Rick Butler, a 58-year-old former Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Revelstoke during the 1990s, died Tuesday after a Boxing Day skiing accident at Nakiska, 80 kilometres west of Calgary.
News reports about the accident said he was on a ski run called the Mighty Peace when he lost control and crashed into a tree. The accident left him with severe neck and back injuries.
He died on Tuesday at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.
“Rick was… passionate about our community, its people, our hopes and our dreams,” said friend and former mayor Mark McKee.
“He worked tirelessly to make Revelstoke a better place. He was a cheerleader for revitalization and development of the ski hill. He visited here in the spring of 2010 and we spent the day skiing at RMR.
“He was like a little kid in a candy store. But, really, he was like that with everything and everybody — big smile, bigger laugh.”
Cam Heke, of STARS air ambulance, told the CBC that Butler was in critical condition when STARS arrived on scene but his condition started to get worse and both the STARS ambulance crew and EMS decided it would be best to drive him to Calgary.
Butler was born and raised in Edmonton. He graduated from the University of Alberta and started his career in Rankin Inlet before moving through the ranks of the government of the Northwest Territories.
Butler moved to Yellowknife in 1980 and then to Whitehorse in 1982 to become deputy minister of Municipal Affairs with the Yukon Government. Butler married Gwynneth Penny in 1978, later starting a family in Whitehorse after travelling the world with his wife.
He then worked in Revelstoke from 1992 until 1998 where his passion for skiing was reignited. He moved to Cochrane, Alta., in 1998 where he was the chief executive office of the Stony Nakoda Nation for a brief time before returning to the North to the new territory of Nunavut where his role was to help develop the new capital city of Iqaluit.
Butler was elected to Rocky View County council in October 2010 after stepping down as the head of Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) earlier that year.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he is deeply saddened by the news of Butler’s unexpected passing.
“He will be remembered as a committed public servant and community builder,” he said in a statement. “In particular, I recall with gratitude his visionary leadership on the Calgary Regional Partnership, which helped set a new path forward for all the people who call this area home.”
Butler leaves behind his wife Gwyn and two daughters, Corrie and Marni.
Funeral services will be held at RockPointe Church west of Calgary on Jan. 4.