TREASURE ISLAND – Irving “Butch” Ellsworth, a longtime Treasure Island resident and the current District 2 city commissioner, died Monday, Oct. 8, 2012.
Ellsworth died at Tampa General Hospital. He suffered a heart attack Sept. 19. He was 66.
“We will deeply miss his insights and dedication to the betterment of our city,” said Mayor Bob Minning. “Many thanks, Butch, for all you have done.”
Most locals knew Butch as the John’s Pass Marina manager for 19 years, and briefly, the executive vice president of the Treasure Island Yacht and Tennis Club.
Ellsworth also served three terms on the Treasure Island City Commission (1993 to 2004) and just recently returned to public service as District 2 city commissioner in March 2012.
Ellsworth lived in the same Isle of Palms home since 1959. He was married to his wife Cherie for 25 years. A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., he moved to Treasure Island in 1954.
A U.S. Army Vietnam veteran, Ellsworth served as a crew chief and a flight engineer on Chinook helicopters and was awarded the Bronze Star and air medal with clusters.
In his years as a president of the Treasure Island Chamber of Commerce and CEO of the chamber, Ellsworth championed community and commerce. Ellsworth was best known for organizing the “Tastes of Treasure Island” and his work with Treasure Island Charities. As commissioner, Butch helped shepherd the first Treasure Island visioning process in 1998, which eventually led to the city’s first downtown redevelopment plan.
His years as a former competitive race boat driver and knowledge of the offshore waters made Ellsworth truly one of the “old salts” of Treasure Island.