter member and organizer of The Texas Connection to the American Revolutionary War, and Founder and Charter Grand Viscount General of the Order of the Founders of North America 1492-1692.
His mantra for his year as PG was “Modernize, Publicize, and Socialize”.
Accomplishments of the 2009-2010 Leadership Team (by PG Butler)
The following is a list of accomplishments by my team in 2009-2010:
- In August, 2009, we negotiated a construction contract for the build-out of the new 17,000 square feet NSSAR Library in Louisville, KY. Construction was completed under budget.
- We negotiated an invitation from the Smithsonian Museum to become an Affiliate Smithsonian Museum once our new CAAH facility is completed.
- We organized the SAR Annual Conference on the American Revolution, inviting scholars to present papers, and to later publish those articles. We appointed our first SAR Distinguished Scholar.
- For the first time ever we conducted the SAR Conference on the American Revolution at the United States Military Academy.
My theme for the year was “Honoring Spain” for its contributions to the American Revolutionary cause, which included several scholarly articles in the SAR Magazine. He and First Lady Robin lead a group of 33 SAR members and wives from the US and 16 from Spain, on an historical tour of Spain, which included an audience with Crown Prince Filipe de Borbon.
We chartered the new SAR Spain Society and conducted the Charter Ceremony in Madrid.
So that my message would reach as many members as possible, I visited large SAR chapters in my travels, e.g. Dallas, Houston, Austin, Tyler, and San Antonio, TX; Chicago, Philadelphia, Alexandria, VA, Shreveport, LA, and Cincinnati, OH. I also visited many small chapters in California, Texas, New Mexico, New York, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Oklahoma.
I traveled over 87,000 miles (@ 3 ½ times around the world) during 240 days. The first lady accompanied me on all but a very few trips. On behalf of the SAR during this year I spoke to over 70 audiences in 32 states, the Dist. Of Columbia, and five foreign countries. Through this travel we also fermented closer ties with other patriotic lineage organizations
We negotiated a partnership agreement with the History Channel to work together to further our common goals.
We entered into an Agreement with The SAR France Society them to elevate their status to that of a partner with the NSSAR rather than that of a state society. Robin and I led a small group to Paris for the Charter Ceremony. The France SAR Society was so elated that they designed a SAR Medal to commemorate the granting of the charter.
While in Europe we visited to the United Kingdom Society.
We traveled to Landstuhl, Germany US Army hospital where we presented about 100 SAR Wounded Warrior coins to servicemen who had recently been wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Hospital Commander presented both Robin and I “Soldiers’ Angles” awards.
For the first time in SAR history, through the extensive use of the video camera, we were able to communicate directly with members of the SAR at the chapter level. DVDs were created by our SAR Videographer, which included narration by me and excerpts of NSSAR Leadership Meetings, state meetings and conventions, parades, dedications, revolutionary war battle commemorations, grave markings, district meetings, chapter meetings and events. Members were shown what went on at Congress. What better way to inform the general membership what we do all over the country?
Also, each chapter received a master DVD which could be provided to all prospective members, so that they get a visual image of what the SAR does around the country. Another first is that we started a SAR Video Archive of our History.
The number of both membership and supplemental applications continued to increase to record breaking numbers. In calendar year 2009 new applications exceeded 3,000 for the first time, and total applications reached a new high of over 4,000.
The number of members at the end of calendar year 2009 was the highest ever – almost 29,000.
For the first time ever, a SAR PG presented a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.
Through the auspices of the DC Society, I will always cherish being the principal speaker at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington on the 267th birthday celebration of Thomas Jefferson.
With the cooperation of the NJSSAR, we had an impressive grave marking of our third President General, Horace Porter.
We worked with the McConnell Center to create SAR kiosks to put George Washington back into the classrooms. Hopefully, we will be able to obtain grants to provide these kiosks to each chapter.
I founded the SAR Wounded Warrior Program, which started with our visit to Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu (before our SAR Cruise through the Hawaiian Islands). Hundreds of SAR Wounded Warrior coins and certificates have been presented to injured servicemen at military and VA hospitals all around the country and in Germany. Included in this Wounded Warrior SAR Program was “Operation Ancestor Search”, where with the assistance of Ancestry.com, SAR members went into military hospitals to teach family history to wounded warriors. This got their minds off their pain and family problems.
God Bless You - God Bless America - and God Bless the SAR.