August 17, 1932 to January 30, 2012
Jack Butefish passed away from Parkinson’s Disease at Silverado Residence in Newport Beach California on Monday morning.
Jack was raised by Clinton and Margaret Butefish who came to California from Kansas and were successful in the post WWII baby store business. Jack worked in their stores as a child and then, as his height soared to 6’7”, he excelled as an athlete at Inglewood High School. When he and his friends went down to the train station in LA to enlist in the Korean War, his height caused him to be sent home because “he couldn’t fit into the uniforms and beds”.
He was an excellent athlete and played many sports, but excelled as a pitcher and played with the Dodger Farm team. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara and received his graduate degree from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona. He joined CitiCorp in New York City who sent him to manage their bank in Santiago, Chile for 3 years. In Chile he perfected his Spanish and learned Rugby.
He returned to Bank of America in San Francisco where he played Rugby for the Olympic Club. He then accepted the position of Director of the CA Association of Accountants. Not feeling on the right track, he moved back to Southern California and, with a partner, began Group Dynamics Inc, a successful sports and entertainment marketing company headquartered in Santa Monica.
Joining the early efforts to establish a professional tour for women’s tennis, he created 4 Virginia Slims Women’s Tennis Association Tour Events in the US and 2 in Japan and directed more than 50 international women’s pro tennis tournaments. For 12 years he served on the Women’s International Professional Tennis Council.
He was a co-founder of the NHL Quebec Nordiques and the International Track Association which professionalized the sport of track and field.
In the music area of promotion, Mr. Butefish produced jazz festivals in Japan for the Toshiba Company. The Aurex Jazz Festival still holds the world attendance record for a single day audience for a jazz festival (65,000 fans at the Yokohama Baseball Stadium). Continuing with his interest in music, in 1989 he established the Santa Barbara International Jazz Festival and directed the event for 10 years, before selling it to local Santa Barbara interests.
Jack moved to Newport Coast, California in 1996 and was on the Committee of 2000 who assisted in the annexing of Newport Coast to the City of Newport Beach and in the building of the Newport Coast Community Center.
He is survived by his wife Robin Whempner Whyte and his daughter Jennifer Butefish from his first wife Marilyn, who preceded Jack in death, as did his son Wesley. His second wife Janice also preceded him in death. He is also survived by stepdaughter Monica Leigh Privratsky and her husband Ryan, stepson Robert Schroff and his wife Carla and grandson Taylor Christensen.
Jack was a member of California Yacht Club and Balboa Yacht Club. He won many races on his sailboat, LOVE MACHINE V, a custom IOR Peterson 41. There will be a private burial at sea. Those interested in attending a “Celebration of Life” on Thursday, February 16th, please call Jorge at 562-596-3135 by February 13th.
In memory of Jack, contributions can be made to Silverado, Attn. Lindsay McGovern, 350 W. Bay Street, Costa Mesa CA 92627.