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In Memory . . . Rev. Robert Botley (1923-2008)

Posted By Administrator, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Robert D. Botley. He died peacefully and with dignity on March 28, 2008 at age 84 with his wife, Anna Mae Botley, at his side.

Reverend Botley was born on November 17, 1923, in Springfield, Ohio to Elizabeth and Robert D. Botley, Sr. After graduation from Shaker Heights High School in Cleveland, Ohio, he served in the Army Air Corps in World War II. He earned a BS from Ohio State University in 1947 and a BD from Yale Divinity School in 1950. 

Reverend Botley was ordained into the United Church of Christ in 1951 and served Congregational Churches in Sedgwick CO, Pinedale, WY, and Rapid City, SD. In 1959, he attended Iliff Seminary in Denver, CO and the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA for post-graduate work in counseling. In 1961, he joined the Unitarian Universalist Association and was called to the San Mateo Unitarian Church in San Mateo, CA, where he served for nine years. While in San Mateo, Rev. Botley was active in the Civil Rights movement and marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, AL. He also took a stand against the Vietnam War and offered counsel to many conscientious objectors. Additionally, Reverend Botley served for six years as president of the board of directors of Mental Health Recovery, Inc. in San Mateo.

After a long illness with cancer, Reverend Botley retired early from formal ministry. As his health improved, he started his own business, Specialized Yachting Services. In 1980, he and Anna Mae sold the business and "retired” to the country, Willow Creek. In his "retirement,” Bob started an accounting business in Willow Creek and became an active and dedicated member of the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Bayside. In 1999, the Botleys moved to McKinleyville. In the ensuing years, Reverend Botley devoted his energy and time to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, serving on many committees and on the Fellowship Board.

Reverend Botley loved the wilderness and in his younger years enjoyed mountain climbing and backpacking. As an amateur landscape photographer, he won awards for some of his work. He loved wildlife and was an avid bird-watcher. He became a sailor, built a boat and sailed the boat to Mexico and back. During his years as a sailor, Reverend Botley was part of the Farallon Island Patrol, transporting Point Reyes biologists and supplies to the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco.

Reverend Botley is survived by his wife of 59 years, Anna Mae Botley. He also leaves two children, Steve Botley of Cave Junction, OR and Becky Blackshaw and her husband Tony Blackshaw of New Zealand; two grandchildren, Matthew and Kerry Blackshaw; his sister Suzanne Koch; and nieces Caroline Toops and Kathy Simmons. He is also survived by Anna Mae’s family, Ann Burkhart, Ella Faye Scott, Roy and Lee Burkhart, Eileen Burkhart, and nieces and nephews. 

Reverend Botley’s love of life and people and his service to community is a legacy that will long be remembered and cherished. A celebration of his life will be held on May 31 at 2:00 p.m. at the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Bayside, CA. 

Donations may be made in Reverend Botley’s name to either the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 24 Fellowship Way, Bayside CA 95524 or to Hospice of Humboldt, 2010 Myrtle Avenue, Eureka, CA 95501.

Please send messages of remembrance to Ms. Anna Mae Botley, 1815 Oak Place, McKinleyville, CA 95519-8200.

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