"marcus" mark william rivera-robinson butler

3/27/1963 - 10/5/2023


marcus butler died in port townsend on october 5, 2023.the shock of his death reverberates still.marcus was born mark william rivera-robinson in san francisco on march 27, 1963.

marcus’ sensitivity and uncanny intelligence carried him on a life journey only few could mimic. marcus’ poetic clarity found its full expression through photography. his stunning, yet nuanced, authentic color photographs brought light-filled awareness into the recesses of the mundane.

marcus sought the lofty places of mind and mountain. he trekked the olympics for decades; his photos reveal their splendor. his connection to nature resides beyond what words convey and it shows in his artful capacity to capture the movement of color.

he cherished poetic expression as essential to living well. marcus familiarity with the myriad light displays of port townsend offered a rare awareness of living life in tune with the ephemeral. his intimate photos of local wildlife as kindred brought nature into daily life in delightful ways. his photographs are a testament to his insightfulness and compassion.

marcus loved to help others. he found hope in kindred bond with those who embraced right livelihood. in his later years, he kept giving even when he had nothing left to give. marcus lived a life of integrity and yet was not hardened by those who did not. his taste for adventure could not be squelched by the hardships he endured.

marcus relished growing food and was passionate about building soil. marcus enjoyed a very sensual nature. he loved fine cuisine, to dance and to work with his hands. marcus was self-taught and superlatively capable in every project whether technical or practical. he never lorded over, however. in intellectual dialogue, he hit every note with perfunctory wit blended with the just right circumspect humor.

as a young man, marcus frequented the circle of older artist-philosophers of the town tavern. he tended bar, consoled many and shared pool table prowess with another town tavern adept, jim alden. marcus, by far the younger, remained solid friends with jim to the end. awed and loved, marcus tenuously carried jim’s torch forward. marcus was never over confident. he did what one must do. his insightfulness was so very rare among those of his age who seemed to crave money. this obituary is not in capitals as that is how marcus saw things. life was not about capital. he never used capitals.

marcus was born to the daughter of a filipino war hero. he lived his early childhood holding his grandmother’s hand walking balboa park near his home under the bay bridge of san francisco bay. he remembered the gentleness of her teaching and her nourishment of soul and body. he owes it to his grandmother to be in port townsend. in the seventies, his grandparents bought a home here and are buried above ebey’s landing on whidbey.

marcus’ father was his mother’s first husband, robinson. His step-father was named butler and marcus fondly told stories of his step father teaching him to play pool. As a boy, he lived in the philippines. his childhood ended abruptly when the family moved to oak harbor. the jets were a daily trauma.

his late teens were further marred by not being able to go to college on a scholarship because of circumstances beyond his control. he did his best to provide and suffered again and again for it. though he tried, he could not shake the abuse. marcus embodied a most kind and sensitive soul.

in his twenties, marcus chose sobriety as a way out of the quagmire. he was in the air force as a geographic information systems specialist in germany. with his wife melanie of montana, he explored european culture and landscapes with relish. life was good. upon their return state side however, montana did not hold home for him.

he returned to port townsend alone – his home of choice and kin. marcus taught photography at port townsend high school. he ran a darkroom photo lab on water street in port townsend. he counseled teens whose parents drank or used too much. he provided solace and his example of meaningful action and living a good life.

marcus was a skilled wood worker and builder and could deliver remarkable qualityin every aspect of construction. marcus built out a schoolie before tiny and glamping was trending. he offered his services to many in need. even for those who had more than enough, he offered his support, his exceptional renovation artistry and craftsmanship at below market rates. he repaired many a broken victorian uptown home.

marcus valiantly fought injustice and protected those affected by bullying or tragedy. in his generous way, he helped many people. some will remember how he rallied on divestment and the town charter.

in life and dying, marcus wished to be held in tibetan buddhism tradition. death twists and folds in unexpected ways. marcus was not prepared for death. his wishes were carried out by his beloved from afar – on the day of his death and for the many weeks after he died. to her, he feels always near. she is my “mate” he told the doctor from his death bed. a video of marcus’ last weeks will soon be online to encourage everyone to prepare for death. here-is-to-you.net

marcus is survived by two grandchildren who with kind attention and much encouragement could follow in their grandfather’s fine example. marcus life work is in the hands of their mother. it is hoped that she will find proper guidance to steward this gift for her children’s benefit. he is also survived by an aunt of port townsend. he shared a kind mother with two step-sisters and a cherished younger step-brother, james butler,of washington.

a memorial art show is planned on the anniversary of marcus’ death. on this day, we will celebrate not only an exceptional man, but the launch of a community mediation center in marcus’ honor. art show will run from 1 to 4pm on saturday, oct 5, 2024.

marcus’ photos take center stage in a show he hoped to produce after he turned 60. his photos will appear alongside exhibits about his life and interests. this invitational art show will also feature local artists in his circle including remarkably gifted, multi-dimensional artist steven r. johnson. a reunion of bioregional poets such as “jampa” richard denner (see dpress.net) and town tavern usuals (now elders) is also happening.

community picnic potluck from noon to 3pm at fort worden state park. art show passes may be purchased at the potluck. discounted early bird passes online. for memorial updates or to volunteer, please contact here-is-to-you@protonmail.com

donations towards the community mediation center in marcus’ honor may be mailed to: community mediation, PO Box 1837, Port Townsend, WA 98368