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Thursday, January 18, 2018

PFC William Ross Butz

Army Pfc. William R. Butz, 18, passed away approximately November 30, 1950, while bravely serving his country during the Korean War. William was one of many unidentified soldiers who died at the “inlet” near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. His remains were finally identified April 2016, and he will be returned to his place of final rest with his family in Vancouver, Wash.

William was born October 28, 1932 in Glendive to Leeomer and Zella Butz. In 1943, William moved to the Heights in Vancouver. At the age of 17, he joined the army by fibbing about his age, stating he was born in 1931 instead of 1932. Shortly after turning 18, as a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, while under heavy attack by enemy forces, William was killed. He was reported MIA once his Division was back in communication on December 12, 1950. In 1954, the United Nations and communist forces exchanged the remains of war dead in “Operation Glory.” William, along with many other soldiers, was brought back for interment and eventual identification at the National Memorial Cemetary of the Pacific in Hawaii. William remained a KIA/MIA for 65 years.

William is survived by his sister, Betty (Gary) Hain; and many nieces and nephews, including Tracy Hein, Tom Bleth, Donita Kessler and Sally Jo Hernandez. 

He is preceded in death by his parents, Leeomer and Zella Butz; and siblings, Glen Butz of Mont., Donald Butz of Ill., Bernice Bleth of Wash., Virginia Mason of Mont. and Marjorie Finnel of Wash.

The public is invited to pay final respects to William from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, August 10 and Thursday, August 11 at the Vancouver Funeral Chapel, 110 E. 12th St., Vancouver, WA 98660. A graveside service and full military honors will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, August 12 at Evergreen Memorial Gardens, 1101 NE 112th Ave., Vancouver, WA 98684.

Arrangements under the direction of Vancouver Funeral Chapel, Vancouver, Wash.

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