Charles H. Butler

Charles H. Butler, 94, a 60 year resident of East Providence, passed away on Thursday, March 4, 2021, at the Phillip Hulitar Hospice Center in Providence after a brief illness.

He was the husband of the late Gwendolyn P. (Johnson) Butler to whom he was married for 67 years.

Born in Providence, he was a son of the late Clarence A. and Sarah L. (Morris) Butler.

Mr. Butler was a traffic manager for Smurfit Stone Company before retiring at the age of 80. As a youngster, he played baseball at Central High School under renowned coach Walter “Pard” Pierce and concurrently starred for his neighborhood team the West Elmwood Raiders. Upon graduation, in 1944, he entered the United States Army and served with distinction during World War II stationed on Okinawa.  Upon his release in 1946, he resumed his ballplaying career as a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher for the city’s black semi-professional team, the invaders. Later, in 1949, he helped the first truly integrated amateur team in the city’s history, the Circle Athletic Club, win the Independent Amateur League championship. As the team’s premier pitcher, he helped lead the team to a 20-2 overall record. Butler, a versatile athlete played the outfield when not on the mound. In 1951, he joined a very select group of athletes, both black and white, to represent the state in the National Baseball Congress World Championship in Wichita Kansas. Mr. Butler remained an active and avid golfer and tennis player. On Saturday’s he would play tennis on the clay courts at Roger Williams Park with his friends. He was a member of the men’s Bowling League at East Providence Lanes with a bowling average of over 250. Mr. Butler was to be inducted into the Rhode Island Hall of Fame in September of 2020, not only for baseball but for his humanity. Unfortunately because of the pandemic, the induction was postponed until May of this year.

He leaves one daughter, Nancy A. Hardy and her husband Leonard of Rumford, one granddaughter, Adriana N. Johnston of Riverside, one grandson, Leonard H. Hardy, III of Illinois, one great-granddaughter, Raven Johnston, one brother, Victor Butler of North Providence and many nieces and nephews.  He was the brother of the late Clarence M. Butler, Alton Butler, Louise Armstrong Walker, Kenneth Butler and Catherine Lewis.

Calling hours will be held on Sunday, March 7, 2021, from 2-4 in the PERRY-MCSTAY FUNERAL HOME, 2555 Pawtucket Avenue, East Providence. His funeral services and burial will be private. The guidelines set forth by the Rhode Island Health Department will be observed. Face coverings are required and only 15 people will be allowed in the funeral home at one time.


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10 entries.
Donna & Charlie Dress from Warwick wrote on March 14, 2021 at 1:39 pm
To the entire Butler family....we send our deepest condolences. You will not know us at all but I bowled with your mom in Cranston and my husband knew your dad thru sports. We are truly sorry for you loss. I think of Gwen often and remember happy times with her.
Ron Johnson from Vero Beach Fl wrote on March 10, 2021 at 10:08 pm
RIP Charles: Charles was a pleasure to know as l and the guys at Roger Willam Park enjoy tennis and some cold beers with charles telling some great stories. Ron Johnson
Tony Lato from Kansas City wrote on March 7, 2021 at 4:15 pm
To the Entire Butler Family, May Charles Rest in Peace !!!
LAWRENCE REID from NORTH ATTLEBORO, MA wrote on March 7, 2021 at 1:14 pm
On behalf of President Patrick T. Conley and the Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame, we extend sincere condolences to the Butler family. Charlie was a gentleman of extraordinary dignity, humility and grace. May he Rest In Peace.
Betty Sousa from Bluffton SC wrote on March 7, 2021 at 10:29 am
Charlie was one of the nicest gentleman I've ever known. I spoke with him a few months ago and he was as warm and funny as always. His was a life well lived. My condolences to his family.
Laurence Sack from North Kingstown wrote on March 6, 2021 at 12:58 pm
A gentleman who touched the lives of those he came into contact with. My condolences to the Butler family.
John Gillooly from Warwick wrote on March 6, 2021 at 8:26 am
Charlie was a RI sports legend & one of the finest gentlemen I ever met. His outstanding human character & enormous athletic talent allow him to be a pioneer of early RIIL racial integration RIP my friend
Francey Nathan from Warwick wrote on March 6, 2021 at 7:19 am
Charlie was one of the nicest men i have ever known. Years ago, he worked for my Dad and uncles at Roberts Paper Company. He was always so nice to my siblings and me! Just a wonderful man!
Daniel Komanapalli from Pawtucket wrote on March 5, 2021 at 4:26 pm
Uncle Charlie, you leave a legacy of excellence, and an impact that will be felt forever. You live on through your daughter, and her family, and through all of us. You will never be forgotten. Rest in peace. Love you.
Sandra Freydberg from Arlington Heights, Il wrote on March 5, 2021 at 3:19 pm
This is a man I never met and only know of through friendship with his daughter Nancy and her husband Len. What a glowing tribute to a life well lived. It's hard to grasp the scope of his versitity. He had a wonderful life's journey and leaves behind so many wonderful memories. God Bless.