Weston Basil Butler was born on October 23, 1927, in Richmond, Virginia, to the late Weston and Mattie Jenkins Butler. He was reared in Raleigh, North Carolina and educated in the Wake County Public School System. Like many African American youth in Raleigh, Weston completed his elementary and secondary education at his beloved Washington High School. He was an active Boy Scout and eventually achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.

After high school, he was drafted into the United States Army, where he served for thirty-one years with the 82nd Airborne Division. During his military tenure, he worked as a Cannon Missile Senior Sergeant and Field Artillery Senior Sergeant. His commitment and duty to country, took him throughout the southern region of the United States and as far away as Korea and Germany. He fought valiantly, twice-over, in the Vietnam War. His promise to defend the United States, was recognized by the many medals and accolades that he received from the Army, including: a National Defense Service Medal (1 Oak Leaf Cluster); Parachute Badge; Drill Instructor Identification Badge; Vietnam Service Medal; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal; Bronze Star Medal (1 Oak Leaf Cluster); Meritorious Unit Commendation; Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm; Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Unit Citation; Expert Rifle M-16 Commendation; Good Conduct Medal (8 awards); Meritorious Service Medal; and, Army Commendation Medal (1 Oak Leaf Cluster).

Upon his retirement from the Army, on April 30, 1981, Weston was able to further his education and love for art, when he enrolled at and graduated from Hardbarger Junior College with a degree in Applied Science in Fashion Merchandising. He also completed additional coursework at the New York Fashion Institute of Technology.

Having met the love of his life at Washington High School, on April 1, 1951, he married Hattie E. Wright; and, almost a year later, they welcomed their only daughter, Dante L. Haywood. And, with the birth of his three grandchildren, he became affectionately known as “Pookie.”

Faith was vitally important to Weston, and Saint Paul AME Church nurtured him, spiritually, for over eighty years. Not only was he a member of the Lay Organization and Steward Board (and achieved Steward Emeritus status in 2014), but he taught Sunday School and served as an Usher. He lent his voice to the Male Choir, Mass Choir and Original Toole Choir; and, is credited with starting Saint Paul’s famed Bell Choir. The youth of the church also benefited from Weston’s talents. He was the Commissioner for the Christian Debutantes and Masters’ Program, teaching young men and women proper etiquette and grooming, as well as personal and professional skills. When not ministering and providing communion to the sick-and-shut in, Weston was assisting the Women’s Ministry and serving as a Church Wedding Coordinator. He always performed the latter task with military flair and precision! Generations to come will continue to experience his artistic talents. The mural that hangs in the sanctuary, above the pulpit, is Mr. Butler’s splendid artwork.

Weston possessed a servant’s heart and was always willing to share his God-given talents with others. Whether or not he was helping his grandchildren with school projects, or painting and designing art pieces for civic and social organizations, he left his artistic imprint and impact on places and spaces throughout Raleigh. His commitment, as a champion of community service, was equally important. Weston often found the time to volunteer with the local Board of Elections (at Fuller Elementary School) and serve as a Board Member for the Garner Road YMCA. Likewise, he remained involved in
the military via his life memberships in the Thomas Walker V.F.W. Post 10999, Woodrow Wilson D.A.V. Chapter #1 and American Legion Post #1—all in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Perhaps where he will leave an indelible mark, will be his membership in and affiliation with the AEAONMS. Weston was duly initiated into the Al-Faruk Temple No. 145 in Columbus, Georgia. He later joined Kabala Temple No. 177, where he was the Potentate in 1987; and, then appointed the Deputy of the Oasis for over thirty years. He was also a part of the Drill Team and served as the Parade Coordinator for various Gala Days. In the same manner, he was a member of the Widow’s Son Lodge #4; Boyer Consistory #219; and, a 33rd Degree Mason.

Weston was preceded in death by his father and mother, sister, Mona Butler, niece, Brenda Hamlett and nephew, Lemuel Butler. Those who will cherish Pookie’s life and legacy, and forever remember him are: his wife of sixty-seven years, Hattie; daughter, Dante; grandchildren Davida L. Haywood, PhD, DaVon H. Grant (Thomas) and D’Weston L. Haywood, PhD (Temple); great-grandchildren, Kenneth A.C. Culbreth, Jr., Kole A.C. Culbreth and Emersyn L. Grant; brother, Marshall Butler; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and family friends.

Funeral service at 12:00 noon Monday, November 19, 2018 at St. Paul AME Church, 402 W. Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC preceded by an 11:30 AM visitation. Burial with full military honors will take place Carolina Biblical Gardens following the service.