BUTLER, Dr. William Thomas|
Dr. William Thomas Butler, 78, passed away on February 20, 2014. He had been active up until the day of his passing and had just spent a wonderfully interactive Sunday dinner with his granddaughters.
Bill was born on December 10, 1935 in Ranger, Texas. A graduate of Olden High School, he went on to attend Baylor University. After graduation in 1958 he taught science in Snyder, Texas where he met his wife, Kay, also a school teacher at that time. They married in 1959 and had 47 wonderful years together.
He is preceded in death by Kay's passing in 2007 as well as his eldest brother Carl.
Bill is survived by his sister Charlene Snodgrass, brothers James Butler and Don Butler, son Brian, daughter Carla and son-in-law Robert Loughran, and two granddaughters, Sara and Alice Loughran.
After establishing himself as a teacher , Bill decided to return to graduate school at Vanderbilt University and secured his doctorate in Biochemistry. He performed his postdoctoral research at the National Institutes of Health. Bill became a tenured professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry with an active research program for over two decades. In 1987 Bill moved his research program to the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston to assume the position of Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry.
With 245 publications, most peer reviewed, Bill achieved international acclaim as an expert in mineralized tissue and was a sought after speaker. He enjoyed travelling to international biochemistry conferences with his dear wife Kay, and they counted those trips among the most cherished experiences of their shared life.
After 40 years of teaching biochemistry and concurrently leading a continuously funded research group, in 2004 Bill retired and transitioned to Professor Emeritus.
Bill enjoyed his family and many friends, both old and new. One of his favorite hobbies was viewing and identifying wildflowers in the Texas Hill Country with close friends.
Bill's commitment to his church was an equally important part of his life. He set an outstanding example as an educated Christian, a teacher who integrated science and religion and a gracious friend to those who had the opportunity to make his acquaintance. Bill was proud of his role as an Elder in the First Colony Church of Christ in Sugarland, Texas and the betterment of the community that resulted from his contribution of time, leadership and wisdom. Bill possessed a keen and curious intellect, a strong sense of family and a deep and lasting relationship with God and his church.
Although Bill's later years were significantly impacted by Parkinson's Disease, he remained optimistic, engaged and outgoing and continued making new friends through his final days.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Bill's name to the National Parkinson Foundation. www.parkinson.org
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at Westover Hills Church of Christ, 8332 Mesa Dr., Austin TX 78759. A viewing and visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m.
Following the service, a luncheon reception will be held at the church.
For those that wish to proceed to the burial site, the internment will follow the reception at the Cook-Walden/Forest Oaks Funeral Home and Memorial Park, 6300 William Cannon, Austin, TX 78749.
Condolences may be made online by visiting www.cookwaldenforestoaks.com.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Feb. 23 to Feb. 24, 2014