Butler organizations celebrate key dates together

By Larry Atseff

The last weekend in September 2022 marked important milestones for two closely related organizations.

The Oak Brook Polo Club (OBPC) held the Polo Ball to honor its 100th season

On September 23 at the Oak Brook Hills Resort, host and Club President Jim Drury was joined by the Chicago area polo community to honor the men and women who have established and helped keep Oak Brook Polo on the map for the last 100 years. Nearly 100 guests joined Drury to celebrate the club, which F.O. Butler and his son Paul, and their family, registered with the U.S. Polo Association in 1922.

Friends of Conservation (FOC) then celebrated 40 years

Two days later, on September 25, Friends of Conservation (FOC) commemorated 40 years of success, with a Polo for Conservation benefit luncheon, before the last polo match of the season, which featured the finals of the Butler International Cup tournament. As with the Polo Club, a Butler was at the forefront of FOC. FOC Founder & International Chairman Jorie Butler Kent, Paul Butler’s daughter, founded FOC in 1982, holding the first fundraiser for FOC that summer. It occurred at a match where The Prince of Wales was on the field for his polo club. Today, Jorie’s daughter, Reute Butler, carries on the critical work of FOC as the current President and International Director. Since 1988, the FOC has partnered with the fabled Maasai people in Kenya’s renowned Masai Mara region to host the spectacular “Great Migration,” one of the truly epic remaining wonders of the natural world.

Event Co-chair Irene Michaels and Arny Granat

Together, they are cultivating a sustainable future for the Maasai people and the magnificent wildlife and wild lands that are both their natural heritage and a global treasure. Jorie Butler Kent served as Honorary Chairman of the Polo for Conservation benefit luncheon at the Polo Club grounds. Daughter Reute Butler, who chaired the event, was joined by her co-chairs Michelle Butler, Manuela Hung, Irene Michaels, Eleanor Sherman, Tara Wegner, and Wendy Wood-Prince in welcoming the 125 FOC guests who attended. The day included a champagne reception and gourmet al fresco luncheon, a live and silent auction, and a very popular hat contest. With the support of James Drury, president of the Polo Club, and the sponsorship of James Drury Partners, the Polo for Conservation benefit raised $130,000 to assist FOC grassroots projects in the Masai Mara.

Generous donations to the live auction included a six-night stay in Cambodia contributed by The Bensley Collection Shinta Mani hotel properties, ten nights in Thailand with Anantara Resorts, and seven nights on safari in Kenya with Sarova Hotels, Resorts & Game Lodges. Peggy Drury was the winning bidder when Chicago producer and stalwart FOC supporter Arny Granat started the live auction with his on-the-spot donation of tickets to his acclaimed holiday event, Lightscape, at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Also for bid was a one-week stay in the Hamptons donated by “Architectural Digest” 100-list of top interior designers and passionate FOC supporter Jennifer Post, as well as a collection of wines selected by the members of the FOC committees. Each bottle, at $40 or more, commemorated FOC’s 40th anniversary. The afternoon finished with tournament play for the celebrated Butler International Cup.

Oak Brook Polo team: Left to right, Tommy Collingwood, Team Captain and Patron Jim Drury, Horatio Onetto and Herndon Radcliff

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IN MEMORIUM
Michael Butler
November 26, 1926
November 7, 2022

As this issue went to press, Oak Brook Magazine learned that Michael Butler, son of Paul Butler, passed away on November 7. He is survived by his sister Jorie Butler Kent, her daughter Reute Butler, his son Adam Butler, daughter-in-law Michelle Butler, and grandson Liam Butler. We look forward to publishing a retrospective on the full life of Michael Butler in a future issue. To commemorate Michael, contributions can be made to his favorite charity, the Friends of Conservation. Visit www.friendsofconservation.org

*Photos by Christina Pawlak

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