Dr. Milton "Sonny" ButlerAugust 10, 1947 ~ January 17, 2018 (age 70)
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;…A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3
Dr. Milton (Sonny) Butler was born August 10, 1947 in Corpus Christi, TX. to the parentage of the late Henry Butler and Maudie Mae Dupree Butler. He was the third child, and eldest son out of 9 children born to this union. Due to the nature of his father’s employment, Milton’s family moved around quite a bit in his early years. They finally settled in Dayton, TX where he completed his secondary education, graduating from Colbert H. S. in the class of 1966. At Colbert, Milton was a member of the Colbert H. S. band where he played drums. Milton had a quest for knowledge and a passion for music. As a result, he went on to obtain his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Texas Southern University (TSU) in Music Education with a minor in Vocal Performance. While at TSU, he received the Seth McCoy Scholarship for Vocal Performance. He would later obtain his Doctor of Philosophy, Music Teacher Education with Vocal performance as a minor from the University of Arizona (UA).
Milton accepted Christ at an early age and was baptized at Pleasant Hill B.C. under the pastorate of Rev. A. D. Jones. He sung in and directed choirs at numerous churches as his residency changed. Equally as passionate as his love for music was his love for children. Although he had no biological children, he was uncle/daddy “Sonny” to many. He had a special love for his nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews and great-great niece. He wanted all of them to succeed in life and anything less than their BEST was unacceptable. He served as a mentor for many of his students and was known for giving assistance to those who had financial challenges. He had numerous mentees, too many to name, however he developed a special relationship with his youngest mentee, Quincy Edwards, who was like a son.
He spent tireless hours in the classroom, having taught music in the Houston ISD and Tucson Unified SD. On the collegiate level, Milton served as Adjunct Professor of Music at UA and Associate Professor of Music during his 23 year tenure at Ohio University (OU), Athens OH. After retiring from OU in 2013, Milton relocated back to Dayton and taught a few classes at his alma mater, TSU. Milton was a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity where he held offices on the state and national level. He served as faculty advisor for Phi Beta Sigma at OU. Some of his other affiliations included the Collegiate Music Educators National Association, Student African American Brotherhood and the TSU Concert Choir. Milton was a brilliant scholar, an intelligent, yet humble man. He was very modest, caring, and giving. Unless someone told you, you never would have known that he had a PHD, based on his attitude. He could be extremely professional one moment and have you in stitches, being funny and comical in the next. He loved African art, FOOD, and has been described as a connoisseur of fine wine! His love for food was enhanced by his culinary skills. The word on the street is that “uncle Sonny could COOK!” Thoughtful, kind and genuine is who he was.
Early in the morning hours, Wednesday, January 17, 2018, without any warning, God dispatched his angels from heaven to escort Milton from labor to reward. Waiting to greet him was his parents, Henry and Maudie, his brother, Ronald (Genie) Butler, his nephew, Gabriel Butler and a host of grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. Though we were saddened by his swift departure, they celebrated his arrival!
Milton leaves to cherish his memory and continue his legacy: three sisters, Betty Dever, Euless, TX., Sharyn Elaine Dever and Venessa Dever, Dayton, TX.; four brothers, Kennith (Theresa) Butler, Dayton, TX., Alvin (Heather) Butler, Watauga, TX., Clifton (Kathy) Butler, Clearwater, MN., Efrem (Charlotte) Butler, Dayton, TX.; 15 nieces and nephews, 37 great-nieces and nephews, one great-great niece; sister-in-law, Norma Butler, Dayton, TX., two aunts, Emma Walker, Cedar Hill, TX. and Virgie Calhoun, Coushatta, LA.; special friends, Sylvester (Marie) Young, Tallahassee, FL., Cynthia Russ, Trotwood, OH., Quincy Edwards, Chicago, IL.; and a host of cousins, fraternity brothers, neighbors and friends.