Sunday, October 18, 2015

Remembering Bobby Butler

AT St Matthews Anglican Church in New Norfolk, a lovely send-off was given to Robert George Butler recently. Born at the New Norfolk Cottage Hospital on December 24, 1942, to James and Winifred Butler, Bob or Bobby as he was known to most grew up at Bushy Park with his four brothers and three sisters. He attended the Glenora School where he was made a prefect.

After finishing school, Bobby worked for ANM (now Norske Skog) for 36 years and during this time also worked for Terrance Terry in his orchards for some 15 years. In 1960 Bob met Jill Walker and they were married in 1965. They raised three daughters and have four grandchildren.

Growing up, Bobby was known for his love of sports, playing football, cricket and golf. Along with Jill he played badminton for ANM for many years. During his football career, Bobby started with Hawthorn (Bushy Park) in 1958 & 1959 in the Derwent Valley Junior Football Association's Sunday competition). In 1959 he also played with Upper Derwent in the Southern Districts Football Association. In 1960 & 61 he played with the New Norfolk Under 19s.

From 1962-66 Bob played with New Norfolk District Football Club, putting in 12 senior and 76 reserve games. In 1967 he turned his hand to coaching and was appointed captain/coach of the Ouse Football Club in the SDFA. Under Bobby's leadership the team won the premiership, its first since 1939. 1968 saw the arrival of Bob and Jill's first child Katrina, so Bob took the year off footy. In 1969 he was again appointed captain/coach of Ouse and they were runners-up to Upper Derwent in the grand final.

In 1970 second daughter Alison came on the scene and Bobby again had the season off. In 1971 he was made captain/coach of Upper Derwent in the South Eastern Districts Football Association and then in 1972-73 he played with Upper Derwent before retiring at the end of 1973. Third daughter Narelle arrived in 1972.

Bobby was also a very talented cricketer. He began with the Coniston Club and then Glenora, but it was at Gretna where he made his mark as a player and captain and valued mentor to many young players. Bob captained the club for 12 seasons straight from 1970/71 to 1981/82, retiring at the end of this season. All up the club legend played in 14 grand finals for eight premierships including five as captain. He was made a life member of the club in 1977 and of the Derwent Valley Cricket Association in 1978.

Here he served as a board member of the DVCA and captained Country Week teams for many seasons. At his farewell dinner, Bobby was presented with a set of right handed golf clubs - those involved not knowing he was left-handed. So at age 42, Bobby took up golf at the New Norfolk Golf Club. He became a very keen golfer and would always tee off at 8.24am on Saturdays come rain, hail or shine. Bobby also helped maintain the course for many years and was a board member until March this year.

Bobby loved his sports and received many awards and made many friends along the way, and was renowned for his love of the Collingwood Football Club but his biggest love and finest achievement was his family. At his funeral, Bobby was summed up as being a humble, kind, caring man with a wicked sense of humour who adored and treasured his family and friends.
WADE GLEESON

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