Sunday, December 17, 2006

Remarks for Stan Butts’ memorial service

When a person met Stan Butts, there were a few things that were quickly obvious:

First, he was dedicated to his community: I know he was active in our church and the fire company for decades, among other things. When I was young, I often saw him at the Fire Hall and I remember going to see the chalk-board just inside the truck bay, to learn where the fire was. I understand he was often the first one there…….

Second, he always tried to do the right thing, for the future long-term: I saw this myself, and first got a taste of “grown-up behaviour” watching him discuss things in church business meetings, when he would point out things that others hadn’t thought of…..

Third, he liked to work hard -- heck, he owned a HARDware store.

Fourth, he was persistent -- Alfred will always be better for that, and so will Molokai, Hawaii, where they spent so many winters, living and working with people afflicted with leprosy. The same is probably true for every place Stan and Lydia visited.

But Stan must have liked to have fun, too – after all, Alfred’s fun facilitator is his daughter, Becky Prophet!

My siblings knew Stan as “Uncle Daddy”. Becky told me just today that this was because our families were too close for the formality of using “Mr. or Mrs. Butts”, so Stan and Lydia became Uncle Daddy and Aunt Mommy and the monikers went both ways between the families. There was an obvious warmth between our two families over a number of decades that continues to this day beginning, I suppose, when my mother and Lydia roomed together in college, both at Greene Hall and Crandall Hall.

I have fond remembrances of meals at their house. These are memories that are warm and comforting, and have been continued with Stan and Lydia’s children and grandchildren.

There was another thing about Stan, which I know was true in later life but don’t know if it was always so:

He didn’t like cold weather.

Many times Stan and Lydia would show up for church on Saturday morning and I would greet them in the foyer. I would ask Stan how he was doing, and if the temperature was less than 80 degrees outside, he would say “cold and miserable”. That was the other thing about Stan: sometimes you got the truth from him, whether you expected it or not.

[What I didn’t say at the memorial, but wish I had, is that I found his candor to be refreshing and wholesome]

G. Douglas Clarke December 2, 2006

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