Remembering William Russell “Butch” Green

We would like to take a moment to remember the life and legacy of William Russell “Butch” Green, who passed away peacefully at the age of 92 on November 26, 2021, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Butch was a devoted and determined recreation and parks professional and volunteer. His career in the industry started in Moose Jaw in 1955, and he became the Director of Recreation for the City of Moose Jaw in 1958. In 1963, Butch was welcomed by the City of Prince Albert as their Director of Parks and Recreation.

The lasting impact of Butch’s leadership, innovation and instincts can be seen in the recreation facilities that he helped to champion in Prince Albert, which include the Margo Fournier Centre, the Kinsmen Community Seniors Centre and the Communiplex Arena (now known as the Art Hauser Centre).

Butch believed strongly in the benefits of municipal and public recreation, and in the early 1960s, he was part of a key group of leaders and visionaries who were instrumental in the creation of the Saskatchewan Recreation Association, now known as the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association (SPRA).

Elected in October 1963, Butch was the Association’s second ever President, a position he gladly fulfilled until October 1965.  
In October 1980, SPRA was proud to induct Butch as a Honourary Life Member, which further highlighted the strong contribution and guidance to the industry, and to the creation of SPRA, which Butch provided during his time in Saskatchewan.

A move to British Columbia in 1970 saw him further excel in his field. His exemplary voluntary efforts continued, as he provided his leadership on the national level from 1976-1977, when he served as President of the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA).

When Butch retired in 1992 at the age of 63, he had been the Administrator of Parks and Recreation for the City of Surrey for over 22 years. His vision to make Surrey the “City of Parks” was realized in 1993; the 200+ green spaces enjoyed today across Surrey remain his legacy.

Butch’s wife, Lorraine, and daughters Michelle, Paula and Dianne, will remember Butch as a committed father and grandfather, who loved music, being outdoors, volunteering, running marathons, riding his Harley Davidson and cheering on his beloved Saskatchewan Roughriders and BC Lions.

Butch’s legacy, commitment and dedication to the parks and recreation industry continue to live on, and SPRA is forever thankful for his vision and support of our Association.

Those wishing to leave messages or memories of Butch can do so at: