Linda Butler may be in the business of selling cars but it’s people who get her fired up. Maybe that has something to do with the close-knit family she was raised in. As the youngest of four kids growing up in Southern California there was no shortage of companionship. And dreams of becoming a teacher just strengthened the desire to be surrounded by people she could invest in.
But it wasn’t long before Linda found herself drawn to a neighbor’s adding machine and realized her strength was in processing details and deciphering numbers. So she enrolled at Cal State University Long Beach where she hit the water with the sailing team and minored in accounting while getting a degree in Sociology. After tagging on classes at UCLA Linda got to work as a CPA.
It was while crunching numbers for a living that she met Chuck while picking up a friend at the dealership Chuck co-owned. He was immediately enamored by her waist-length blonde hair and independent spirit. On their first date he took her to see Neil Diamond perform at the legendary Greek Theatre and Linda was smitten. “It knocked me out of the park,” she says. Even so, it took Chuck three years and eight proposals to get her to agree to marry him.
Eventually, Linda and Chuck moved to Southern Oregon after a brief stint in Redding. Linda says they were looking for a town with a four year college, a daily newspaper and cultural relevancy. Ashland fit the bill. So, they settled in and went into business together, opening Butler Automotive Group in 1976. When she’s not at one of the group’s four stores Linda’s volunteering her time. Over the years she’s served countless organizations including sitting on the Ashland Community Hospital, Ashland Family YMCA, and Lithia Springs Girls Home boards of directors. She’s been a Girl Scout and Cub Scout leader, a soccer coach, and continues to give time to committees within her church. And of course she’s spending time with her family which includes four children and five grandkids. She and Chuck love taking the group on their sailboat, “Comme Je Trouve”, which, when translated from French means “take it as it comes”. But if you ask her what her personal motto is she gets more specific. “Love your people”, she says. “Employees and co-workers, as well as customers and family. That’s what it’s all about for me.”