John Buting, of Durango, Colo., age 62, beloved brother, uncle, friend and extraordinary astronomer, died July 13 from heart failure. He had a major heart attack in Durango and had been flown to Colorado Springs for heart surgery.
He was a member of the San Juan Stargazers, the Astronomical League and has been a Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) volunteer for five years. He is noted for the part he played in our Night Sky Programs, pointing out the constellations and telling so many fascinating stories. But what was the best was the command he had of his 20-inch telescope, showing people rare views of Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter and so many of the Messier objects, from the Swan and Veil Nebula to star clusters and galaxies of the local group. His knowledge was impressive and his passionate interest in the universe was infectious. People left feeling wonder and amazement at what they had seen. John also helped with Star Parties in the Durango area, and volunteered with the Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers and the Powerhouse Science Museum. He also was a three-decade participant in AA.
John was the second child of a loving sibling group of seven. He is survived by his siblings: Tom; Jerry and his wife, Kathy; Marianne and her husband, Terry; Michael and his wife, Rina; and Rosemary and her husband, Bjorn. There are also six nieces and nephews who will miss him dearly.
John earned his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in 1977 and his law degree from the University of Oregon in 1980. After spending many years under the cloudy skies of Portland, he set out to find the location of his dreams with clear dark skies and deep powdered mountains in the winter. Each year he counted with so much joy how many days he had been on the slopes.
Durango was the right location for him to fulfill his many dreams of skiing, having deep, loving friendships, doing satisfying volunteer work and spending as much time as possible searching the deep, dark sky. So many people can say, “my life is better because of John,” briefly or for longer, but certainly not for long enough. He will be so deeply missed.
There will be a gathering of remembrance on Monday, July 31, at 6:30 p.m. If you do not receive an email with location and details by Saturday, July 29, please call Joan at 731-0186.