Administrator Calvin O. Butts’ Death Left Many in Mourn
How unfortunate that the senior pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, which historically was the largest black church in New York City is no longer with us. Calvin O. Butts’ death due to cancer was informed on October 29, 2022.
The deceased used to lead the Abyssinian Development Corporation, which focuses on Harlem, besides being the president of the State University of New York College at Old Westbury.
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Born on July 19, 1949, Calvin Otis Butts III was well-known as an American academic administrator.
His father, Calvin Otis Butts II, served as a cook and butcher; his mother, Eloise (Edwards), was employed as a supervisor for the New York City welfare department.
He attended public schools soon after the family moved to Queens. He spent summers in rural Georgia alongside his grandmothers.
Butts graduated from Flushing High School in 1967, not to mention that he was elected president of his senior class.
Later on, he joined the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity as he was awarded a partial scholarship to study at Morehouse College.
There, he achieved a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy. He earned from Union Theological Seminary a Master of Divinity in church history after returning to New York.
He also received a Doctor of Ministry in church and public policy from Drew University, for those who may not know.
As a youth minister, Butts joined the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem in 1972, traditionally New York City’s largest and preeminent black church.
Butts offered an early endorsement of the Harlem Week of Prayer during the late 1980s, B, organized by Pernessa C. Seele.
Noted, the purpose was to help mobilize the religious community to support programs for AIDS patients and their families.
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Calvin O. Butts’ Death Due to Pancreatic Cancer?
According to the statement, Calvin O. Butts’ death occurred on Friday at home in New York City. He was 73. His son Calvin O. Butts IV, confirmed that the cause of death was pancreatic cancer.
Butts was married to Patricia Reed Butts, who founded the health ministry at her husband’s church, until his death. They are blessed with three children and six grandchildren.
Governor George Pataki appointed Butts in 1995 to two of New York state’s economic development boards, the Empire State Development Corporation and the New York State Science and Technology Foundation, which both controlled loans and grants to businesses.
Butts was senior pastor at Harlem’s legendary Abyssinian Baptist Church for more than 30 years, a more than 200-year-old institution founded in 1808, which itself was a center of Harlem’s spiritual and political life.
The deceased inherited the pulpit from a long line of charismatic ministers, including Adam Clayton Powell Sr., his son Adam Jr., as well as Samuel Proctor. In 1993, the church was declared a New York City landmark.
To hear Butts expound on social justice, economic parity, and the need for neighbors to “love one another,” congregants crowded into the ornate Gothic church on 138th Street.
Butts was the president of the State University of New York at Old Westbury from 1999 to 2020. In turn, Butts received honorary degrees from a number of colleges, including:
- The City College of New York,
- Claflin College,
- Dillard University,
- Hartwick College,
- Muhlenberg College,
- Trinity College,
- Fordham University,
- Tuskegee University
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