James Edmond Butler passed away Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at Via Christi Village in Manhattan, Kansas. James was born on September 13, 1913 to the late Bertie K. (Hardison) and James Butler. He was raised in the Kansas City, Kansas area for most of his childhood. James graduated from Sumner High School in 1931, the only black high school in the history of Kansas and the same year that the Star Spangled Banner became the Official National Anthem of the United States. James went to Kansas State University and graduated with a degree in Social Sciences in 1974, and in 1981 he attended Kansas University and studied law for one year. On July 7, 1948, James married Margaret L. Hickman, who precedes him in death. On August 28, 1942 James enlisted in the Army at Camp Drum, NY. He served for 32 years as an active duty soldier, serving during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. His duty stations included the United States, Europe, Africa, Burma, China, Turkey, India, the Korean Peninsula and South Vietnam. He received a Bronze Star for his actions during a Viet Cong attack, retiring from the US Army in 1974 as a Chief Warrant Office/Four. After retiring James continued his public service by seeking a position on the Manhattan City Commission in 1975. He was also a certified lay speaker for the United Methodist Church. In 1979 he was appointed by Kansas Gov. John Carlin, and reappointed by Governor s Hayden, Finny, Graves and Sebelius to serve as Human Rights Commissioner, a position that he held for 26 years until the age of 90. James was a long-time member of the First United Methodist Church in Manhattan, and later joined the Bethel AME Church also in Manhattan. James is survived by his son, Marvin V. Butler Sr. and wife Marilynn, of Alpharetta, Ga; grandson Marvin V. Butler, Jr. and wife Laura of Olathe, Ks; granddaughter Jacqui Butler of Lithonia, Ga; Sandra Tyson of Manhattan, Ks; and three great-grandchildren; Adonnis, Remi and Brody Butler. James is preceded in death by his parents, his wife Margaret, 4 sisters; Faye Dyer, Gloria Reed, Helen Loise Butler and Cossetta Butler. Funeral services will be held at the All Faiths Chapel on the Kansas State University Campus in Manhattan, on Monday, November 19, 2012 at 1:00pm, with Dr. James Boyer officiating. A visitation is scheduled Sunday, November 18, 2012 from 10:00am to 7:00pm with the family receiving friends from 5:30-7:00pm at Irvin-Parkview Funeral Home & Cremation. Memorial contributions may be made to the James Edmond Butler Scholarship at K-State, and left in the care of Irvin-Parkview Funeral Home. For more information or to send an email condolence to the family visit irvinparkview.com James Edmond Butler
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Published in Topeka Capital-Journal on Nov. 15, 2012