Patten Funeral Home

71 Union Street, Glace Bay, NS


David Leroy Butts

21 February, 194330 May, 2020

It is with unfathomable sadness that the Butts family of Birch Grove must announce the passing of one of its most iconic members, David Leroy Butts (77). David passed away Saturday May 30th at the Glace Bay General Hospital, in the company of his wife and children. Much appreciation is being extended to the management staff of the hospital, who allowed them to be by his side every hour of his last days. David lived his entire life in Birch Grove as a self-employed auto mechanic and owned an impressive collection of antique Fords that he rebuilt entirely himself. If you owned an antique car on Cape Breton Island in the last 40 years, chances are good, you know David Butts. His love for antique Fords was only second to his love for his family: His wife of 54 years, Wilma, his daughters Phyllis (Ron Low) and Tanya (Bob Martell), his son Ryan, all of whom he taught the most important of life skills: always be kind and pleasant to others, appreciate family and loved ones, and drive a stick shift. He became a grandfather 25 years ago and discovered a whole new love he couldn’t contain. His five grandchildren and one great grandson, (Dylan, Morgan, Cameron, Colby, Chase and James) will never forget the fun they had roasting marshmallows over a campfire, playing a game of PopOmatic Trouble, or going to the chip wagon in an old car with their Nanny and Grampy. David was the oldest of 10 siblings, all of whom lived within a stone throw of their parents Phyllis and George, and uncle to 14 nieces and nephews. He is survived by brothers Ted (Florence), Bruce and George (Gerry Lee) and sisters Sandra, Linda, Trudy (Stanley) and Judy (Reg). He is predeceased by sisters Marjorie and Kathy, brothers in-law Sandy and Wilfred, sister in-law Betty and mother Phyllis and father George. David was an original member of the Cape Breton Antique and Custom Car Club and spent all of his spare time rebuilding either one of his own collectables, or someone else’s during the winter months when he wasn’t able to be behind the wheel, where he loved to be most. His customers came from near and far and many would only allow his hands to mess around under their hoods. He also loved the outdoors, either camping, ski-dooing or three wheeling, anything that involved being outside and preferably going fast. He was famous for bringing along a giant teapot wherever he travelled to. You never know when an impromptu roadside picnic might break out, requiring a cup of tea for everyone around. This was especially true of the Saturday ski-doo trips that lasted all winter as long as there was snow. Many members of the Butts family, aunts, uncles and cousins, spent the day breaking fresh powder trails and stopping for the best pot of soup cooked over an open campfire that you ever had. And what would a Butts family outing be if it didn’t include a little friendly competition to decide who had the fastest machine? No one was getting the best of David at this. His most favorite pastime by far was combining all these passions of his, attending car shows during the summer months with his family and close friends. Not many antique cars were built to tow a camper trailer, but David Butts’ certainly were. He travelled with his family, and sometimes brought along extra kids, as far away as Ontario and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. These trips weren’t always without their mishaps. Overheated engines, broken driveshafts, malfunctioning gas gauges were among a few of the problems encountered. Luckily David was pretty ingenious when it came to finding a fix to the situation, or if nothing else, he’d invent a few new curse words to describe it. Regardless, every trip included visits to amusement parks, waterslides, shopping trips, and the occasional barn yard sale, that gave everyone a good laugh and unforgettable memories. In more recent years, David and Wilma were able to enjoy a few winter trips to the US to attend NHL games. Although David wasn’t one you would call a sports fan, he was definitely a fan of travelling with good friends to new places, meeting new people, finding new places to eat and maybe, if he was lucky, finding a place with old automotive treasures. He was the kind of man you could bring anywhere, and all he’d need was a glass of orange pop to make him happy. David will be wholeheartedly missed by his family. A cup of tea and dessert around the dining table will never be quite the same. Family gatherings at Christmas, birthdays and Fathers’ Day will be missing a special person at the head of the table. He will live on in his children and grandchildren who wear his thick curly hair, eat with his cast iron stomach and drive with his lead foot. The family is extending special gratitude to Dr. Laith Shimon and Dr. B. O’Brien, who have been providing care to David for the past number of years, and not enough appreciation can be given to the health care team of 3rd floor East of the Glace Bay General Hospital. We know providing that quality of care is an everyday routine for them, but this was not a routine time for David’s family and the health care staff did everything they possibly could to provide comfort, especially in a time when visitation wasn’t possible at all for other families in this situation. An event will be planned for a later date when a gathering of appropriate size can be held to celebrate David’s life. Online condolences are welcome to be left at www.pattenfuneral.com


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


David Leroy Butts

have a memory or condolence to add?

Pat McDonald

15 June 2020

Dear Wilma
Life for you and all those who loved him will seem unimaginable without Dave,so willing to help,a perfect gentleman in every way .
There has always been a connection with the Edstrom and Butts family over many years which makes it very sad when one of them is no longer with us. As for me,I still think of them as children.
You have a large and wonderful family,also many friends ,so allow yourself to lean on them during the difficult moments ahead.
My love to you,your children and Dave,s brothers and sisters ,as well as the extended family......Pat.

Gail Gouthro

13 June 2020

Dear Linda,
Thinking of you and sending heartfelt condolences to you and your family on the passing of your brother,David.
Gail and Mickey

Conrad LeLievre

11 June 2020

I, unfortunately, only met Dave once, a few years ago at an evening car show on George Street in Sydney. I introduced myself to him as the NAACC Nova Scotia director and filled him in on my life growing up in Reserve Mines. (I line here in New Minas)
I had witnessed his '34 street rod going up Wilson Road as a teenager and drooled over it. My parents' home was on Glace Bay Road.
In talking to Dave that evening I found out that he had worked with my father, Wilfred LeLièvre, at Lewis Motors on Union Street, where he told me he spent a few hours a week, as sort of a work experience job, with my dad. That was an amazing connection to make after all those years.
Sorry to have not gotten more time to talk shop with Dave.

Conrad LeLièvre

Diane Corbett

8 June 2020


So sorry to hear of Dave's passing. Thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

Diane Corbett

Amanda Allen

8 June 2020

Wilma & family, I'm so so sorry to hear. My thoughts are with you and yours during this time and hope you're able to find comfort in your memories with each other. Best wishes.

William Buchanan

7 June 2020

Wilma and family,
We were very saddened to see that Dave passed away. He was such a great guy,so friendly and welcoming.He will certainly be missed as he leaves a lasting impression.
Condolences, Willie and Babes.

Gary and Heather Steeves

7 June 2020

Saddened to hear of Dave’s passing. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Barry Smith

6 June 2020

To the family:
Sorry to hear of Dave's passing, many great memories of growing up with him in Birch Grove.
Dave was a "original" his love of anything that had wheels, he became a "master" in his work.
Very kind to all who knew him, great family man.
Will miss him at the car shows.
My sympathy.
Barry & Rhonda Smith
Sydney River,N.s.

Phyllis Faulkner (Anderson)

6 June 2020

Wilma and Family, I was so sorry to hear of David’s passing. Please know I am thinking of you and send my love.

Lori-Ann & Glenn Betts

6 June 2020

Sending love, peace and comfort to the entire family. May your memories bring you comfort at this difficult time.


Learn more about the Butts name