The Directors & Members of the Butters Foundation are sad to announce the passing of one of its long-time Directors, Bill Duke Sr. Bill had a long history of association with the Butters network, dating back to his association with Mrs. Butters in the mid 1960s. When Mrs. Butters incorporated her Home (institution) in 1965, she needed an auditor, but didn’t have much money. Thus, she convinced a young Bill Duke to take it on pro bono and the Cecil Butters Memorial Hospital became one of his first clients after setting up shop in Cowansville, about 60 kilometres down the road in Brome County.
In 1976, Bill was a founding Director of the fledging Butters Foundation, set up by the friends & family of Mrs. Butters to honor her legacy. The Foundation was critical to allowing the public center, at this point, to deinstitutionalize its clients into the communities of the Eastern Townships and survive the introduction of the public rehab system. As the assets of the Foundation grew, there became a need to separate the promotional & solicitation work of the Foundation from the property management tasks of running a network of properties for intellectually people throughout the vast region of the Townships. Thus, Bill guided the creation of Butters Homes Inc, the property management arm of the Foundation, and became its charter President. The Homes, over time, amassed as much as 30 properties for the clientele of the public establishment. Many clients left the institution, spent time in a home and then went into a foster family in the area where they spent decades of their lives.
Bill stepped down from the presidency of the Homes in 2005, but remained on the board of the Homes, as well as the Foundation until December of last year. He was honored for his long service to Butters and the cause in 2013 (see photo). It has been the dedication of people like Bill D. Duke that has allowed the Butters Foundation to continue its work in the areas of intellectual disability and autism over four decades.
He will be greatly missed.