2016 Hall of Fame Herb D. Butcher

Herb D. Butcher 

Herbert D. (Herb) Butcher is a humble man. Meeting him you’d never guess the incredible contributions he has made to our industry as a contractor, a director of the Hamilton-Halton Construction Association, and President of both the Canadian Painting Contractors Association and the Ontario Painting Contractors Association. A true gentleman, his modest bearing and self-effacing demeanour were great assets in his own businesses activities and in his work to improve the painting industry. 

At 18, motivated to honour the 1943 death of his RCAF serving brother, Herb joined the Army. He served two years as a trainer at Camp Borden where he was promoted to Advanced Training officer. 

At discharge, Herb joined H.H. Butcher Painting & Decorating, the company founded by his father, Herbert H. (Bert) Butcher in 1923, three years before his birth in 1926. 

Business growth pre- and post-war brought prosperity and expansion throughout Ontario. Typical for the era, H. H. Butcher performed glazing, flooring and wall papering services and for a short period had a retail store selling paints, wallpaper, and textiles. The business served repeat customers, including work on Brantford’s Scarfe Mansion and on the home of Ontario Lt. Governor Harry (Henry) Cockshutt. The firm was reputable and reliable with clients like Henry Cockshutt, speaking highly of their work. 

By 1961 Herb and his father had become partners. The business continued to expand and new premises brought a new name: Butcher & Son Ltd. With Ontario-wide contracts, including B.C.I. Telephone Building, City Hall, Aquatic Centre, Zion United and Grace Anglican Churches, Harding Carpet, Woodstock Mental Hospital, Norfolk General Hospital, the regional jail, and Canadian General Tower, it was a prosperous time. A particular highlight was the successful 18-month refurbishing of the Ontario Police College in Aylmer. 

In 1976 Herb’s son Jeff joined the business and by 1978 they had purchased Dayson Sandblasting & Coatings Ltd. With a renewed focus on larger, industrial clients, they performed major coatings and sandblasting work at Lake Erie Works, Gulf Oil Clarkson, Inco Sudbury, Oakville Petro Canada, the Welland Canal as well as many bridges and water towers across Ontario. All contributing to the firm’s ongoing success. 

When reflecting on that shift in focus, Herb commented, “the pinch of a falling Canadian Dollar, higher interest and mortgage rates, plus inflation, and rising costs discourages developers who want to build houses, apartments, etc. However Dayson does much work for Dofasco, Stelco and large industrial concerns .” 

Notable among his many association roles, Herb is a founding Director (1976) of the Ontario Painting Contractors Association, created at the introduction of ‘province-wide bargaining’ to represent the interests of painting contractors. Herb was instrumental in uniting the varied local chapters in a common purpose. 

Herb was a staunch supporter of good labour relations at the HHCA, and a key member of an OPCA committee that wrote bridge coating specifications for the Ministry of Transportation. That specification lasted for decades and was only recently amended. 

Herb also volunteered in service as President of Rotary, Jaycees, Brantford Red Cross Society, Brantford Golf & Country Club and the Cerebral Palsy Association. He served on the Board of Management of Grace Anglican Church, Director of the Ontario Society for Crippled Children. A Shriner and Mason, Herb was recognized for 60 years service to the Scottish Right of Freemasonry in 2014. 

Perhaps though the truest testament to his character is the steadfast love, adoration and respect Herb Butcher accords his late wife, Jewell, who served as company Secretary-Treasurer through all the years of its success and growth. 

For the many qualities and rich contributions to the industry and our community, Herbert D. Butcher is welcomed into the Hamilton-Halton Construction Hall of Fame.