Alphonse Buttross

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dec. 1, 1915 – Jan. 15, 2012

NATCHEZ — Services for Alphonse Buttross, 96, of Natchez, who died Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012, at his residence, will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Mary Basilica.

Burial will follow at the Natchez City Cemetery under the direction of Laird Funeral Home.

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Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. today with a rosary at 7 p.m. at the funeral home and from 10 a.m. until service time Wednesday at the church.

Alphonse Buttross was born Dec. 1, 1915, the son of David and Freda Buttross of Canton. Mr. Buttross was married to Helen Karre in Crowley, La., Aug. 31, 1941. They had two sons, David and Al Jr., prior to his deployment in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He served in the Navy from 1942 to 1946 during World War II. When he returned after service, he worked in the family-owned department store in Canton. After a while, he partnered with his brother, Peter Buttross, to purchase and resell genuine post-war government surplus. After moving their operation to Natchez in 1946, he purchased a building with his brothers, Joe and Peter. Joe and Peter opened Buttross Department Store on the ground floor and Alphonse ran his Buttross Wholesale Company business on the second and third floors. Eventually they split up to open their own separate businesses as Alphonse continued building his wholesale business at the Pearl Street location until the Eola Hotel took over the location to add the ballrooms and the drive through for its parking area. He moved his operation to the Liberty Shopping Center location and eventually closed the business and retired to manage his property in approximately 1995.

In the early 1950s, he served as the post commander for the VFW and was honored to have hosted a reception for Gen. MacArthur, his wife and son.

In March 1984, he was named “Man of the Year” by the Army Navy Store & Outdoor Mercahndiser and was presented with the award at the annual Associated Surplus Dealers Banquet at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas. Also in 1984, he served as Duke in the Krewe of Phoenix Mardi Gras Court.

In 1986, Mr. Buttross served as Santa Claus in Natchez.

Alphonse Buttross was a member of the Santa Claus Committee, the Natchez Rotary Club for 52 years, the Elks Club since the early 1950s, the VFW for more than 60 years and served as Commander in the early 1950s, the Knights of Columbus for more than 60 years and was a member of St. Mary Basilica his entire life in Natchez.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife; three brothers, Joseph, Edward and Ernest; two sisters-in-law, Yvonne and Waddad; and one grandson, Kory Goodwin.

Survivors include five sons, David and wife, Jay Marie, of Austin, Texas, Al of New Braunfels, Texas, Robert and wife, Lydia, of Natchez, Tom and wife, Nancy, of Hummelstown, Pa., and Richard of Thailand; one daughter, Helene and husband, Tommy Joseph, of Natchez; six grandchildren, David and wife, Betsy of Austin, Dr. Mylene Buttross and husband, Dr. Brian Unterman, of Houston, Texas, Regina and husband, Payman Dargahi, of Austin, Michael Buttross of Ventura, Calif., Dr. Leanne Buttross of Oklahoma City, Okla., and Van Goodwin of Washington, D.C.; seven great-grandchildren, Michael and Kaitlyn Unterman of Houston, Sophia and Alexander Dargahi, David, Tyre and Henry Buttross, all of Austin; two brothers, Peter of Natchez and Dr. David Buttross and wife, Joyce, of Lake Charles, La.; two sisters, Martha and husband, Bill Feaheny of Kenner, La., and Fran Payne of Atlanta; one sister-in-law, Mariam Buttross of Canton; and a number of nieces and nephews.

Tentative pallbearers will be Chuck Caldwell, Van Goodwin, Peter Buttross Jr., Henry LaBlanc, Conrad Anderson Jr. and Rusty Haydel.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Mary Family Life Center, St. Mary Basilica, P.O. Box 1044, Natchez, MS 39121 or the Natchez Rotary Club, P.O. Box 50, Natchez, MS 39121.