A memorial service for longtime Democratic political consultant Blair Butterworth will be held Sunday, April 21, 10:30 a.m., at Town Hall, Seattle. Butterworth died March 29 at age 74, after a long battle with cancer.

I really liked Butterworth. I get along just fine with nearly all the consultants (secretly, even some of the Republican ones!), but by the time I met Butterworth he had settled into a wise old uncle role that I found both welcoming and instructive. Butterworth had a knack for being brutally blunt without ever coming off as either unfriendly or dismissive. And he was almost always good for a quotable quip:

Butterworth is admirably succinct when asked what he thinks of Vance's contention that the Republicans have a new message and less abrasive tone that will put them back in the game. "It's bullshit. Vance is in denial," he says. Butterworth contends that since 1988, when Pat Robertson's Christian soldiers hijacked the Republican Party caucuses, the state's Republican base has been dominated by anti-government wackos: "It's awfully hard to recruit a great athlete to play on your team if you hate the game."

Politics is a nasty, adversarial game, and it's got to be played that way if you're playing to win. Beyond his skills as a political operative, Butterworth's gift was that he excelled at this profession without ever losing his humanity or his sense of humor. He will be missed.