Betty K. Adams and William Butts are both retired physicians and community-minded Pullman residents. They each served as the director of the Student Health Center at WSU (Butts from 1973 to 1979, and Adams from 1979 to 1988). And now, in their retirement, they are both avid walkers.
“I walk for an hour every day, Monday through Friday,” said Adams, who will be 75 this year. “In bad weather, I walk around Beasley Coliseum. In good weather, I go to Sunnyside Park or one of the other great places around town.“
“My primary exercise is walking,” said Adams. “I prescribe walking for everyone, especially anyone up in years. Bill Butts is a great example of what regular walking can do. He’s a great walker.”
Butts retired in 1983 at age 70. He will turn 93 this year – and he is still walking.
“Walking, reading and resting: that’s what I do,” he explained. “I walk 2 or 3 miles daily. Since I live on top of a hill, on Wadleigh Drive, wherever I go, I have to end up climbing uphill.”
Butts was born in Spokane and is the son of a doctor. After graduating from Rush Medical College at the University of Chicago and interning at the University of Iowa, he returned to Spokane in 1939 and married Barbara Kimbrough. He served as a flight surgeon in the South Pacific during World War II and then moved to Pullman in 1945.
Butts said that his wife was an alum (she graduated in 1937 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics) and wanted to return to Pullman. He then established a private practice and “delivered a lot of babies.” They had three children: Kathy, born in 1941, David in 1948, and Charles in 1953.
He left the long on-call hours of private practice for the Student Health Center in 1969, and then retired 14 years later. Following the death of his first wife, he remarried to Kathleen McCroskey, in 1987.
Adams notes that Butts was a well-respected doctor with a very active mind.
“Bill has a tremendous intellectual curiosity,” she said. “He kept attending continuing education meetings for physicians until he was 90. He’s still very active.”
Adams also maintains a busy schedule. Following her retirement a decade ago, she shifted to involvement in a variety of community activities, serving, for example, as a board member on groups like the United Way and the Pullman Civic Theatre.
“In my retirement, I have never been bored one minute,” she explained. “I still really enjoy living in Pullman.”
After graduating from WSU in 1952 (her bachelor’s degree was in zoology), she attended medical school at the University of Washington (one of four women in her class of 76) and spent her internship at Deaconess Hospital in Spokane.
In 1957, she came back to Pullman and started working at the Student Health Center.
“I originally intended to stay a couple of years, but I never could get out of Pullman,” she smiled. “I think this is a mighty fine small town to live in, and I really did enjoy working with students.”
After working there for 39½ years, she retired – and started her daily walking regimen.