Friday, October 26, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 47


Former NSM dean succumbs to cancer

Cougar News Services

John Butler, a former geosciences professor and dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, died Wednesday after a struggle with cancer. He was 59 and would
have turned 60 on Oct. 31.

Johnny Kow/The Daily Cougar

Geosciences professor John Butler, who died of cancer Wednesday, is seen at his retirement ceremony during the Sept. 19 Faculty Senate meeting.

Butler retired in September after 33 years of service to the University. His widow, Susan Butler, is associate director for public affairs at the Texas Center for Superconductivity at

Butler received his doctorate from Ohio State University in 1968 and immediately thereafter joined the faculty of the UH department of geosciences. He was chair of the
department from 1975 to 1985, and NSM dean from 1989 to 1991.

During the last 10 years of his career, Butler focused his research and much of his energy on developing the education uses of the Internet. His expertise as a "guru" was
recognized across campus and the country.

Among his achievements along those lines was his Web site called "Virtual Geosciences Professor," an award-winning site which is highly regarded by colleagues from around
the globe.

A statement released by the geosciences department read, "Above all, Dr. Butler was an educator and a teacher, whether it was in the classroom, or the extension of his
classroom via field trips to Central Texas or Mexico, or through his virtual classroom on the Internet."

Butler received the UH Distance Education Teaching Excellence Award in Spring 2001.

During a special ceremony honoring Butler at the Sept. 19 Faculty Senate meeting, Senate President H. Jerome Freiberg presented Butler with an oversized card signed by
dozens of colleagues, students and friends.

On the card was a proclamation of the senate, which read in part: "Dr. Butler's remarkable influence has been felt in both his home college and throughout the University.

"Dr. Butler is widely regarded by students, faculty, staff and administrators as a friend to whom anyone can go for assistance, advice and good cheer.

"And John Butler has consistently been a really, really good guy."

A memorial service will be held Tuesday at the Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Butler's widow requests that, in lieu of flowers, people who wish to pay their respects send contributions to: The John C. Butler Scholarship Fund, c/o Laura Bell; Department of
Geosciences; University of Houston; 4800 Calhoun, Room 312 SR1, Houston, TX 77204-5007.

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