They don’t make men like this anymore. Raeford David Butler Jr. was cut from a different cloth. He was born March 4th, 1956 to the union of the late Ray and Beatrice Butler of Asheboro NC. He was the great-grandson of Jeremiah “Jerry” Butler, a former enslaved person, who used an axe to cut down what contributed to the making of Earnhardt Road. Rae took notes from Jerry, as he proceeded to make and travel many “roads” in his life, both literally and figuratively. He often shared with family that they have to “make a road” and modeled just how to do that.
Rae received his primary education at Baldwin’s Chapel Elementary and Tri-City Christian Academy. Growing up, he attended Baldwin’s Chapel Seventh-Day Adventist Church in High Point. Rae earned his diploma from Trinity Senior High School. Having his fill of country living, he settled in High Point and raised a family with his high-school sweetheart, Margrette.
Rae started his career in the supermarket and hotel industries while completing business management courses at LaSalle University. He moved on to the boating industry fabricating yacht components for Hatteras Yachts, and kayaks for Confluence Outdoor Company and Legacy Paddle Sports. Later, he completed CDL training at Future Truckers of America, and worked as a driver and instructor for Cook Trucking until his retirement. He enjoyed cross-country trips, stating it gave him an opportunity to see how beautiful the earth really was.
He was an avid sports fan, regularly tuning in to ESPN’s First Take, and catching as many Carolina Panthers football games as he could. In his leisure time, he enjoyed bass fishing and watching westerns, particularly those with John Wayne as well as Gunsmoke. To say he was a fanatic of the mighty elements Earth, Wind and Fire, is an understatement.
Rae was built tough, country boy tough. He’d talk about his days as a child running in the woods, getting deep cuts, patching them with red mud and running more. He once broke his clavicle and never went to the doctor, just took Goody powder and kept going. Rae was a thinker, and a scholarly one at that. Sometimes he would share practical, yet profound, insight about current events on social media.
When asked earlier this year about his claim to fame, “Three children,” he said proudly, pleased with them all in distinct ways. He was a father figure to many, and his sense of responsibility and dedication was, at times, unsurpassed. He loved his family deeply, and was a devoted and dependable grandfather, AKA Pop-Pop. He purposed to be present and spend quality time with his grandkids in a manner that exceeded his account as a father.
Over the past 2 years, Rae endured hardness as a good solider and was indomitable until the end. One doctor described that he was as strong as an ox. Much like a former Panthers player battling cancer, Rae had the mindset to fight and keep pounding. Even when he couldn’t walk far, he’d keep pounding. When he started getting tired sooner, he’d keep pounding. As his appetite decreased and weight dropped, he’d keep pounding. When he couldn’t eat, talk, or walk, he’d keep pounding. During his last few days on earth, Rae spent time with his family, prayed for repentance and restoration, and was given reassurance that we would be okay until we meet again. He departed this life on August 17th, 2021 at home with beloved family at his bedside. His transition was sacred, intimate, and could not have been more beautiful.
In addition to his parents, he was preceeded in death by his step-mother, Mildred Butler, beloved mother-in-law, Cecil Parson, and sister, Lucille Michaels.
Survivors to carry on his legacy are his wife, Margrette Harris Butler, his children, Kristina Roberson (Gerald) of the home, Jeremy Butler, and Adrian Butler (Devin); grandchildren, India Johnson, JT Butler, Elijah Alston, DeAyres Butler, Gerald Roberson II, Jeremyah Butler, Avyn Butler, Myles Cox and Malcolm Cox; and great-grand child, Zy’ere Alston. Surviving relatives also include sisters: Virginia Montague, Linda Boyd (Calvin Chambers), and Rose Gainey (Jessie); brothers Lonnie Butler (Lisa), and Ricky Butler; brother-in-law Frenchie Michaels, and a large host of other nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. He will be missed deeply.
A Celebration of Life will be given on Tuesday, August 24th, at the Chapel of Johnson and Sons Funeral Home, 206 Fourth Street, High Point, North Carolina. The service will start at 11 0'clock in the morning. Burial will follow at GuilRand Memorial Park Cemetery. Public viewing at the funeral home from 1 to 7pm on Monday.
(Due to the pandemic, the family will not publicly gather for repast as under normal circumstances. The family will receive local visitors for brief, pre-arranged visits at their home in Colfax. They have several high-risk family members and want to keep everyone as safe as possible. Anyone wishing to express other acts of kindness may send cards/flowers to Johnson & Sons Funeral Home. As always, your thoughts and prayers are more than sufficient. Thank you for understanding!)
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