Three generations of homebuilders team up to construct a family legacy at OSU
When Robert “Bob” Butler was growing up in the small town of Siletz, his family’s radio could only pick up one station. That one radio station transmitted play-by-play coverage of Oregon State ball games over the Coast Range mountains and into his home. He hung onto every word – and became a Beaver for life.
Years after Bob’s death in 2017, the extended Butler family – which includes eight Beaver graduates – still loves Oregon State. And last fall, three generations of Butlers – Bob’s wife Dorothy Butler; her son Mike Butler and his wife Lori; granddaughter Mandi Butler Craner, ’03, and her husband Brian Craner, ’04; and grandson Dane Butler, ’06, and his wife Kathryn, ’06 – came together to demonstrate their commitment to OSU and support its students through the Robert and Dorothy Butler Family Scholarship Endowment Fund.
Mandi Butler Craner, ’03; Mike Butler; Dorothy Butler; Lori Butler; Dane Butler, ’06
Partners in business, partners for life
The Butler family is used to pulling together around a common cause. Take the story of their business, which began more than 40 years ago. Bob and Dorothy had already worked for decades while raising five children. After retiring from education administration, Bob went on to obtain his real estate license.
Then one day Dorothy got a call from Bob with a plan for a new career for both of them. “I think we can make it in the building business,” Bob told her.
And with that, the family home construction business was born. The only problem: “We didn’t know a screwdriver from a hammer,” Dorothy says.
She went to the local community college and took construction classes. Together, the couple learned how to run a business from the ground up – Dorothy as project manager and designer and Bob responsible for sales and administration.
“There were a lot of bumps along the way,” Dorothy says. “But we did it.”
Future B Homes would go on to build over a thousand homes in Lane County. But the biggest surprise to Bob and Dorothy was not the success they achieved – it was the fact that family wanted to sign on to work with them. Their son Mike and his wife Lori joined the company in 1985 and helped grow the business into one of the county’s leading homebuilders. These days, Mike and Lori’s children, Mandi Butler Crane and Dane Butler, operate Butler Homes, the offshoot of the family business.
Creating opportunity – now and in perpetuity
In 2021, these three generations of homebuilders decided to build something new together. They had noticed a story in the Oregon Stater alumni magazine that talked about the Scholarship Match program and saw it as an opportunity to create an impact representative of the family’s shared passions. The Butlers chose to support civil and construction engineers, reflecting their family’s decades-long involvement in the construction industry as well as the fact that so many Butlers had become Oregon State engineers themselves.
“We’re excited to expand Bob and Dorothy’s legacy beyond the many family homes they created over the years to include future generations of builders,” Mike says.
Together, the Butlers committed $100,000 for their scholarship – and through the match program, the university is providing scholarship awards to students now while the family focuses on endowing their scholarship for the long term. Thirteen Robert and Dorothy Butler Family Scholarships have been awarded to date.
To the Butlers, this is a natural extension of their love of Oregon State and dedication to building that started with Bob and Dorothy.
“By endowing a scholarship, we have an opportunity to make an impact in perpetuity,” Mike says. “Through this commitment, we can continue to support the education of OSU engineers and contribute to the construction industry long after we’re gone.”
Learn more about Oregon State University’s Scholarship Match – and ways you can support the next generation of students – by contacting Mike Moran, Senior Director of Development, Scholarships and Student Initiatives, at Mike.Moran@osufoundation.org or 503-201-0185