March 24, 1948
June 10, 2019
Earl Boutell 71, passed on June 10, 2019 at home with beloved wife Freida and two of his closest Navy friends Popeye Mathis and Benny Harper, saluting him at his final departure. As he predicted 10 years ago, author Earl Boutell passed away due to agent orange exposure in 1970/71 Vietnam.
Born in March 24, 1948 on an early spring day, the first child of Earline and Earl N. Boutell, Jr. of Prairie Village, KS, *Early Bird* was precocious, walking at eight months and always the first one up. Blessed with intelligence, his elementary school IQ was the highest they ever recorded. But Earl became easily bored and his extremely bad eyesight held him back until getting glasses.
A talented cartoonist, Earl also competed for the Leawood Country Club swim team with younger brother Lee and sister Jeane. In high school he loved muscle cars and drag racing, often rebuilding his high performance Chevy 409 engine in the garage with dad and friends. Earl graduated from Shawnee Mission East in 1966.
When Uncle Sam came knocking Earl hoped to avoid the perils of Vietnam and opted for *three hots and a cot* in the Navy. He displayed leadership, being voted *Honor Man** for the base drill team company and honor guard. The Navy trained him as Engineman. Commissioned to a new ammunition, oil and supply ship the USS Seattle, Earl assured she operated properly on her maiden voyage from Bremerton, WA through the Panama Canal to home port in Norfolk, VA.
Life then took a turn. For his outstanding knowledge and adaptive skills, the Navy issued orders to Embassy/Advisor Duty* in Vietnam*training South Vietnamese sailors to operate and maintain combat riverboats. After months of exhaustive training in technical info, weapons, navigation, tactics, first aid and language, he endured special forces survival training. He lived real life horrors of capture, imprisonment and near starvation.
His only assignment*to survive, evade, resist and escape (SERE). Living though captivity, including being water boarded and starved, Earl vowed that if ever facing capture, to save one bullet for himself.
He was assigned to River Assault and Interdiction Division (RAID) 73 in Dong Tam, Vietnam, nicknamed *Mortar city*, enduring heavy combat and agent orange exposure for nearly a year. After sustaining injury Earl was honorably discharged and returned to life in Kansas with wife Linda and daughter Jennifer.
After divorce Earl found his life again at AA and with Vietnam Veterans Chapter 317 in Kansas City, who all vowed that never again will any generation of American veterans receive the disrespect, neglect and abuse they received on returning home. Earl and his Best Man Tommy Ponds and best friend Popeye
Mathis were nicknamed *the three amigos* because they were always seen together. They were *the ice cream guys* at VA Medical Center, and for years brought ice cream, good humor and emotional support to ailing veterans of all generations, many of whom had no one else visit.
Diagnosed with several types of cancer, Earl fought valiantly for two and a half years, defying the odds as VA *Miracle Man*, choosing to live each day with grace, wit, and compassion alongside his loving wife Alfreda *Freida* Boutell (Cartwright) of Raytown, Missouri. His quick wit, positivity, and acceptance for
every person regardless of economic status, how you look or where you are from, will truly be missed.
Earl co-authored Vietnam memoir Only By the Hand of God with Duke Petmecky of Austin, Texas. Earl wrote and published his own Vietnam memoir My Journey to Bob Dole in 2016, about how it all began and ended with Senator Dole.
He is survived by wife Freida Boutell, brother Lee Boutell of Eugene, Oregon, sister Jeane Slusher of Kansas City, and daughter Jennifer Wyman of Larned, Kansas.
Date and Time:
Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at
Southside Kansas City Optimist Club
11154 Blue Ridge Blvd 64134. Kansas City, MO
Interment Type: Private
Professional Services Entrusted to Elite Funeral Chapel 11525 Blue Ridge Blvd. Kansas City, MO. 64134. Tel: (816) 765-0141 Fax (816) 765-5500