Former South Baltimore Community Officer Kevin “ButterBean” Vaught Dies of Cancer at the Age of 57

| June 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

Officer Kevin “ButterBean” Vaught was a popular fixture around South Baltimore during his 18 years working in the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) Southern District. Officer ButterBean passed away on Thursday after a battle with stage four liver cancer at the age of 57. He was diagnosed with cancer in March 2018 and was undergoing treatments at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Officer ButterBean was a constant presence around the neighborhood as well as at community meetings where he provided crime updates and promoted clothing drives, food drives, and fundraisers. One of his positions included leading the Neighborhood Services Unit in South Baltimore. He retired in 2015 after 34 years with BPD. Officer ButterBean also ran the Southern District Police Explorers, working with teens in the area, and was active in the Boy Scouts.

The family has shared the following information regarding the arrangements for Officer ButterBean on a GoFundMe page that is raising money for the Vaught family.

Viewings will be the Tuesday June 11th and Wednesday 12th from 3-5 and 7-9 on both days. This will be at the Fink funeral home in glen burnie, MD

The funeral service will be at Holy Cross Catholic Church in South Baltimore at 11am on Thursday. Then a Baltimore Police escort to Woodlawn Cemetery in Woodlawn Baltimore County directly following the service.

The family is working to finalize details for a reception following the service and burial.

The family is requesting people make donations to the GoFundMe page to help offset financial burden. Officer ButterBean was unable to continue working at his job as a night auditor at the Hampton Inn in Frederick. The drive to Johns Hopkins was about 100 miles from Officer ButterBean’s home.

Officer ButterBean is survived by his wife Denice and sons Kevin Michael and Timothy.

Reactions to Officer ButterBean’s Passing

From Officer ButterBean’s Facebook page:

This is Kevin’s son Tim. I personally have been off of facebook for a few years now. Too quote an old teacher of mine who has gone to the house of the Lord, Mr. Steve Cole “today is a black stone day for Gibbons”. Today a Cardinal Gibbons brother, an Eagle Scout, and retired Baltimore Police Officer my father Kevin Vaught SR has gone home to our father to help Saint Michael the Archangel protect my family, the families of police officers, and all police officers safe.

From District 11 Councilman Eric T. Costello on his Facebook page:

Rest in peace to Kevin “Butterbean” Vaught. He served as the community officer in the Baltimore Police Department- Southern District for years and was a fixture in neighborhoods on the South Baltimore Peninsula and was with Baltimore Police Department for over 34 years. Butterbean always had a joke to tell, brought a smile to my face, and was truly larger than life. I did this resolution for him, and it’s the only resolution I have ever duplicated, mainly because it reminded me of him as I used some of the slapstick that Kevin would often say. Going to miss my dear friend.

From Officer ButterBean’s niece Kate Chrest on the GoFundMe page:

This morning the sweetest man who ever walked the earth, took his last breath. He slipped out of a brave, tired and cancer attacked body into the blissful heavenly landscape we all long to journey to one day. We are certain he was welcomed to his heavenly home by countless angels who have gone ahead of him. We are comforted to know he is free of pain and fear. We know that he will wear out his new guardian angel wings keeping an eye on his family and friends. Never far from us.

As I type this, I am still not fully surrendered to the truth and the weight of today. Heroes never die. How can this be?

His loss is devastating to this small yet big world …those near and far, those he knew intimately and those he knew briefly, those he confided in and those that confided in him, those he saved and those he reprimanded, those he followed and those he led, those he loved and those that loved him. The impact of this loss will carry over to generations to come.

We are struggling with the weight of his great loss and haven’t lived an entire day without his presence among us… the depth of grief is unknown as we all prepare to face the days ahead.

We are at a loss of words to thank you all for your prayers, hope, love, encouragement and financial support for Kevin, Denice, Kevin Michael and Timothy. They have been so humble and appreciative of every single effort shown to them during this horrific journey. Thank you is not enough for the impact each of you have made.

We are rallying around his sweet family and they face the unthinkable. We ask that you please lift them in prayer in the days and weeks to come. They are facing some major mountains and will have to navigate without their expert leader of the family guiding them. They are ensuring he has a beautiful farewell and will give us all an opportunity to pay our respects and say our goodbyes to this legend of a man. (We will share arrangements once they are confirmed)

If you are able, please consider a donation to support the family to cover costs associated with his arrangements and the transitions they have ahead for their family. All funds go directly to Denice and her sons.

I have had a lot of titles and relationships in my life, today- niece seems to be my very favorite of all. It is a privilege to have called this incredible man my Uncle. Thank you for sharing this campaign, supporting this family and giving so generously to someone who spent his life serving our city. We are forever grateful for the love you showed him and his loved ones during a horrifying journey.

Loving through the tears,


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From National Federation of the Blind’s Twitter account:

We are sad to learn of the passing of this community icon in south Baltimore who was a great friend to the blind, provided security and support to many of our events, and raised engagement generally in our neighborhood.

From Founder and Publisher Kevin Lynch:

I’m not sure there was a more popular person around South Baltimore than Officer ButterBean. I had the privilege of working with him for several years as the South Baltimore Neighborhood Association (SBNA) Police Relations Co-Chair and have been a resident of the neighborhood for over 15 years.

There aren’t many jobs out there that are tougher and more demanding than being a BPD police officer, especially while working so closely with the South Baltimore neighborhoods, and the positive and upbeat attitude that Officer ButterBean approached this job with was incredible. Officer ButterBean always had a smile on his face at neighborhood meetings and always knew how to get a laugh out of people.

I remember the time he began speaking at a Locust Point Civic Association meeting and joked, “If we could just get rid of that Harris Teeter, there would be no crime around here.” There were a couple shoplifting incidents that month at the grocery store. It got a laugh.

His embracing of the nickname ButterBean in itself showed his humility and his sense of humor. Eric “Butterbean” Esch was a viral boxing sensation in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He was hefty boxer with a bald head, a similar hairstyle to Officer ButterBean around the same time. ButterBean wore the name on his BPD uniform name tag.

Not only did Officer ButterBean put his heart and soul into his roles with BPD, he had a passion for the teens in the Baltimore Police Department Southern District Explorer Post 9449. He was proud of the kids and often boasted how many of them overcame tough situations to go on to college and pursue careers in law enforcement.

A true testament to the popularity of Officer ButterBean was shown when he was hoping to raise $7,000 in 2014 to send the Explorers to the National Law Enforcement Exploring Conference in Bloomington. The South Baltimore community rallied and raised the money in about a month including a check for $4,750 from the Federal Hill Hospitality Association (FHHA). He was presented the check at a Public Safety Forum and with a smile on his face he said, “We’re going to Indiana!”

Officer ButterBean was instrumental in winter coat drives for the needy, Christmas toy drives for area kids, and handing out turkeys to families around the holidays.

When Officer ButterBean retired in 2015, South Baltimore Peninsula neighborhoods threw him a going away party at Delia Foley’s. It was a packed crowd full of residents from all different South Baltimore neighborhoods, BPD officers including former and current Southern District Commanders, and leaders and business owners throughout the community. Everyone wanted to thank a man who meant so much to so many in this community.

RIP Officer ButterBean, you were an incredible member of the South Baltimore community and made it a better place to live, visit, work, volunteer, and own a business.

Officer ButterBean and the Explorers preparing to hand out holiday turkeys.

Officer ButterBean (right) and the Explorers.

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About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.