Thank You, Barbara Butler!

A star-studded cast filled the Senior Center this afternoon, to honor Barbara Butler. Town and state officials, longtime volunteers, and the heads of the library and Y — among many others — paid tribute to the head of Westport’s Human Services Department.

But calling Butler — who retires tomorrow, after 27 years of service to the town — a department leader is like calling the Beatles “a band.”

Barbara Butler (right) shares memories with RTM moderator Eileen Flug.

Barbara Butler (right) shares memories with RTM moderator Eileen Flug.

In nearly 30 3 decades here, Butler has overseen every age group from teenagers (Youth Commission, Toquet Hall, Staples High School outreach) to seniors (Senior Center, Baron’s South elderly housing task force).

She’s been involved with tax relief, casework, career coaching and emergency preparedness. She’s helped homeowners pay for oil, and provided suits and dresses for needy Staples grads.

Butler helped found Project Return and the A Better Chance of Westport program.

She’s been a member of the TEAM Westport diversity group, and served with Positive Youth Development and the United Way. She’s a past president of the League of Women Voters.

Next month, the RTM votes on the formation of a new Commission on People with Disabilities. Butler spent her final weeks on the job helping launch that project.

In her spare time, she runs. And rows.

Guests at today's party signed a card for Barbara Butler. That's her in the center, rowing.

Guests at today’s party signed a card for Barbara Butler. That’s her in the center, rowing.

The Senior Center was packed today with her bosses (past and present), colleagues, friends, family and fans.

But if organizers invited everyone Barbara Butler helped over the past 27 years, they would have needed Yankee Stadium.

And still turned folks away.

11 responses to “Thank You, Barbara Butler!

  1. What a stellar human being! – Chris Woods

  2. A great, gracious, and loving woman. I am so thankful to say I know her and to live in a town that has her mark of positivity in every square inch.

  3. Don L. Bergmann

    Westport has been the beneficiary of many fine Town personnel. Barbara Butler is right at the top of that list. Barbara is a beautiful human being and also a super neighbor. I also hope Barbara stays in our Town for many years more and contributes as a citizen with her knowledge, commitment and love.
    Warm wishes, Don Bergmann

  4. John Brandt

    Barbara is a true Westport treasure. However I’m concerned that she might bridle at 30 decades of dedicated service. That would predate the Revolutionary War. No woman wants that kind of rep. Barbara, all kidding aside at Dan’s expense, well done dear lady. We are all in our debt.

  5. Yikes!! 30 decades? Xoxo Fran (always a copy editor!)

    Sent from my iPhone


  6. Rabbi Robert Orkand

    When I arrived in Westport more than 30 years ago to serve Temple Israel as its rabbi, one of the first people i met was Barbara. Her passion and compassion were infectious. We were partners on many projects and over the years I came to value her as a friend and colleague. I know she will be missed!!

  7. Melody James

    About 28 years ago when I was looking for financial help for a summer program at Saugatuck Nursery School, Patty Doolittle suggested I contact Barbara Butler. She helped get our family aid; the form (compared to MANY I filled out over the years) was fairly simple. I have always remembered her kindness and assistance! I’m in the STADIUM with all the others she helped.
    Melody James (grew up here and returned) on behalf of the PARTON FAMILY

  8. Barbara Butler is a real gem in our community–we are so blessed to have her!

  9. The Town has been blessed to have you at the helm of Human Services. My mother, Olga Spencer, spoke highly of you as a professional and valued your friendship as a friend. Best wishes on your new endeavour(s). Isabelle