Remembered best for establishing the American H-E-B chain of grocery stores, this twentieth-century entrepreneur is also famous as a philanthropist. In the mid-1930s, he launched both the Howard E. Butt Community Investment Program and the H.E. Butt Foundation; these organizations aided nonprofit and education programs in Texas.
During his high school years, he helped manage a small-scale food store that his mother operated. Before launching his own business career, he served in World War I.
His H-E-B chain opened its debut supermarket in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1952.
He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but raised in Kerrville, Texas. His marriage to Mary Elizabeth Holdsworth resulted in sons named Howard E. Butt, Jr. and Charles Clarence Butt and a daughter named Margaret Eleanor Butt Cook.
He and Bernard Kroger were both founders of major American grocery store chains.