Sept. 12, 2015
Loys “Butch” Malcolm Satterfield, of Fort Worth, passed away at home on Sept. 12, 2015.
Butch grew up in Texas, graduated from Waxahachie High School in 1936, and from Trinity University in 1939 with a baccalaureate in Chemistry. Trinity University began in Waxahachie and has since moved to San Antonio. He had long had a fascination with Naval Aviation and this yearning to fly led to his twenty five year career as a Naval Aviator. He was commissioned as an Ensign just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Combat in WWII earned him numerous decorations while flying the Navy version of the B-24. Frequent engagements with enemy fighter aircraft had caused him to transfer to fighter aircraft prior to the Korean War, where he again earned decorations from combat in Korea flying the F4U Corsair.
During his Navy career he pursued three years of graduate work in Aeronautical Engineering earning an AE degree from the California Institute of Technology and was a graduate of the Senior Course in Naval Warfare at the Naval War College. He also graduated from the National War College, specializing in Counter Insurgency and Political Science. His extensive travels in more than eighty countries served to stimulate his interest in international affairs.
During the mid ‘50s, as head of the Navy Test Pilot School at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, he trained many of the early Astronauts including Wally Schirra, Jim Lovell, Dick Gordon and Pete Conrad. In 1959, Butch received orders to Norfolk, Virginia as Executive Officer of the Aircraft Carrier USS Forrestal which later deployed to the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. After attending the National War College in Washington D.C., he received orders to command the USS Marias, an oiler. His last assignment was at the Pentagon for duty as the Head of Aviation Military Requirements; responsible for preparing the requirements for all new aircraft, aviation weapons, and for the monitoring of and updating existing aircraft weapon systems. Butch retired from the Navy in 1965 with the rank of Navy Captain. His early fascination with Naval Aviation spanned more than twenty five years and during this time, he personally flew a hundred and twenty-three different models of aircraft as a Naval Aviator.
His second career was at Grumman Aircraft in New York where he managed the highly successful Electronic Countermeasure aircraft development, the EA6B. He later was Proposal Director for the F14 Tomcat, the Navy front line fighter aircraft for the next three decades. Following the successful introduction of the F14 into the Navy inventory, he led a two man team that sold the airplane to the Shah of Iran. Retiring as a Vice President of Grumman in 1976, he engaged in his hobby as an avid reader, a student of national affairs and honing his skills in woodwork, resulting in the building of very finely crafted furniture.
At the age of 79, Butch remarried, uniting with his surviving wife, Laura Sessions Satterfield, (a proud graduate of Waxahachie High School, Class of 1945) whom he had known from his early days in Waxahachie. Together, they shared “sixteen special years’’, often referring to what they called “Lightning Strike Day” – when they discovered their love for each other. During that time, Butch wrote his memoirs entitled “Personal Chronicle - My First Ninety Years.” When complete, he closed it out with the following:
“As my ninetieth birthday nears, I can look back on an extremely full life, filled with its share of both joy and sadness, successes and failures. There are so many things that I would like to do, that I hate to leave and will procrastinate as long as possible. I would like to become an Archeologist and explore the world’s ruins. I would like to write so as to inform the world of the follies upon which they are embarking. (Is that somewhat arrogant — I suppose so, but I should be able to indulge a bit at my age). I would like to study medicine. I would like to delve more into history so as to extract lessons from the past. And so it goes. I am pleased to have passed this way — I wonder if there really is a future.”
Now he is flying again!.
Butch was preceded in death by his first wife, Dorothy McNeill Satterfield from Amarillo. He was also preceded in death by his second wife, Mary Elizabeth Knapp Satterfield, and by their son, Robert Barry Satterfield.
He is survived by his wife, Laura Sessions Satterfield and his four remaining children: Mary Elizabeth Satterfield Ridgway of San Saba; Hollie Marion Satterfield Evans, of Upperville, Virginia; Lee Martin Satterfield, of Oakland, MD; Tracy Anne Satterfield Miller, of Santa Barbara, California; and seven grandchildren.
Friends and family are invited for lunch at 1 p.m. on first Friday, Nov. 6, 2015 at Cancuns Ameri-Mex Restaurant. The custom of meeting for lunch on the “First Friday” of each month began in 2002 when Gretchen and Bob Lewis advertised in the Daily Light, inviting all Waxahachie High School graduates who had friends in or around 1945 (give or take 10 years or so on either side) to meet for lunch.
So once again, friends will mark their calendars on the “First Friday” of this month; just as Butch looked forward to doing each month for so many, many years. Though we will miss him — he would not want us to be sad. Instead, he would want us to enjoy our time together — knowing and appreciating how wonderfully rewarding lifelong friendships are. We are all blessed with memories that will never be forgotten — and — god willing will last forever.