Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 8, 1999
Butts was dedicated preacher
By ANH HOANG
WCR Staff Writer
There are many things about Father Basil Butts that sticks in the minds of those who knew him.
Robert Forest remembers him as an articulate and energetic preacher.
Martin King remembers his sense of humour.
Kathleen Stubbert remembers him as the giver of chocolate bars.
"He worked in a department store in high school and he would bring me a Coffee Crisp every week," said Stubbert of her older brother.
"I woke up every Sunday morning and found a Coffee Crisp under my pillow. . . . He put one there every Saturday night after I fell asleep. I still love them to this day."
Stubbert, her sister Jeanette Crane and family friend Kathy Forest were at Butts' beside when he passed away Feb. 27.
"He was semi-conscious, but he knew we were there," Stubbert said.
Born in Sydney Mines, N.S., Butts honed his preaching skills with his five brothers and sisters and neighbourhood friends as his audience.
"He would make us go into a room and preach to us," recalls Stubbert. "He was always very articulate.
"My father always thought he would be a lawyer, he could always talk himself out of anything."
Butts, 78, received a B.A. from St. Francis Xavier University and a B.Ed from the University of Alberta. He completed his masters of education at Fordham University in New York City.
Ordained in Edmonton in 1949, Butts served as a pastor in parishes throughout central Alberta. He was also a teacher and principal at St. Mary's Boys' School and the chaplain at St. Joseph's College.
His last parish assignment was at Assumption Parish where Forest remembers Butts' revitalizing sermons.
"His homilies were really dynamic," said Robert Forest, who knew Butts for 45 years. "His manner of delivery was kind of unique."
Butts was a socializer who enjoyed meeting people, said Forest.
"He was outgoing and friendly, he was always excited to meet new people."
Fellow Assumption parishioner, King added, "I think he was a friend to everyone. I never heard an ill word said about him."
Butts' natural knack for preaching was one way he exerted his social skills. He was also a singer who loved belting out Celtic classics like When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.
"He loved St. Patrick's Day," Stubbert said. "He would sing all day."