July 15, 2010

Co-owner of Butler's Orchard in Germantown dies after farm accident

Todd Butler, co-owner of Butler's Orchard in Germantown, was injured in a farm accident July 3 and died five days later. Butler, 55, of Germantown was on his way to check the blueberry fields after a busy day at the farm market when he noticed a metal fence post out of place, according to his sister and orchard co-owner Susan Butler. The post broke as he attempted to repair it and struck him in the head, she said.

Todd Butler received stitches at the hospital and lost consciousness soon after that, Susan Butler said. He died July 8 at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville with his friends and family by his side. Their brother Wade Butler also operates the farm. Sister Carol Butler lives in Ohio. It was a minor accident with disastrous consequences, Susan Butler said.

"We had a good day of blueberry picking, a lot of customers, it was a holiday weekend," she said. "Everything was going great."

The siblings' parents, George and Shirley Butler, purchased 37 acres in Germantown after they graduated from college. They grew peaches and raised their four children in a log cabin. The farm now produces more than 25 varieties of fruits, vegetables and flowers on over 300 acres and hosts annual community events.

"Todd was a real forward-thinking guy, he had a lot of innovative ideas," said county agricultural services manager Jeremy Criss, who knew Todd Butler for more than 20 years.

"He played a huge role in trying to connect families with agriculture and teaching families where their food comes from," Criss said. "Going to Butler's is an experience, and that experience is important."

Susie Butler, Todd's high school sweetheart and wife of 31 years, described him as caring, compassionate and giving, someone who shared everything he had. He loved to farm and when he was not at the orchard he could often be found in his garden, she said. He also enjoyed antiquing and trips to the beach.

"I just can't say enough good things," Susie Butler said. They have a 20-year-old son, Matthew Butler.

Todd Butler graduated from Damascus High School in 1973 and received a degree in horticulture from the University of Maryland in 1977. He was a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, the Maryland Horticultural Society, the national and state chapters of the Direct Marketing Association, the Maryland Apple Promotion Board, the Maryland Farm Bureau and the Upper Montgomery County Farmers Club. He was a founding member of the Potomac Valley Assembly Church in Germantown. SOURCE: Gazette

No comments: