In Memory

Elbert E. "Butch" Ott

Elbert E. Butch Ott


         Elbert E. “Butch” Ott passed away on October 10, 2008 at the Billings Clinic Hospital from a year-long battle with kidney cancer. Bunch was born February 24, 1943 in Eufaula, Oklahoma.  On May 18, 1963 Butch married Nancy McPherson in Oskaloosa Kansas. They have one son, Shane, and a special daughter-in-law, Joy.        

         Butch graduated from Topeka High School and attended Washburn University.  He was a graduate of the Industrial Development Institute at the University of Arizona at Tucson and the University of Oklahoma at Norman.  He was a City/County Planner in Shawnee County, Kansas for 18 years followed by four years with the Topeka Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Division and as Acting Director.  He was a past member of the Board of Directors of the American Economic Development Council.

         Butch and Nancy moved to Billings in 1984 when Butch was recruited to launch the "Forward Billings" Economic Development Program.  When "Forward Billings” became part of the Billings Chamber of Commerce, Butch became its President and CEO until his retirement in December of 2004.

         Butch's contributions to Billings and the state of Montana were many.  He was a longtime member of the Billings Rotary Club.  Butch was a proud member of the Yellowstone Art Museum Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2007, serving as its Chair from 2004 through 2006.  He volunteered for the American Cancer Society Relay For Life and served on the American Cancer Society Advisory Council of Yellowstone County.

         He was a member of the Montana Professional Economic Developers Association, the Montana Ambassadors and Montana Association of Chamber Executives.  Butch was a man of many talents in both his professional and personal endeavors.  In 2004 Montana Governor Schweitzer presented Butch with the distinguished Montana Ambassadors Plenipotentiary Award for meritorious service to the industrial and economic development of the State of Montana.

         He was an avid fly fisherman and loved fishing with his son and special friends on a variety of Montana Rivers, especially the Boulder. He was a master at tying flies, a great photographer, and a strong advocate for artists.  He and Nancy enjoyed traveling to art auctions throughout the West.  They also shared wonderful memories of their many visits to Yellowstone National Park.

         He is survived by his wife, Nancy, son Shane and daughter-in-law Joy; his mother, Mary Sheppard of Topeka, Kansas; sister and brother-in-law Judy and Bill Canutillo, Rossville, Kansas; sister-in-law and brother-in-law at Dr. Jerry and Jane Young of Topeka, Kansas; three nieces, two nephews, five great-nieces and four great nephews, and his special "furry " grandpups, Winston and Sizzle.  He was preceded in death by his stepfather Earnest Sheppard, his mother-in-law and father-in-law, Mabel and Willard McPherson.

         A celebration of Butch’s life will be held at 2 PM on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at the Albert Blair Theater with a reception following at the Yellowstone Art Museum.  Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life or the Yellowstone Art Museum.

         Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary has charge of the arrangements. Remembrances may be shared with the family by visiting .



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04/09/17 10:21 PM #1    

Diann R. Edwards (Arbuthnot)

I went to high school with Butch at THS, class of 62.  I also live in Billings MT where I heard he lived and worked.  I see Butch came to Billings in 1984 and I came in 1987. I didn't know this until it was too late or would have gotten in contact with him.  He was always a popular guy and was well liked here in Billings.  My sympathy to all famly and friends.


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