American Veteran 04

Leonard Clator Butler, Sr.

October 16, 1930 ~ August 30, 2020 (age 89) 89 Years Old



Leonard Clator Butler, Sr. (October 16, 1930-August 30, 2020)

Mr. Leonard Clator Butler, Sr. passed away of natural causes on Sunday, August 30 in Burlington, NC, surrounded by his wife and children.  He was born on October 16, 1930 in Lumberton, NC  to the late Charlie Clator and Polly May James Butler, deceased, of Greenville, SC. He was a devoted husband to Ann Stewart Butler for 53 years, as well as a loving father and grandfather.

Leonard graduated from Newton-Conover High School in Newton, NC in 1949 where he played Center on the football team, was manager of the basketball team, was president of his junior class, was business manager for the senior yearbook, attended Boys' State, and was awarded the American Legion's coveted Citizenship Cup. He attended Clemson Military College, now Clemson University, and graduated with honors and a Bachelor of Science in Textile Manufacturing in 1953. After college, Leonard served in the US Army as a Company Commander and was stationed in Paris, France and Fort Lee, VA.  He received the National Defense Service Medal.

Leonard had a long career in textile management. He worked for Burlington Industries for 35 years in successively larger roles from plant management to corporate development, ultimately developing and managing their international corporate training programs.  Upon his retirement from BI, he worked as an independent management consultant with customers nationwide until the age of 79.

Leonard participated in numerous civic programs.  He was a faithful member of Front Street United Methodist Church in Burlington, NC for 45 years, served on many committees and boards of the church, served as chairperson for the Council on Ministries for 12 years, and was a Sunday School Teacher until 2017. He was a Distinguished Toastmaster who competed nationally and served as Governor of District 37 from 1969-1970.  He won first place in the International Toastmasters Public Speaking award competition, and was a guest speaker at many public events and ceremonies. He was a supporter of the arts, and is a past member of the Elon Society at Elon University. He was a member of the American Legion up until his death and worked actively during retirement with the local Flags for First Graders program, being named Legionnaire of the Year for the Walter B. Ellis Post 63 in 2007.

Leonard supported Clemson University and its academic and athletic programs for decades.  He was a lifelong member of IPTAY, and he served on the athletic board in the 1970s and 1980s.  He held numerous leadership positions with the Clemson Alumni Association National Council, including two years as Vice-President from 1980-1981 and two-and-a-half as President from 1982-1984, taking the top office the day Clemson won its first National Championship in football.  He was instrumental in establishing the Clemson Loyalty Fund and the Committee to Perpetuate the Memory of the Clemson Senior Platoon, where he and several dozen fellow graduates returned annually in the late 1990s and early 2000s to march their old drills in Death Valley during halftime on Military Appreciation Day.  He received the Distinguished Service Award from Clemson University in 1988 and was Alumni Volunteer of the Year in 2003.

In addition to his wife, he is also survived by his daughter, Polly Butler Cornelius (Perry) of Greensboro NC, son, Leonard Clator Butler, Jr. (Ellen) of Woodbridge, Virginia, and four grandchildren, Noelle Ann Cornelius, Nancy Stewart Cornelius, Alexander William Butler, and Andrew Clator Butler.

A private Service of Celebration will be held at Front Street United Methodist Church on Friday, September 4 at 11:00 a.m.  The service will be recorded and made available as soon as possible on FSUMC’s web site for all friends and neighbors to view.  Inurnment with full military honors will be held immediately following at noon at Alamance Memorial Park.

The family would like to profoundly thank the amazing caregivers and nursing staff at The Village at Brookwood. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Front Street United Methodist Church, PO Box 2597, Burlington, NC, 27216 or the Clemson University Foundation Scholarship Fund, PO Box 1889 Clemson, SC 29633-1889.

To the extended family and friends of Leonard C. Butler, Sr., the immediate family wishes to thank you all for your kind support over these past two weeks and invites you to view his Celebration of Life online at .  The current pandemic limited the ability to have an open funeral that so many wished to attend.  We encourage all of our friends to take a worshipful hour in celebration of his life, appreciating a lot of beautiful sacred music, scriptures read by his grandchildren, and a moving eulogy from The Rev. Ross Carter of Front Street UMC in Burlington NC.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Leonard Clator Butler, Sr., please visit our floral store.


September 4, 2020

11:00 AM
Front Street United Methodist Church
136 Fisher Street
Burlington, NC 27215

Military Honors
September 4, 2020

12:00 PM
Alamance Memorial Park


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