Missouri native Tom Butterfield, the founder of Butterfield Youth...

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Missouri native Tom Butterfield, the founder of Butterfield Youth Services, Inc., whose life's work with youth was portrayed in the network television movie 'The Children Nobody Wanted,' died Monday at the age of 42.

A spokesman at the Marshall, Mo.


-based youth camp confirmed Tuesday reports that Butterfield had died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Butterfield was hospitalized on Nov. 15 with an acute case of pneumonia which became complicated by a viral infection. A hospital spokesman said the Kansas City native died of respiratory problems and acute pneumonia.

Funeral services were scheduled for 2 p.m. CST Saturday at the Mount Moriah Cemetery in Kansas City. A memorial service was tentatively scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday in Marshall.

CBS featured the two-hour special about Butterfield's life last December.

Butterfield, who was born in Kansas City, Mo., Feb. 10, 1940, graduated from Raytown, Mo., High School in 1958. In 1963, he graduated from Missouri Valley College in Marshall with a degree in psychology and education.

While in college, Butterfield was active in the athletics, participating in both football and track. In 1962, while still in college, he became the foster parent for a child he found living in a state mental institution.


That youngster served as a catalyst that eventually brought about the founding of the first Butterfield Boys Ranch. There are now four homes, all in the Marshall area, and girls are now included among the 25 youths.

After his graduation in 1963, Butterfield founded and served as president of Butterfield Youth Services Inc., and over the last few years had become advisor, lecturer and consultant in juvenile corrections and child care.

After founding the ranch, Butterfield enrolled at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he graduated with a master's degree in social work.

Latest Headlines