Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West
Newspaper Obituary E. “Butch” Gates, 1948 - 2009
Elgin “Butch” F.
Gates, 61, of Idaho Falls, passed away Wednesday, Dec 30th, 2009, at Eastern
Idaho Regional Medical Center.
Butch loved his maps, the desert, and looking for things lost including airplane crashes. He was an active member of the aircraft wreck chasing community, contributing research and helping others with their publications and other projects. He enjoyed the time he spent in the desert and his family remembers him spending many happy hours roving all over the desert showing them wonderful places that very few people knew about.
Butch was a devout Jehovah’s Witness. Besides
being a dedicated “pioneer” he helped out with numerous church builds in the
western states. He enjoyed the time he spent with his many church friends.
Online condolences or a sympathy card, may be sent to the family at www.coltrinmortuary.com
I only met Butch once when he visited Orange County many years ago, but we talked frequently by telephone. Butch loved the history and geography of the Mojave Desert, and shared much of his research with other students of this forbidding vastness. Thanks to Butch I learned where many of the old plane wrecks were in the eastern desert, and the compelling stories associated with them. Butch encouraged me to look for sites that had eluded him, and to report any discoveries that I made. He sent me countless newspaper articles and copies of maps old and new. I will miss his stories, his kind voice, and willingness always to help unlock the secrets of the great desert that he loved.
G. Pat Macha, January 2010