Benton A. Butler Jr., 58, an educator in the Philadelphia public schools and a U.S. Postal Service supervisor, died Saturday, Dec. 3, of hypertensive cardiovascular disease at home.
Mr. Butler held two full-time jobs for a quarter-century before retiring from one in 2014. He was still working at the other at the time of his death.
"He worked as a teacher in the daytime, and would go to the post office in the evening," said his wife, Tanya Glenn-Butler. "He comes from a family with a strong work ethic. His father worked two jobs."
Mr. Butler was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 13, and although he wore an insulin pump and took other measures, the disease plagued him with fluctuations in blood sugar.
He lapsed into a diabetic coma on four occasions, and in three of them was placed on life support before recovering, his wife said.
"He fought a valiant battle with diabetes. He was an inspiration. He never stopped until the good Lord told him it's time to rest," she said.
As a young man, Mr. Butler took the test for the Philadelphia Fire Department and the Postal Service. He passed both, but chose the Postal Service, where he served for 33 years.
During the tenure of Superintendent Constance Clayton in the 1980s and early 1990s, the School District appealed to African American men to become teachers and mentors. Mr. Butler was among those who answered the call.
He served as a teacher, school coordinator, reading specialist, and interim assistant principal for 25 years, ending in 2014.
"As a teacher, he dressed as a gentleman. He never went to work without a coat and tie," his wife said. "He commanded respect because of his very presence. He was trying to be a role model for the young men."
Born in Philadelphia to Benton Albert Butler Sr. and Jeanette Crawford Butler, Mr. Butler was a lively, talkative student.
He graduated from Central High School, where he played football.
In 1979, he graduated with a business degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he was an All-American football and basketball player. In 1999, he earned a master's degree in education from Cheyney University, and he attended Cabrini College to obtain certification as a reading specialist in 2005.
During his undergraduate years, Mr. Butler served in the Navy ROTC program.
In June 2002, Mr. Butler married longtime friend Tanya Glenn. The couple made their home in West Mount Airy.
A busy volunteer, he was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, and a past master of Holmesburg Masonic Lodge No. 137, a member of the Shriners, and a 32nd degree Mason.
He joined Grace Baptist Church of Germantown as a youth, and later became a member of the usher board, basketball coach, van driver, and men's choir member.
Mr. Butler was to have sung in the church's Dec. 4 Christmas concert.
Instead, "the men's choir came to our home for prayer," his wife said.
Besides his wife, he is survived by daughter Bené Jeanette and stepdaughter Ashley Coleman; sons André Howe and Jared; two grandchildren; two sisters; two nephews; and a niece.
A viewing from 8 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, will be followed by a Funeral Service at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown, 25 W. Johnson St. Interment is in Hillside Cemetery, Roslyn.