Kennebunk, ME George Robert (Bob) Butler, 84 years, a resident of Kennebunk, died at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough on October 8, 2016. Bob was born on December 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, Maine 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, C.E.O 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 1962-82, also 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, the Chairman of the Kennebunk Planning Board. He also was a Mentor for the Kennebunk Police Department's Jump Start Program and as 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 1976-87 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, grandfather 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 who 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, Co; daughter Stephanie Butler and her husband Stuart Cotts of Ashland, Or; a step-grandson Sheldon Cotts and his wife Kaila Lee of Chicago, Il; son James K. Butler and his wife Maureen of Biddeford, granddaughter Julia Butler of Boston, MA, grandson Samuel Butler, 1st Lieutenant U.S Army, Joint Base LewisMcChord, WA; and grandson John Butler of Canton, MA. His beloved sister, Dorothy Jane Butler, preceded him in death on August 26, 2014. He brought us love and devotion and will be sadly missed. Visiting Hours will be held 2-4 PM Sunday, October 16, 2016 at Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer St. Kennebunk, followed by a memorial service at 4 PM 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 service for immediate family and internment of his remains in the family lot at Evergreen Cemetery, Kennebunk will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make a contribution in Bob's memory to: Gosnell Memorial Hospice House, 180 US Route One Scarborough, Maine 04074, who provided excellent care and sensitivity; Laudholm Trust, Wells Reserve, P. O. Box 1007 Wells, Maine 04090; The Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library, P. O Box 391 Kennebunkport, Maine 04046 or The Animal Welfare Society, P.O Box 43 West Kennebunk, Maine 04094
Founded in 1813, Kimball Union Academy is one of the oldest private boarding high schools in New Hampshire and the country. KUA blends the best of the New England boarding tradition with an innovative, modern educational program for a diverse group of day and boarding students from across the country and around the world. Located in Meriden, New Hampshire in the heart of the Upper Valley, Kimball Union is minutes from Dartmouth College and has direct access to Boston and New York.