Harry Milton “Butch” Richenback, born July 11, 1946, and a lifelong resident of Stuttgart, passed early in the afternoon of June 29, 2015. Butch was Baptist and attended the First Missionary Baptist Church of St. Charles, Ark.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles Paul and Elnor Marie Richenback; brothers, James Earnest, Clyde Glenn and Robert Joseph Richenback; brother-in-law, Clotene (Cecil) Sanders; sister, Rebecca Sue Conrad; brother-in-law, Harry N “Buddy” Rundel; and sister-in-law, Johnnie (Charles) Richenback.
He is survived by brothers, Charles Richenback of Somerville, Tenn., and James Allen (Paulette) Richenback of Stuttgart; sisters, Wanda Maxine (Eddie) Dallari of Pine Bluff, Evelyn Charlene Rundel of Stuttgart and Martha Ann (Charles) Summerford of Arkadelphia.
Although Butch did not have any biological children, many youngsters through his years of coaching, both duck calling and baseball, claimed him.
He joined the Marines after graduating from the Stuttgart High School in 1964 where he was eventually discharged due to medical issues. Upon returning home Butch went to work at the Stuttgart Youth Center where he eventually became director, a position he held from 1969-1994, where he instituted the Stuttgart Youth Duck Calling Clinic which has become a yearly tradition since it was started in 1969.
Butch was a very talented duck caller who at the age of 11 became the Junior World Champion Duck Caller in 1957, then in 1972 went on to win the Arkansas State Championship and the same night went on to win the World Championship. Then in 1975 he went on to become the Champion of Champion Duck Caller.
Founding Rich-N-Tone Duck Calls in 1976, duck calls and duck calling have taken Butch to all corners of the country due to his ability to coach and teach. Between the youth clinics and working with folks at RNT, Butch’s coaching and inspiration has culminated in winning over 100 World Championship titles and countless state, regional and youth contests. Butch’s willingness to work with and teach duck calling to both youth and adults did not go unnoticed as he was inducted into both the Arkansas Game & Fish Hall of Fame and The Legends Outdoors Hall Of Fame in 2005 and then in 2012 was given the Jerry Jones Sportsman Award.
While most people know Butch for duck calling, many do not know that he was just as dedicated as a baseball coach. He began coaching baseball in high school, along with coaching several local parks and recreation teams. He attended several coaching clinics at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, and he went on to be the Stuttgart American Legion coach and coached his team to the 1992 State Championship.
Besides being busy with building duck calls, and coaching baseball, Butch had an interest in making Stuttgart a better place and sat on the Stuttgart City Council for eight years and in 1994 was elected the town’s Mayor, a position he held until 2006.
Butch has been referred to as the pied piper except he used a duck call instead of a flute!
Funeral services, officiated by Bro. Todd Smith, are 10:00 a.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church in Stuttgart with burial following in Lone Tree Cemetery.
Visitation will be 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Wednesday at Turpin Funeral Home in Stuttgart.
Memorials may be made to the Butch Richenback Memorial Fund at Farmers and Merchants Bank, Attn: LeeAnn Krisell, P.O. Box 1010, Stuttgart, Ark. 72160. Anyone with questions may also contact Chris Morgan.