Gary “Butch” Howard Bolinger, 75, of Huntsville died Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, at Mercy Hospital, Rogers.

He was born Friday, Oct. 19, 1945, in Prairie Grove to George Howard and Mary Josephine Sparks Bolinger.

Butch married Minta Joye Snow on Saturday, March 6, 1965, in Huntsville, Ark., and together they were parents to two children. He was a businessman who owned and operated War Eagle Western Store for 41 years. One of the last of the old cowboys, a pillar of the community, and a gentle man; Butch was known for always shaking your hand, opening the door for ladies, and tipping his hat. He was a past member of the International Pro Rodeo Association, served as the President of the Madison County Rodeo Board for 13 years, and founded the Cowboy Division of Fellowship of Christian Athletes of NWA. Butch pastored several churches in northwest Arkansas, including Pilgrim’s Rest, Cobb Creek, Berryville Freewill Baptist, and Astounding Grace Church. Butch was proudest of his ministry, pastoring to those who didn’t have a church and reaching the unreachable. He ministered to those in jail, serving as chaplain for the Madison County Jail for 12 years, as easily as those stopping to visit at the saddle shop. (He even performed weddings there.) He was also appointed as District Jail Inspector by Governor Mike Huckabee and was voted the “Nicest Man in Madison County.”  Butch loved his family and friends, and will be dearly missed by the many whose lives he touched in the community.

Butch was preceded in death by his parents; one brother, Jeffrey Bolinger; and one sister, Carolyn Cline.  

He is survived by his wife, Joye Bolinger of the home; one son and daughter-in-law, Bret and Kim Bolinger of Springdale; one daughter and son-in-law, Amy and Rick Culver of Springdale; two granddaughters, Katelyn Slane of Fayetteville and Makenna Bolinger of Springdale; four nephews, Bobby and Jenney Wilson of Huntsville; Landon and Amanda Bolinger of Conway; Tim and Sheri Owens of Fayetteville; and Craig and Chris Owens of Nashville, Tenn.; one niece, Jordan and Andre Barrows of Springdale; several great-nephews and great-nieces, and a host of friends.

Funeral Services were held Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, at Astounding Grace Church, Hindsville, with Bill Anderson officiating. Masks were  worn in honor of the staff at Mercy Medical Center who took such great care of Butch.  

Pallbearers were Justin Laird, Floy Bob Cartmell, Jonathan Wagner, Rick Evans, Bobby Wilson and Greg Slane.  

Honorary pallbearers were the Deacons of Astounding Grace Church.  

Interment immediately followed services at Huntsville Cemetery.  

Services were entrusted to Brashears Funeral Home and Crematory of Huntsville.