in memory of Lewis W. Butler, 1957-2020

Lewis Butler

“Having Lewis as a Co-Chair gave the Showcase a complete design leadership…architecture, design and art indivisible….the foundation of our enterprise. His knowledge of the design and business community in San Francisco made some excellent collaborations possible. Being in work partnership with Lewis was a true joy and produced great accomplishments. He is missed!”

Agnes Bourne, DAB member

The San Francisco Decorator Showcase and University High School community lost a dear friend and leader with the passing of Lewis W. Butler in September of this year. Well-known and respected as a talented architect, Lewis was also beloved by many for his self-effacing humor, sincere warmth and easy going manner. We dedicate the 2020 Decorator Showcase to Lewis W. Butler’s memory and to his enormous contributions to our community.

Lewis was connected to UHS in many ways, both as a parent of alumni, Tobias ’09 and Elena ’06, and member of the board of trustees from 2003-2009. Lewis also joined the Decorator Showcase Design Advisory Board (DAB) in 2009, serving as co-chair for the last nine years. His expertise in architecture and design elevated Showcase and his ability to lead with quiet confidence inspired DAB members and designers alike.

DAB member and former Showcase Operations Director Delanie Read recalls, “Lewis was a rare breed – one whose enormous talent was not accompanied by ego or self-promotion. Even though he had a strong and identifiable aesthetic, he was always supportive of others’ ideas and talents. I witnessed his discreet enthusiasm about projects he was working on, but I never heard him brag about them. He consistently promoted young talents, even though they might pose competition to his firm. He was always thoughtful, generous and reluctant to criticize, while also encouraging high standards of excellence in design and execution.”

Lewis’ generosity of time and support for young talent was also evident in his commitment to UHS’s Summerbridge program that offers school-year and summer intensive academic enrichment to under-resourced middle school students. Deundra Hundon, director of student and family services, recalls Lewis’ 13-year involvement fondly. “He was always the first to call me every year about Career Day because he loved to talk to the kids about architecture and art and design. And they loved him because they could sense he really cared about them. He always told me it was his greatest hope that he would awaken, even in just one student, a passion for design and that they would pursue a career in architecture as he did.”

The Decorator Showcase is profoundly grateful for Lewis’ many years of dedication and service. He will be deeply missed by all who had the pleasure to work with him, be inspired by him, and benefit from his generous spirit. 

For more about Lewis’ life and work, please see his detailed obituary published in the SF Chronicle here.