Wednesday, July 07, 2010

From Donna: Remembering Robert Butler


We are saddened by the loss of Dr. Robert N. Butler – Bob to his friends – who passed away Sunday in New York after a battle with leukemia. Bob was 83. He was a pioneer in the field of aging and a lifelong proponent of intergenerational connections.

We’re privileged to have worked with Bob, who was proud to tell us and others that he was raised by his grandparents. He knew the danger of using age as a dividing line and worked to educate others on the interdependency of the generations and of the importance of supporting both children and older adults in public policy. He wrote about this when he mentioned Generations United in his 2008 book, The Longevity Revolution.

In June Bob invited me to speak to the journalists assembled for his International Longevity Center’s Age Boom Academy. I’d done this several times over the years and always enjoyed the informal exchange of ideas and Bob’s challenging questions. He mentioned again a study he thought we should work on together to update the picture of investments in the old and young. He believed some advocates were presenting an inaccurate account of how many of our federal, state and local dollars were going to each generation. While Bob didn’t want to spark a zero sum debate, he did think we needed a realistic portrayal of investments across ages. We didn’t get to finish this conversation but I hope in some small way, the work we are engaged in at Generations United will honor Bob and lead to a healthier discussion and understanding of the commitment between and among generations.

Our thoughts go out to Bob’s family, his colleagues and friends. He may be gone but his influence on the field of aging will be felt for generations.

3 comments:

ywcasap said...
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ywcasap said...

What a legacy Bob left to the field of Aging and Intergenerational Work! It is hard to imagine that I will not see and learn from him at another conference. I am grateful to have met him and to have studied his work. R. Tillotson, Chicago

Carol said...

Thank you for your sincere comment and for reading our blog. -- Carol, Communications Coordinator at Generations United