We lost one of the largest icons in the hunting community on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. Al Cito, Butch to many, was one of the founding members of Safari Club International and one of the most devoted and hard-working founders. He was largely responsible for starting the major awards program. Every “outfitter” in the world owes much of their business and success to Al.
Al was a giant among men! An unselfish giver in life; a consummate gentleman; a great hunter, but he was always putting others first. Al took care of Yolanda every day, every hour and every minute from the time she was diagnosed with ALS until her last breath. He was a caregiver by nature, and did care for all and helped all he knew. That is exactly who he was. Since the loss of the “love of his life, Yolanda,” he has been in mourning. Now he is finally with her and truly happy again.
Al had the unique ability to bring people together through hunting and conservation. He became a trusted friend among world leaders who also supported the hunting and conservation community. These included H.M. Juan Carlos King of Spain, President George H. W. Bush, President George W. Bush, Vice President Dan Quayle, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Majority Leader Bill Frist, Senator Evan Bayh, Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, and General Buck Bedard. His circle also included celebrities such as Bo Derek, Clay Walker and more. Al gave VIP treatment to them perfectly, but gave the same to everyone else as well.
He was a man of honor, integrity and devotion. He was loyal, steadfast, strong and with all of that, still humble. I was honored to call Al a best friend. We have only a few in a lifetime, if we are blessed, and he was one! He leaves a huge hole in my heart, and in the heart of my wife, Terri and our seven children who growing up called him their “Uncle Al.”
Al, we wish you love and happiness with Yolanda. Save a place for us where you are. It might be difficult and you may need to use your VIP skills, but keep smiling and we will meet again.
You will forever be in our heart. God bless you my friend.Steven E. Chancellor
Al Cito Remembered
Following his death in May, Al Cito was remembered by three SCI Past Presidents.
“Al is remembered as a great SCI supporter,” said SCI Past President Dennis Anderson. “He’s missed.”
“He was just a wonderful volunteer,” said SCI Past President Pat Bollman. “He was invaluable. He was a very religious person.”
“Al Cito was a one of a kind supporter and contributor to SCI,” said SCO Past President Skip Donau. “He was SCI’s conduit to U.S. Presidents, U.S. Vice Presidents, Generals, dignitaries from around the world and celebrities who embraced SCI and who attended numerous SCI conventions. Al’s efforts took SCI to a higher level in every respect.”