Posted by: Barbara Evanhoe | September 23, 2010

“The Very Bill Butler”

  • Name – William Walter Butler
  • Age – 71
  • Residence – Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • Pets – cat named Mao
  • Favorite mode of transportation – bicycle
  • Life passions – music, literature, plants, art

Bill is not your ordinary guy. When Keith met him in the late 60’s, at Bill’s father’s music store where Keith was an after-school regular, Bill was in the process of finding his place in the world.

Although Bill’s age would have made him a likely candidate for the “Beat Generation”, its influence did not reach the small Midwestern town of Ottawa, KS, where he was attending college as an art major.

The philosophies and attitudes of the Hippie movement which followed, did have a lasting impact on Bill, and forever influenced his pursuit of the non-traditional lifestyle.

After living the communal life on a small Kansas farm, building a geodesic dome on family-owned property near Ottawa, riding his bicycle from Kansas to Colorado, giving nine years of his life to the care of his aging parents, and sharing a house with me and Keith for a year, Bill decided it was time for a change.

In January, 2010, at age 70, Bill packed all of his earthly belongings, musical instruments and his cat, into a well worn Toyota pick-up truck, and headed southwest to Las Cruces New Mexico to begin a new chapter in his life.

It was a bold move for a man of his age, but Bill reports that it has turned out to be the best decision he ever made.

Bill’s inherited love for music has helped to sustain him throughout his life. He was a long-time member of the Ottawa University orchestra, and played contra bass clarinet, harpsichord and upright bass in various combos and jam sessions over the years.

Music has helped Bill find a comfortable niche in his new home, as he is currently playing upright bass in two Las Cruces orchestras.

Several weeks ago, when Keith and I were traveling through Las Cruces, we spent some time catching up with Bill. We are happy to report that “The Very Bill Butler”, (name coined by an old friend, Ray), is thriving in his new environment…making friends and making music, painting and riding his bike, to his heart’s content.

Bill and Keith, Las Cruces, September 2010



  1. Thanks for the update on Bill! Great photo! I like it that his cat can say its own name. Susan

    • Yes, Mao is appropriately named! It was so good to see that Bill was thriving in his new home. He told us that he should have made the move years ago.

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