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Former BASF Director of Accounting Passes Away


Janice Mae Butler, former Director of Accounting for The Bar Association of San Francisco, passed away April 6, 2009 at her home in Pittsburg, CA.  She was 73.

“Over the course of her remarkable career at BASF,” said former longtime BASF Executive Director Dru Ramey, “Jan provided the financial structure and oversight that underlay the phenomenal growth of the Association into a national leader in service to the profession and the broader community, particularly the most marginalized among us.  Jan’s patient and compassionate tutelage made it possible for me, as a newcomer to nonprofit administration, and for all of the staff, Board of Directors and membership, to accomplish all we were able to do.  She was my great and good friend, and I shall sorely miss her.

Jan began work at BASF in 1978.  At the time, she was the Accounting Department.  During her 25 years with the Association, BASF’s programs grew exponentially, concomitantly requiring an extraordinary expansion and diversity of skills within Jan’s Department—all of which she handled with remarkable wisdom, agility and élan. The Volunteer Legal Services Program, for example, founded early in Jan’s tenure at the Bar, ultimately grew under the leadership of Tanya Neiman to be the largest and most comprehensive such program in the nation, requiring new and complex accounting programs and management; staffing similarly increased elsewhere throughout the organization, as a wide variety of innovative new services were provided to a rapidly growing membership and the broader community.  The Membership and Continuing Legal Education departments, the Alternative Dispute Resolution program, the Lawyer Referral and Information Service, the Barristers Club and the Association’s diversity efforts  all greatly expanded and diversified their operations and staff, each attaining national stature.   The School-to-College, Law Academy and Minority Law School Scholarship programs and the California Minority Council Program also emerged as signature BASF programs, serving as national exemplars.   When Jan retired in 2002, the combined budget for BASF, VLSP, the BASF Foundation and the BASF Endowment had enjoyed a five-fold increase, and the Accounting Department was a fulcrum for that growth.

On a personal level,  Jan’s love for and loyalty to the Bar always informed her work and her indefatigable support for her colleagues.  Jan worked with several CFO’s, educating each about the intricacies of the many separate legal entities that comprised the BASF operations.  So, too, was she a teacher and mentor to her staff, and to each BASF administrator charged with managing departmental budgets.  Precise and accurate, she also had an intuitive approach to finance.  If something seemed amiss, she often said, it probably was, and she would cheerfully help solve the mystery. 

A resident of the Bay Area for most of her life, Jan never lost her signature Boston accent.  She was noted for her malapropisms.  When investigating new accounting software, for example, she was adamant that an “off-the-wall” program would be sufficient.

She is survived by her son, John Benito Rodrigues, and daughter-in-law, Thelma Ascensio Rodrigues, three grandchildren, two brothers and many nieces and nephews.

The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is a nonprofit voluntary membership organization of over 8,000 attorneys, law students and legal professionals in the Bay Area. Founded in 1872, BASF is one of the largest and most dynamic metropolitan bar associations in the U.S., with a long and distinguished record of community action, public service and service to the legal profession.

Questions about media relations, BASF issues currently in the news, San Francisco Attorney magazine, marketing and communications:

Ann Murphy, Director of Communications & Public Relations
(415) 782-9000 x8792

For general communications inquiries:

Sayre Happich, Assistant Director of Communications & Public Relations
(415) 782-9000 x8104