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George Robert "Bob" Butler


1931 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
George Robert "Bob" Butler Obituary
George Robert "Bob" Butler, 84

KENNEBUNK - George Robert "Bob" Butler, 84, a resident of Kennebunk, died at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scar-borough on Oct. 8, 2016.

Bob was born Dec. 16, 1931, in Biddeford, the son of George Butler and Martina Green Butler.

He attended Biddeford elementary schools and Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire, before graduating from Biddeford High School in 1949. Following a year at the University of Maine, Orono, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served as an HM2 medical corpsman from 1951-1955.

He married Joyce Kelley Butler in Westbrook on March 22, 1954.

Bob completed his B.A. in history at the University of Maine, Orono, 1958; and earned his M.L.S. in library administration from Simmons College in Boston, 1959. In later years, he continued his education, studying French and German at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.

Bob was the longtime president, CEO and treasurer of Atkinson's Furniture Company in Saco from 1959-1991, earning a reputation as a fair and honest businessman. He served as the president of the Saco Businessman's Association and as a corporator for the Saco-Biddeford Savings Bank, 1962-1982; also as the director of the Mutual Fire Insurance Company; and believed in the importance of participating in the business community he served. He served his community as the treasurer of the Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library in Kennebunkport, and chairman of the Kennebunk Planning Board. He also was a mentor for the Kennebunk Police Department's Jump Start program, and a director for the Barn Gallery, Ogunquit.

Land stewardship and conservation became a cornerstone of his life outside of the furniture business, and he devoted countless hours to the preservation and protection of natural habitats and landscapes in southern Maine that will be enjoyed for years to come. He was trustee of The Nature Conservancy, Maine Chapter, 1976-1987, and chairman of the board from 1985-86.

It was during that time that he and his sister, Dorothy J. Butler, of Kennebunk, gifted 14 acres of woodland and riverfront property, including what is known as Picnic Rock, to the Nature Conservancy.

In 1992, in partnership with the National Land Trust and the Kennebunk Land Trust, this parcel became The Butler Preserve and is now maintained by the Kennebunk Land Trust. He was instrumental in the preservation and protection of Kennebunk Plains, an ecologically important grassland and pine barrens that is home to a variety of endangered species and birds. He was the executive director of the Kennebunk Land Trust from 1996-1998, continuing a strong legacy of land stewardship. In retirement he devoted several years to the Laudholm Trust, Wells Reserve, as a volunteer helping to maintain the integrity of that site.

Bob Butler, as he was affectionately known, was a beloved brother, husband, father, grand-father and friend. He placed his commitment to his family as the highest achievement he could earn during his lifetime. He gave generously in time and spirit to his children and grandchildren, whom he adored. A Renaissance man, he had a passion for books, art, music, the wonders of nature, languages, foreign cultures and international travel that informed and shaped his relationships through his deep respect for people and their many stations in life. He cultivated lifelong bonds and close friendships with people in his local community, as well as others from around the world. He and his wife Joyce traveled together extensively throughout Europe and the United States.

In retirement, he became an adjunct professor for Portland State University's School of Business in Novgorod, Russia, bringing his extensive experience as a small business owner to bear in the startup of the Russian/American Development Center, offering a consulting service to business owners in Novgorod in 1992. He also worked as an advisor for the Business Citizen's Democracy Corps in Eastern Europe, primarily Bulgaria, between 1993 and 1998.

Bob is survived by his devoted and loving wife of 62 years, Joyce, of Kennebunk; daughter Leslie Butler Roberts and her husband Sumner, of Kennebunk; granddaughter Sarah Drake, of Westbrook, and grandson Adam Drake, of Vail, Colo.; daughter Stephanie Butler and her husband Stuart Cotts, of Ashland, Ore.; stepgrandson Sheldon Cotts and his wife Kaila Lee, of Chicago, Ill.; son James K. Butler and his wife Maureen, of Biddeford; granddaughter Julia Butler, of Boston, Mass.; grandson Samuel Butler, 1st Lieutenant U.S Army, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; and grandson John Butler, of Canton, Mass.

His beloved sister, Dorothy Jane Butler, preceded him in death on Aug. 26, 2014.

He brought us love and devotion, and will be sadly missed.

Visiting hours will be held from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, at Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer Street, Kennebunk, followed by a memorial service at 4 p.m. with Rev. Charles Whitson officiating. At Bob's request, his body has been donated to the University of New England for research purposes. A private ser-vice for immediate family, and interment of his remains in the family lot at Evergreen Cemetery, Kennebunk, will be held at a later date. To share a memory or leave a message of condolence, please visit Bob's Book of Memories Page at: www.bibberfuneral.com.

In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make a contribution in Bob's memory to:
Gosnell Memorial Hospice House
(who provided excellent care and sensitivity)
180 U.S. Route One
Scarborough, ME 04074
or
Laudholm Trust, Wells Reserve
P.O. Box 1007
Wells, ME 04090
or
The Louis T. Graves
Memorial Public Library
P.O. Box 391
Kennebunkport, ME 04046, or
The Animal Welfare Society
P.O. Box 43
West Kennebunk, ME 04094








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Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Oct. 12, 2016
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