This 1950s home movie captures a trip to Laity Lodge at the H. E. Butt Foundation Camp near Leakey. After crossing the Frio River, campgoers participate in games of volleyball and baseball. The campsite was established in 1954 after the H. E. Butt Family Foundation acquired 1,900 acres of land along the Frio River. Promoting Christian character development, the H. E. Butt Foundation Camp provides free camping facilities to churches, schools, and community-service groups.
Howard Edward Butt Sr. was born on April 9, 1895, in Memphis, Tennessee. The family moved to Kerrville, Texas, in the early 1900s, opening a small grocery store in 1905. Howard took an interest in the business at an early age, managing the store through high school and after his return from World War I. Howard married Mary Elizabeth Holdsworth in 1924. The couple had four children. Following several failed attempts at expanding the grocery business, Howard found success after moving to the Rio Grande Valley in 1928. The company quickly grew through South and Central Texas, opening in Laredo in 1929, Corpus Christi in 1931, Austin in 1938, and San Antonio in 1942. In 1946, Howard changed the name of the grocery chain to H-E-B. Control of the company gradually shifted to Howard's two sons, Howard, Jr., and Charles. Charles took over as president in 1971. He now serves as chairman and CEO.
Howard was an active philanthropist, founding the H. E. Butt Foundation in 1933, the Howard E. Butt Community Investment Program in 1934, and the H. E. Butt Foundation Camp in 1954. His wife Mary coordinated much of the couple's charitable efforts, starting the State Crippled Children's Program and serving as chairwoman of the Cameron County Child Welfare Board. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Howard to the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity.
Howard died on March 12, 1991, in Corpus Christi at the age of 95. There were more than 170 H-E-B stores in operation at the time. Now, there are upwards of 350 stores throughout Texas and northern Mexico, making H-E-B one of the largest private retailers in the Untied States.