Thomas "Tom" Gene Butts, 89, of Ardmore, passed away Friday, July 19, 2013, at the Circle of Life Hospice Home at Legacy Village in Bentonville, Ark.

He was born January 23, 1924, in Dillard, Oklahoma, to James T. and Ruth (Mitchell) Butts.

He enlisted in the United States Navy on May 20, 1943, and served as a flight engineer during World War II. After the war, he served in Okinawa, Japan. During the Korean Conflict, he served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Essex. He also served two years with the Blue Angels at NAF El Centro, California. During the last of his Navy career, he served aboard the nuclear carrier, the USS Enterprise and participated in the Cuban blockade. He had 5,949.3 flight hours, and was in five plane crashes.

After retiring from the Navy, Tom went to work for the City of El Centro, California, where he also later retired. He moved to Colorado for a short time before moving back to Ardmore where he went to work for the City of Ardmore. Tom married the love of his life, Roberta Jnell (Wyatt) Butts on November 12, 1968, in Las Vegas.

Survivors include his wife, Roberta Jnell Butts of the home; one son James "Kenny" Butts and wife, Jennifer A. Sawatzky Butts of Oklahoma City; stepdaughter Wanda Faye Adams and husband, Dennis of Pea Ridge, Arkansas; stepson Bobby Ray Thompson of Ardmore; stepson Tommy Jay Thompson and wife, Leesa Briscoe Thompson of Graham, Texas; one brother Kenneth Butts of Bella Vista, Arkansas; one sister Anna Fleming of Ardmore; seven grandchildren Lisa, Sammy, Chris, Ashley, Matthew, B.J. and Austin; eight great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Graveside services will be 2 p.m. Friday, July 26, 2013, at Drake - Nebo Cemetery in Sulphur with Pastor John Genn officiating with Navy Funeral Honors.

Online tributes to the family may be made at

Arrangements are with Benton County Memorial Park Funeral Home and Crematory of Rogers, Ark.