James Edmond Butler, one of the most prominent voices in the local and state civil rights struggles of the last half century, died Tuesday at Via Christi Village. He was 99.
Born Sept. 13, 1913, Mr. Butler became prominent in civil rights issues following a lengthy career in the military, which included more than three decades of service, some of it during World War II. Following his departure from the military, he graduated from Kansas State University in 1974 with a degree in social sciences, and in 1979 was named by Gov. John Carlin to the Kansas Civil Rights Commission.
He rose to become chairman of the state commission in 1983, continued in that capacity until being replaced by Gov. Mike Hayden in 1987, and later was re-appointed to it.
Mr. Butler was an occasional unsuccessful candidate for public office, seeking a seat on the Manhattan city commission in 1975 and running as the Democratic candidate for register of deeds in 1984. But he was best-known for his advocacy of civil rights concerns, an involvement he maintained until well into his 90s.
Funeral services will be Monday at 1 p.m. at All Faiths Chapel on the Kansas State University campus
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