- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Patrick T. Butters, a freelance writer and former editor at The Washington Times, died May 12 at his home in Arlington. He was 45.

Mr. Butters also worked for The Washington Post, Scripps Howard News Service and the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and wrote for publications including the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Washington City View magazine.

“He was just an all-around journalism kind of guy,” said his brother, Mike Butters.

Born in 1961 in Honolulu, he graduated from West Springfield High School in 1979. In 1983, Mr. Butters earned a bachelor’s of science degree from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.

He began his career in 1983 as a sports and features writer for the Natchez (Miss.) Democrat. In 1985, Mr. Butters joined the Times-Picayune as a community news editor.

He joined The Times in 1988 and worked there for more than 12 years on the copy desk and in the Commentary and Features sections.

“Pat was a natural for the work he did at the Times,” said Sean Piccoli, a former reporter for The Times who now is a pop music writer for the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

“He was genuine, sensitive, kind, caring, always willing to help,” said former Features writer Denise Barnes, a public information officer for the D.C. Department of Human Services.

His former colleagues at The Times called him kind and creative and noted his sense of humor.

“His writing and editorial direction were always on the money, and his good cheer was an asset,” National writer Jennifer Harper said.

Richard Slusser, editor of the Food and Travel sections, said, “A few amusing words from Patrick could chase a cloud from hovering over a story.”

Mr. Butters left The Times in January 2001, and he became a nighttime editor for America Online in September 2002.

From February 2003 to January 2005, he worked at Scripps Howard.

“Patrick was a man of many talents,” Scripps Howard managing editor Karen Timmons said. “He will be dearly missed by the many whose lives he touched.”

In January 2005, Mr. Butters began working at The Post, and he was completing a book titled “A Nation’s Mall: Building on a Vision.”

An amateur entertainer, Mr. Butters delighted friends and family with stand-up comedy bits, ventriloquism and impersonations of politicians and actors, such as Bill Clinton and the Marx Brothers.

His other hobbies included drawing political caricatures and other artwork and rooting for the Boston Red Sox.

Survivors include three daughters, Naomi, Jillian and Sophie; his mother, Frances of Springfield; a sister, Mary Hukill of Annandale; and two brothers, Tim Butters of Springfield and Mike Butters of Madison, Va.

A memorial Mass will be held 1 p.m. May 19 at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale. A reception will follow at the Springfield Golf and Country Club in Springfield.

Donations can be made to the Mental Health Research Association, 60 Cutter Mill Road, Suite 404, Great Neck, N.Y. 11021.

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