John Butrovich Jr.
This article appeared in the September 1999 issue of The Ester Republic by Neil Davis
John Butrovich was an Alaskan whose life and work has been linked inseparably to the
political and economic history of Alaska. He served in the Alaska Legislature for
three decades. During this time, he helped shape an underdeveloped and impoverished
territory into a viable state. His many accomplishments as a political leader have
earned him high honors in the state and a reputation as a politician of strong ability,
great dignity and utmost integrity.
Born in 1910 in a mining camp north of Fairbanks, raised in Fairbanks, educated on a basketball scholarship at Washington State University, John Butrovich returned to work in Fairbanks, began selling insurance and soon bought the agency, but in politics he made his mark. He was elected to the Alaska State Senate in 1978. During his years as a senator, he was at the forefront of the movement to gain statehood and pivotal in the development and maturation of the state. He served on every committee of the Alaska Senate and presided as president of the Senate from 1967 to 1968.
Butrovich's political leadership was characterized by his committment to the goal of creating a better life for all Alaskans. The respect and esteem of the many to whom he listened and for whom he spoke during his long and active political life have been bestowed upon him on countless occasions. Upon his retirement from the state legislature, he was elected an honorary member of the Houseof Representatives. In 1980, he was named Alaskan of the Year and awarded an honorary degree by the University of Alaska.