Personal Reflection on the Life of Chess Butler


I didn’t have the opportunity to know “Chess”, or William Chessley Butler, who died this past week at the age of 23 from cystic fibrosis. Chess was the son of one of my closest high school friends, Nikki LeMaster Butler, and I just received word of his passing.
I am posting this beautiful video tribute to him and doing so with permission of his family — but at this time of year, I not only think through what challenges lie ahead, what I did and didn’t get done the year before, but I reflect on the people who have meant so much to me.
I would have liked to have known this young man – but had only recently re-connected with his mom and her brother, Bill LeMaster, via facebook.
One of my great mentors, Walter Beran, passed away in 2007 — and I couldn’t bring myself to write or think about his passing these last two years. He was one of the essential people in my life who launched me in my career. He kept me from becoming a bureaucrat, said I’d be a lousy accountant, and encouraged me to leave law to others. He pointed me the direction I’ve been going for a couple of decades.
Another close friend of mine, a Japanese diplomat who loved mountain climbing, Koichi Haraguchi, died October of this year at the summit of Mt. Amakazari in Itoigawa, Niigata Prefecture, Japan. I miss him too.
I’m sure many folks who read this blog have been close to people who have passed — or who are close to moving on.
I just wanted to reserve this space on TWN to pay respects to Walter, Haraguchi-san, and Chess Butler — who seems to have had a terrific life.
— Steve Clemons


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