South Walton loses its visionary with the passing of Van Ness Butler, Jr.

Published: Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 09:55 PM.


'A friend'

Butler also played a key role in the founding of Seaside.

"Van Ness was a real friend to Daryl and me when we first landed on the shores of Grayton," said Seaside founder Robert Davis. "We stayed in one of his small cottages until he persuaded the Bullard family to rent us their beach house for 11 months each year. He taught us how to set crab traps, how to cast a net for mullet and he took me out to fish for grouper and snapper.

"He was also an outstanding leader of our community and was able to act as a bridge between our progressive ideas and the natural conservatism of the people he had grown up with. His service on the South Walton Conservation and Development Trust was essential to the adoption of much of the plan that took two years of hard work...

Davis predicted there will be many proposals to name roads, bridges, etc., after Butler . His vote is for the bike path along 30A, a project Butler was responsible for proposing and persuading the county to fund and implement.

"We will all miss him," said Davis

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