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Remembering Robert Butler: A Wake-Up Call

Posted Jul 10 2010 5:42pm

Posted on | July 10, 2010 |

Eric Dishman

Sometimes the death of someone you care about can be a slap in the face to take perspective on your own problems in life and to keep living that life to its fullest. When I saw last night on the news (see the New York Times write-up  here ) that Dr. Robert Butler, arguably the most important pioneer in the field of aging, died this weekend, I had such a wakeup call. A flood of thoughts and questions went through me: “How can he be gone? Was he really 83 years old? He was so young. I had no idea he even had Leukemia. He didn’t seem sick. I will miss him, even though I barely knew him. I wouldn’t have my career if it weren’t for him. I wish I had told him ‘thank you.’”

I have just finished Dr. Butler’s latest book, The Longevity Prescription. And I was planning to call him next week to see if he would keynote an independent living conference. I didn’t know Dr. Butler well (he would tell me to call him “Robert” or even “Bob” but that just never felt right to me). I only met him twice but can remember each of those experiences in explicit detail, as if filmed in slow motion in my memory. (CONTINUE….)

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