Charles Edward Butler Charles Edward Butler was born in Medina, Tennessee on May 25, 1936. He was the oldest son born to Clarence and Beulah (Rhodes) Butler. He attended grade school in Medina, Tennessee and graduated from Stigall High School in Humboldt, Tennessee in 1954. He was an outstanding athlete during his high school years and a major contributor on the football team.
Charles was baptized at Mount Zion CME Church as a baby. As a young man, he was active in Sunday School and regularly attended church conferences and other church activities.
Charles was very family-oriented as a young man. He loved his two sisters, Edna and Helen, and was very protective of them. He was a hard worker and never complained as he worked alongside his father farming. He was adored by many friends with whom he remained close throughout his life.
After completing high school, Charles moved to Grand Rapids to live with his late aunt Margaret Holloway and late uncle Rev. James Holloway, to seek employment. His first job was at Butterworth Hospital. He later worked at Kent Country Club. It was there that he developed his love for golfing. While working full time at the country club, he studied electronics at Grand Rapids Community College. It was there that he met one of his good friends, Roy Roberts, and the two eventually began working at General Motors. Charles credits Roy for being instrumental in helping him land his dream job as an electrician. Charles retired in 1997, after 30 years of service at the General Motors Diesel Plant in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Charles was initially introduced to Mary Katherine Harris by his cousin Margarete Smith back in Milan, Tennessee. Charles would often visit Milan in a red truck delivering vegetables from his family farm to the people in the town. Mary’s sister would rant and rave about the fine young man and insisted Mary meet him. They met, but each of them moved away from Tennessee a short time later.
They reconnected in 1955. Mary, who was living in Elkhart, Indiana at the time, was invited by a friend to attend a dance in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At that dance, her former boyfriend, Charles from Humboldt, was also in attendance. The two were reunited and their love flourished from that point forward. Charles and Mary Katherine were married January 15, 1957 by Rev. James Holloway. They were blessed with two beautiful children, Carla Hall and Peter Butler, Jr. Their children were the love of their lives. They worked hard to provide for the family and their children wanted for nothing.
Charles united with First Community AME Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan under the leadership of Rev. Lyman S. Parks, Sr. Charles served as an active member of the Trustee board.
After retiring, Charles and Mary enjoyed traveling. They spent a portion of each year, especially the harsh winter months, at their vacation home in Arizona to nurture Charles love for golfing. He also enjoyed traveling across the United States with his closest golf buddies enjoying his favorite sport. Charles and Mary Katherine looked forward to returning to their Rockford home every Spring to enjoy their family and friends in Grand Rapids.
In August of this year Charles, Jr., and two of his daughters went to Arizona to care for his father. After a few weeks they returned to Grand Rapids where they continued to care for Charles. In September, his health took a turn, and he was admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital. He was stabilized and transferred to Healthbridge for rehabilitation. Shortly thereafter, Charles was admitted to Faith Hospice Trillium Woods for long term care. Charles was happy to be at Trillium Woods and the staff took excellent care of him. The last few days of his life he was incredibly happy and enjoyed visits from his loving sister Edna Simmons, his niece and nephew Jonathan D. and Debra Simmons, his great nephew Jonathan X. Simmons, and adopted niece Pam Oliver. On Sunday, September 27th, after spending time with his family, Charles declined rapidly. He received an outpouring of love and support, and was surrounded by his grandchildren and others in his final hours. He died peacefully at the age of 84 on Wednesday, September 30th at Trillium Woods.
Charles is pre-deceased by his parents Clarence and Beulah; daughter Carla Hall; and brother-in-law Richard Simmons. He leaves to mourn his passing his loving wife of 63 years, Mary Katherine; son Charles “Peter” Butler Jr. (Tammy); sisters Edna Simmons and Helen Brown; sister-in-law Wilma (Roger)Newbill of Milan, Tennessee; grandchildren Takisha, Greg, Charles Butler III, James, Jacob, Shaylynn, Tonia, Lawanna, Alishia, Chamona, Nani and Cherie; great grandchildren Kiashia, Grace, Greg Jr., Kalob, My’Lani, Earl, Aquan, Aleasha, Luke, Liam, Eva, Xavier, Anthony, Azaria, Emonee, Diamonte, Kwase, Geremy, Miyonha, Jayleo and Marquise, all of Grand Rapids; nine nephews, seven nieces; a special niece Pam Oliver-Slaughter; two first cousins Lee Francis Potts of St. Louis, Missouri and Anthony Butler of Humboldt, Tennessee; special sister Myrtle Love; special niece and nephew Dr. Katina and Joseph Currin of Tennessee; special friends Michael and Charlene Joseph, Harold and Judy Bouise, and Bill and Stella Reynolds; special lifelong friends John and Lillie (Polly) White, Loraine and Joe Oliver of Grand Rapids, Michigan; and numerous relatives, golfing buddies and other friends.
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