Obituary: Rodney Preston Butler Sr.

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LEESBURG, Fla. — Rodney Preston Butler, Sr., 68, the husband of Carolyn (Wallace) Butler, died peacefully Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015 at Leesburg Regional Medical Center.

Rodney was born in Harlem, N.Y., on July 5, 1946 a son of the late Martin M. Butler and Lucille (Brown) Butler and had lived in Leesburg for the past nine years, having lived in Connecticut for over 35 years. After serving over 35 years in the Connecticut Community College system, Rodney retired from Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, Conn., where he worked as the director of financial aid and veterans affairs. While working in Connecticut, Rodney taught, coached, mentored and provided the support and guidance necessary for hundreds of students who without that have often commented, “hey would have never graduated” or “would not know where they would be.” As the director of the Computers And You program at Waterbury State Technical College, Rodney provided a space and place for at risk students of color to not only increase their academic abilities, but also to experience attendance at various cultural events such as plays in New York City.

Rodney’s amazing basketball journey ranged from Morningside Park to the famous Rucker Park in New York, which provided a solid foundation for his phenomenal career at Western New England College. Rodney was a prolific scholar-athlete at Western New England College. Rodney holds the Western New England College single-game record for points (53) and rebounds (30), and is the program’s all-time leader in field goal percentage (61.9). Rodney graduated in 1971 and was inducted into the Western New England College Downes Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000. Although Rodney was known by his teammates and opponents as a fierce competitor, he was more importantly a real gentleman.

In addition to his wife, Carolyn, Rodney is survived by two daughters, Keisha and Dawn; three sons, Rodney, Kareem and Shawn; five sisters, Gladys, Gloria, Melba, Nora, Tracey and one brother, Mohammed. He is also survived by his eight grandchildren, Deyonte, Dontavias, Tyson, Mikayla, Octavia, Eunique, Jesiah and X’avius. Rodney also leaves a host of cherished friends.

A Service to Celebrate Rodney’s Life will be held Friday, Jan. 16, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. and calling hours are Friday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. in the chapel at Mahan’s Lakeview, 15 Grilley Road, Wolcott, Conn. Burial will be Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 in George Washington Memorial Park, Paramus, N.J. Arrangements are entrusted to the Buckmiller Thurston Mengacci Funeral Home, 82 Fairview Ave., Naugatuck, Conn.

In lieu of flowers, to honor Rodney’s memory, contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 2080 Silas Deane Highway, Rocky Hill, CT 06067 or to the American Heart Association, 5 Brookside Drive, Wallingford, CT 06492.

To leave an online condolence, visit www.buckmillerthurstonmengacci.com.