August 4, 1942 ~ May 14, 2020

Born in: Hettinger, North Dakota
Resided in: Aurora, Colorado

Burton James Solseth, affectionately called Butch, was born on August 4, 1942, the second of four children, to Clifford and Irene Solseth in the hospital at Hettinger, North Dakota. He grew up on a small farm where he learned early to milk cows and wash bottles for his father’s dairy.

He attended grade school and high school at Reeder, North Dakota where his favorite subjects were science and math and he played football. He was active in 4-H and Farmer’s Union.  He was chosen to attend Boys State in 1959.

He attended college at DSU at Dickinson, North Dakota.  He graduated in 1964 with a Major in Math, and 2 minors: Chemistry and Business Administration.  He was a member of the Lambda Delta Lambda Honor Society. Men’s Union and LSA (Lutheran Student Association).  He also attended NDSU In Fargo, ND and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado. Burton was an active member of Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Denver, Colorado.

Burton’s generosity was commendable as he often gave gifts and time to friends and family. He helped young people with their school work, friends and family with various needs including babysitting.  The children adored him. He once worked many hours at a Food Bank in order to get a discount on food which he bought to give to people he knew who were going through a difficult time.  It was not uncommon for him to present a gift card to someone for their favorite store.

Butch was a good dancer and liked to sing. He enjoyed his favorite TV show which featured Lawrence Welk and the Champagne Orchestra.  He wrote letters, poems and songs for and about people he cared for. He had a delightful sense of humor which was often quite evident in the hilarious greeting cards he would give us.

Although he was unable to join the military, Burton worked as a civilian at the Lowery Air Base, the Fitzsimons Army Medical Center and finally the Buckley Air Base in Aurora, Colorado.  After retirement he did volunteer work at the VA Hospital in Denver where he was awarded “volunteer of the year” in 2009 as he had donated nearly 10,000 hours of volunteer time. Burton was also recognized as the 7 News TV Station’s “Every Day Hero in 2011”.

He is survived by 3 sisters: Carole Smolnikar (Hettinger, ND), Sylvia I. Fossen ( Hot Springs, SD)  and Sarah Heit and brother-in-law Joseph Heit (Aurora, Colorado) ; 3 nieces: Shelly Thompson, Kimberlee Martin and Mellissa  Pond; 4 nephews: Michael Smolnikar, Dan Fossen, David Smolnikar and Omar Lewis;  8 great nieces: Taylor, Natasha, Denise, Megan, McKenna, Isabel, Mariah, and Daniela; 5 great nephews: Marcus, Preston, Victor, Trevor and Walter; 2 great great nephews: Bryson and Genesis; and 1 great great niece: Alysa.

Condolences May be sent to: Sarah Heit, 12817 E. Wyoming Pl. Aurora, CO    80012

“Blesses are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”

Memories Timeline


  1. I am very sorry for your loss. I remember Butch from many, many years ago when my mother and dad (Rose and Al Klovdahl would take my brother Al and me to the farm for visits with your mom and dad and family. ) We had so much fun and many happy memories.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Betsy (Klovdahl) Frank

  2. So sorry for the loss of Butch! Have not heard anything about him for many years. My memories of Butch was a man that he was always cheerful and greeted you with a smile. From his obituary it sounds like he lead a very fulfilling life as it appears he did a lot for others.

  3. I remember Butch as always happy and smiling. Spent many enjoyable hours at the farm with Butch watching his Lionel train setup in the basement.
    He new a lot about everything and shared it graciously! A true testament of how to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

  4. Butch was my cousin! This is SO SAD… This Obituary was a loving tribute to a kind, sweet, good man!
    You were Loved Butch‼️💕

  5. My sympathies to the family, especially Sarah and Joe, who are friends of mine. My prayers for peace, healing, and comfort go out to all who knew and loved Butch. May he Rest In Peace.

  6. Burton was gentle, kind man. He was also a quiet, hero whose volunteering impacted many. In last year we have missed seeing Burton at OSLC. We miss his firm handshake on wonderful smile. Thanks for being a friend.

  7. We are so sorry for your loss, we didn’t know Butch well but always enjoyed his company, a very nice man!

    Louis and Francie Martin

  8. My condolences to the family. Burton was a good man. Faithful saint. There for anyone who needed a helping hand. Even with having more health limitations he had the great gift of making the best of things and quick with a smile and humor mirroring God’s grace. For the years of friendship I am grateful.

  9. Your brother sounds like he was an awesome person. I’m so sorry for your loss. Prayers for you and your family!

  10. “ I never realized how much Butch and Clifford looked like one another and your pointing out singing and dancing is a memory of going to Irene and Clifford’s. We were able to let our hair down more at your house, be it in the living room or the bedroom off the kitchen. I remember those wooden puzzles that were round or whatever, kind of before Rubik’s cubes came out and only Butch could twist and turn and make them right again. Harry remembers his first visits to the farm and Butch had made a ship inside of a bottle. A nice size bottle with a longer neck, on its side, with a ship built inside.”

  11. My earlier one was made just after I had just gotten out of the hospital (minor infection) so let me add a little more now.

    Butch –

    It has taken me a while to try to comprehend your loss to all of those who loved – love – you.

    I did not fully understand the challenges you faced in life until we picked you up at the Minneapolis train station, when we were both about 15 or so. You had come to visit us from Bucyrus for a period of time.

    We all enjoyed your visit, and wished it could have been longer, and more often.

    The challenges that life presented you would have broken many a lessor man, but not you.

    You rose to meet these challenges with quiet dignity and indomitable courage, made many contributions to the well-being of others, contributions that make any the rest of us might have made seem insignificant by comparison.

    You will be missed.

    May you rest in eternal peace.


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