TWO WORDS: Chris and Billie Butt enjoying their retirement lifestyle, not usually too far from a beach.
TWO WORDS: Chris and Billie Butt enjoying their retirement lifestyle, not usually too far from a beach.

Former Gympie Hammers coach and journalist dies

WHEN former Gympie Times deputy editor Chris Butt died suddenly on April 6, the world lost one of its great and joyful adventurers.

Mr Butt is also remembered as an aggressive and talented rugby union player, as well as a fan of rugby league.

He coached the Gympie Hammers in the late 1980s and is remembered as a much-loved part of the Hammers family.

His daughter Tammin yesterday recalled a fit and hearty man who retired in his mid-fifties and enjoyed a good life, much of it in or near the Gympie region, until he suffered a major heart attack.

"Chris was a man of few words though the words he used were full of wit and wisdom,” she said.

"Chris was a family man with a caring and courageous heart who will be sorely missed.”

Chris and Billie Butt
Chris and Billie Butt

Mr Butt lived in Ulladulla, NSW in the early '80s, where he worked at the Milton Ulladulla Times.

It was owned by his brother-in-law, Paul Poulus and it was there he met the love of his life, Billie.

They had one child each from former marriages, Darren in Chris's case and Luke from Billie's side.

They had three more children together, Tammin, Skye and Ben. Ben predeceased his parents.

Mr Poulus said yesterday the couple also had grandchildren aged between three and 15.

He moved from Ulladulla in the 1980s, setting up at Airlie beach, then Gladstone and eventually Gympie, where he was deputy editor.

The couple retired to Bli Bli.

Mr Poulus remembered his brother-in-law as a dangerous man on the footy field and a highly successful coach.

"He took the Milton Platypus team to their one and only premiership in the southern NSW competition and he played with them for a while as well,” he said. "He also loved rugby league and was a proud South Sydney supporter.”

He is fondly remembered by former colleagues, including The Gympie times editor Shelley Strachan.

Ms Strachan said she worked with Mr Butt in the late 1980s, when he coached the Hammers.

"Chris was a dear friend and an absolute character,” she said.

"His irreverence used to crack us up but you knew he totally had your back no matter what.

"He was a devoted family man and I know Billie and the kids are still trying to come to terms with this sudden loss.

"It's a terrible shock to us all, and the world seems a little less bright knowing Chris isn't here with us any more.”