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Dr. Robert Butts, 1956-2008

Submitted by on 1, July 22, 2008 – 7:45 amNo Comment

Sad news: Beloved Alameda pediatrician Dr. Robert Butts has died. Butts passed away Friday after a six-month struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was 52.

A native of Galesburg, Ill., Butts practiced in Alameda for over a decade and also worked at Children’s Hospital in Oakland. Friends, co-workers and patients remembered him as a man with a great sense of humor who was devoted to the work of caring for children; in 2005, he was voted best physician by readers of Alameda Magazine. Parents whose children were in Butts’ care have written several letters of support for him in the local papers in recent months; a website set up for Butts had gotten nearly 8,000 hits as of Monday night.

“He was a very caring, very loving person,” his brother-in-law, Greg Keller, told The Island on Monday. “There are very few people who are as giving as he was,” he said, a sentiment family members are hearing a lot from the community around Butts’ houseboat.

Keller said Butts was very musically inclined, playing piano, Celtic harp and ukulele, which he learned while working in Hawaii. He also loved traveling to Yosemite and climbing Half Dome, Keller said. “But mainly, what he did is, he worked,” Keller said.

Butts is survived by his father, Cyril; sisters Betsy (Greg Keller) and Bridget (Roger Badesch); several nieces and nephews; and his dogs, Sam and Maddie. A memorial service has not yet been set. In lieu of flowers Butts’ family is asking for donations to environmental organizations – a cause family members say Butts cared deeply about – or the American Cancer Society.

For updates on the memorial service or to post condolences in Butts’ online guestbook, click here.

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