Kenneth Nelson Butler
Kenneth Nelson Butler
  • May 23, 1939 - February 15, 2017
  • Salisbury, Maryland

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Salisbury, MD 21804
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Dr. Kenneth Nelson Butler died peacefully at his home in Salisbury, MD on February 15, 2017, at the age of 77. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Lucy, his son, Anthony, and his brother, Danny. Dr. Butler was born on May 23, 1939 in Avon Park, FL. He earned his Bachelor of Science at University of Tampa in 1962, his Master of Arts at Appalachian State University in 1963, and his Doctor of Education at University of Tennessee in 1968. A lifelong educator, he began his career as an instructor in the department of Physical Education and Recreation at University of Tampa. From 1963-72, he held various teaching positions at University of South Florida, and at University of Tennessee from 1966-68 while completing his doctoral degree. In 1974, Butler began his tenure at Salisbury University (then Salisbury State College) as Professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Education. In this position, he raised the profile of competitive sports at the university, and oversaw the completion of the Maggs Physical Activities Center. In 1984, he was appointed the first dean of the School of Professional Studies at Salisbury University. Butler excelled as an administrator and was soon promoted to Vice President of Academic Affairs, serving from 1986-1995. During this time, he advanced the academic mission of the institution. He played a key role, helping to develop high-quality academic programs, leading the hiring and promotion of faculty, and guiding the institution through critical accreditation processes. In 1995, he was appointed Interim President, where he continued to support the robust growth and development of the burgeoning suburban institution. In 1996, he returned to the faculty as a full professor in the Department of Physical Education. He retired from Salisbury University in 2003. Throughout his distinguished academic career, he presented more than 25 papers at regional, national, and international conferences. Butler also held numerous volunteer positions throughout his time in Salisbury, supporting the efforts for the Delmarva YMCA, MAC, Inc. (Area Agency on Aging), the regional Senior Games, and the Maryland Wheelchair Games, leading fundraising efforts and investing heavily in the Salisbury community. Throughout his life, he was a devoted husband and father, and an avid fisherman. During his retirement, he enjoyed frequent trips to his beach house on Little Gasparilla Island off the Gulf Coast of Florida. Over the last several years, Butler has been an active member of the board of directors of the Delmarva YMCA. A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, March 3, 2017 at 7pm at Bounds Funeral Home. The family asks you to share your favorite stories of Dr. Butler. Friends and family may visit from 6pm-7pm. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Coastal Hospice, PO Box 1733, Salisbury, MD 21802.