Treasure Island City Commissioner Butch Ellsworth dies of complications from heart attack

1:16 PM, Oct 10, 2012   |    comments
Image courtesy City of Treasure Island.
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Treasure Island, Florida -- Longtime Treasure Island resident and current District 2 City Commissioner Irving S. "Butch" Ellsworth died Monday, Oct. 8.

City officials say Commissioner Ellsworth passed away at Tampa General Hospital after he suffered a heart attack on Sept. 19 at the age of 66.

Treasure Island Mayor Bob Minning said, "We will deeply miss his insights and dedication to the betterment of our city.  Many thanks, Butch, for all you have done."

In a release to the media Wednesday, the City of Treasure Island had the following to say about the friend and co-worker:

Most locals knew Butch as the John's Pass Marina manager for 19 years, and briefly, the executive vice president of the Treasure Island Yacht and Tennis Club. Ellsworth also served three terms on the Treasure Island City Commission (1993 to 2004) and just recently returned to public service as District 2 city commissioner in March 2012.

Butch lived in the same Isle of Palms home since 1959. He was married to his wife Cherie for 25 years. A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, he moved to Treasure Island in 1954. A U.S. Army Vietnam veteran, Ellsworth served as a crew chief and a flight engineer on Chinook helicopters and was awarded the Bronze Star and air medal with clusters.

In his years as a president of the Treasure Island Chamber of Commerce and CEO of the chamber, Ellsworth championed community and commerce. Ellsworth was best known for organizing the "Tastes of Treasure Island" and his work with Treasure Island Charities. As commissioner, Butch helped shepherd the first Treasure Island visioning process in 1998, which eventually led to the city's first downtown redevelopment plan.

His years as a former competitive race boat driver and knowledge of the offshore waters made Ellsworth truly one of the "old salts" of Treasure Island.

The community feels the deep and profound sense of loss in having Butch leave us too soon. As Butch would probably agree (a quote from someone who also knew a thing or two about navigating waters):  "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails." -Mark Twain

Bon voyage, Butch.

No funeral and memorial service arrangements have been made at this time. 

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