Karl and Mollie Butler
Karl Douglas Butler, the fourth child of John Topham and Susan Elizabeth Redd Butler, was born in 1910 in Douglas, Arizona. The family moved to Lehi, Arizona, when he was four years old. Butler graduated from the University of Arizona in 1932 and completed a Master's degree in plant pathology in 1933. He pursued additional graduate studies at Iowa State College and Cornell University. In 1938 he met Mollie Emerson Parker (born 1916) of Reading, Massachusetts. At the time Karl met her, Mollie had graduated from Simmons College and was employed at Cornell. In 1940, Karl completed a PhD in plant pathology and Mollie completed a Master's in nutrition, both from Cornell. On his first post-graduate assignments in Costa Rica and the Amazon, Butler worked on developing a new rubber source. He later served as director of research for GLF, a venerable agricultural cooperative now known as Agway. He also served as president of the National Farmers Co-op. Based on his work with the NFC and his research, he was appointed by Dwight E. Eisenhower as an Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson. As a researcher and farming consultant, Karl Butler traveled throughout the world with his wife, Mollie, improving agricultural practices.
Karl and Mollie Butler were the devoted parents of eight children. In the 1950s, Mollie Butler's love of children and horses coalesced. Her search for safe horses for her own children evolved into a breeding program that resulted in the Welsh mountain pony for children and the famous GlanNant line. She worked with Thalia Gentzel, a nationally known breeder of Welsh ponies and feature editor of the Paisley Pony Magazine, to develop a child-centered riding program at the family's farm. It was reportedly the first 4-H Light Horse Project in the country. Mollie was a strong supporter of and collaborator with the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. She was particularly interested in research on herd socialization, parasite management, and reproductive studies. Mollie passed away in Ithaca, New York, in 1992.
While Karl Butler's training was in agriculture, he had a great interested in history. He was in charge of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint's Peter Whitmer farm, and he wrote a book with Richard E. Palmer on Brigham Young's experiences in New York. He was very supportive of the Redd Center and its research and provided funding for an endowment that he requested be named after his parents in 1985. Karl died in Ithaca, New York, in 2002.