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Ernest L. Butler, Jr.

June 8, 1934 June 9, 2019
Ernest L.  Butler, Jr.
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Obituary for Ernest L. Butler, Jr.

Early on the morning of June 9, 2019, God - seeing a sick and weakened physical body no longer able to house the soul and spirit of His son, extended His hand to your husband, our father, your grandfather, your great-grandfather, your uncle and a friend to many…. and carried him home.

Ernest Lee Butler, Jr. was born in Chicago, Illinois to Ernest Lee Butler, Sr. and Lula Mae Gipson. His parents divorced when he was a young boy, which resulted in him living between two house-holds.

When he was 12 years old, his mother remarried and told him that he couldn’t come to visit her anymore - her “new” husband didn’t want him around. While most eight year-old boys were playing and hanging out with their friends, he was helping his father sell fruits and vegetables on a horse-drawn cart. When he reached his early teens, his father gave him a new job - being a “numbers runner” for illegal gambling. At first he liked living with free-wheeling dad because he was given a lot of freedom. The older he got, the more his father left him alone to fend for himself; there were many days and nights when he lived without heat or electricity and no food to eat - so he dropped out of school to work so he could survive.

When he was 17 years old, he vividly recalls seeing a sign in a store-front window of an old white man wearing a red, white and blue top hat – the sign read, “Your Country Needs You!” – his immediate thought was, “No, I need my country!” With his mother’s signature, daddy enlisted in the Marine Corps at 17 years of age. After completing boot-camp, he studied very hard to earn his GED. Over the course of his 20 years of service, he fought on the front lines during the Korean War and saw war again in Vietnam. For his honorable service to his country, he was awarded a Silver Star Good Conduct Medal, a Bronze Star National Defense Service Medal, a Korean Service Medal, a United Nations Service Medal, 4 Bronze Star Vietnam Service Medal, a Bronze Star Presidential Unit Citation, a Bronze Star United States Navy/USCG Unit Commendation, a Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, a Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation and a Republic of Korea War Service Medal. After retiring from the Marine Corps, he worked another 20 years, first as a senior mechanic for large aerospace companies like Lockheed and McDonnell Douglas and then resumed work for the military as a civil servant.

While stationed at Cherry Point, NC, he saw a “pretty little thing” standing by a juke box in a small, local club. That pretty little thing was my mother Inez, who he married on March 8, 1957. On March 8, 2019, my parents celebrated 62 years of marriage. There were seven of us, five kids and mom and dad. He worked hard to care for his family – he seemed to always have two jobs when we were growing up and he didn’t allow my mother to work outside the home, he wanted her to be home to take care of us. Daddy was a strict parent and a firm disciplinarian.

I don’t know the exact date that my father became a member of St. Paul AME but I do know that he was a committed member, he sang in the men’s choir and involved himself wherever he could.

I also don’t know when he became a Mason/Shriner but it was one of the most transformative events in his life. He became a member of the Widow’s Son Lodge on March 10, 1995, was in the Boyer Consistory #219, an Honorary Past Potentate, an Honorary Past Master, and achieved the status of 330 Mason. Being a Mason and Shriner had a calming effect on daddy’s temperament and demeanor. He was more reflective, compassionate, and understanding. Most notable, he developed a charitable spirit like none I had ever seen, making donations to varied and numerous charities every month.

Daddy was a loyal and committed friend. He was a principled person and held others to account just as he held himself. He respected people and people respected him. He had begun to live his live so authentically, that when he knew his body was sick and weak and could no longer sustain him, he fully surrendered to the idea and reality of his death because he knew that whatever rewards awaited an honest and obedient servant, he would receive.

Ernest Butler leaves behind his wife of 62 years, Inez; five children, Ronald Butler, Alma Williams, Angela Bagby, Deborah Butler and Clifton Butler; 10 grandchildren; 30 great-grandchildren, 18 great-great-grandchildren and his niece, Dolly, and innumerable friends.


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Previous Events

Visitation

Monday

24

Jun

9:30 AM 6/24/2019 9:30:00 AM - 11:00 AM 6/24/2019 11:00:00 AM
St. Paul AME Church

402 West Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC 27603

Masonic Rites will be from 9:30AM to 10 AM on Monday prior to the service

St. Paul AME Church
402 West Edenton St. Raleigh 27603 NC
United States

Service

Monday

24

Jun

11:00 AM 6/24/2019 11:00:00 AM
St. Paul AME Church

402 West Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC 27603

There will be full military honors performed at the cemetery.

St. Paul AME Church
402 West Edenton St. Raleigh 27603 NC
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

Eastern Carolina State Veterans Cemetary Final Resting Place

164 Longs Plant Farm Road
Goldsboro, NC 27534

164 Longs Plant Farm Road Goldsboro 27534 NC
United States
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