Celebrate The Life Of Samuel J. Butcher


JANUARY 1, 1939 - MAY 20, 2024


Samuel J. Butcher, the beloved founder of Precious Moments, was called home to God the morning of May 20, 2024. In some of his final words, he shared that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were with him, and it was beautiful. At the time of Sam's death, he had 53 grandchildren/great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Katie, his sons Phillip and Tim, his mother, Evelyn, and his father, Leon.

Sam Butcher was born on January 1, 1939, in Jackson, Michigan to his parents Leon and Evelyn Butcher. He was a creative child who spent hours writing and illustrating stories. After graduating high school, Sam attended the College of Arts and Crafts in Berkeley, California.

In 1959, Sam married Katie Cushman. They welcomed their first child, Jon, and then their son, Phillip. To provide for his family, Sam accepted a job at the international office of Child Evangelism Fellowship, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Over the next 6 years, Sam and Katie welcomed 5 more children: Tammy, Debbie, Tim, Don, and Heather.

In 1974, Sam and a partner opened Jonathan & David, Inc. and within a year, he was creating inspirational products with images of the now iconic tear-drop eyed Precious Moments children.

In 1978, the first Precious Moments figurine prototype, “Love One Another,” debuted. Sam went on to create the Original 21 Precious Moments figurines that were placed in gift stores across the nation. Soon the Precious Moments Collectors’ Club was born and, with thousands of Club Members, Precious Moments figurines would become a worldwide phenomenon.

In 1984, Sam began construction on what would later be referred to as “America’s Sistine Chapel.” The Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage, Missouri officially opened in 1989 and welcomed visitors from around the world.

With over 9,000 sq feet of hand-painted murals and 30 stained glass windows depicting stories from the Bible, exquisite iron fencing, hand-carved wooden doors, and bronze reliefs, the Precious Moments Chapel is a true masterpiece, designed by Sam as a heartfelt testament to God's grace. Today, Sam’s vision and the Precious Moments brand live on guided by his children Don, Jon, and Deb, alongside Master Sculptor Hiko Maeda.

Inspired by his legacy and humbled by the magnitude of his gifts to the world, we convey love and gratitude for this incredible man and the life he led. He was an artist, a missionary, a father, grandfather, and friend, but most of all, he was a humble servant of God.


A Lasting Tribute To Samuel J. Butcher

In 1981 Sam created a figurine as a testament to the ministry which has been an integral part of his life. Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus shows a captain of a washtub ship looking through a telescope that is turned towards the heavens. This figurine is Sam’s legacy and last message to all those who love Precious Moments.

This very special figurine will be release on 1/1/25, on what would have been Mr. Butcher's 86th birthday. Sign-up to be the first to be notified when this figurine will be available for pre-order.