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Charles "Lefty" Butler

by Carey C. Giudici

Charles Thomas "Lefty" Butler was Glynn County's first Parks and Recreation Director. In the 1950s and early 1960s he almost single-handedly brought youth sports to the area, coaching several players who later had successful careers in collegiate or professional sports.

Butler himself played professional baseball in Montreal and Philadelphia before moving here during World War II to help build Liberty ships. After the war he began a third career in local recreation and sports. He organized Little League, Babe Ruth League, and football programs from informal sandlot teams that played near the Cloister Hotel, or on a field now occupied by the St. Simons Farmers Market. The programs he created now attract over 6,000 youngsters every spring.

Butler's skill in attracting corporations, groups and individual adults to his favorite cause was legendary. Sea Pak, Sea Island Company, Civinette Club, and Rotary Club were major-league supporters of Little League. St. Simons Methodist and Baptist churches, along with local American Legion members, pitched in to establish and sustain leagues for older players.

Butler died in 1964. His widow Carolyn, a long-time school teacher, lives with her daughter, Thomasina Stewart, across the street from "Butler Field." Dedicated to Lefty on opening day, 1958.

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