An elderly man was hit and killed as he walked across Lowell Street in Peabody after leaving St. Adelaide Church on Sunday. Theodore Buttner, 87, of Somerville was in town visiting family. “He was coming to visit us,” said Patricia Caton, his daughter. “He thought we were at the church, but we weren’t there. He was on his way to our house.”
The driver, Richard Franco, 84, of Peabody struck Buttner at around 1:00 p.m. with his 2004 Buick LeSabre, Police said. Buttner died later that night at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Officials have not cited or charged Franco, and are still investigating the incident, said Peabody police Detective Michael Crane. A state police accident reconstruction team is helping to investigate. Officials will not release any additional details about the crash until the investigation is complete, Crane said.
Buttner, who went by the nickname Ted, regularly attended St. Adelaide’s when visiting family, even though he was from out of town. Caton learned her father was at church only after she received a phone call from Peabody police informing her that a car had hit him. “It was devastating,” Caton said.
Butter served in the Navy in World War II, stationed at Pearl Harbor. After that, he worked for the MBTA for 35 years. He was married to his late wife, Theresa, for 57 year. He had five children, seven grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter. “He loved to get together with us as a family,” Caton said. “He enjoyed the holidays and cookouts.” He was a devout Catholic, and met Cardinal Sean O’Malley when he visited St. Adelaide last year, said Canton.
A nurse and many others came to Buttner’s assistance on the day of the accident. “He was never alone; they stayed with him,” she said. “It means a lot to my family that he was not alone when that tragedy occurred.”