Saturday

Obituary : Anita Butler , Friends, family gather to remember pastor’s wife

The motorcycles could be heard before they were seen.

Before the funeral procession for Anita Butler had ended, the motorcycles and cars lined the roads inside the Forest Lawn Cemetery on U.S. 29 North, forming a circle of steel and chrome around where hundreds of people gathered to hear two ministers preach at her grave side service.

People came in their black leather vests, their skirts and their neckties to honor the woman who was a mother, a grandmother, a wife and a Sunday school teacher.

"She had a calling on her life," said the Rev. Vernon Bagwell, who is an assistant pastor of the Labor of the Fields ministry that Anita and her husband, Tyus, founded. "She spent her life helping people with hurts, habits and hang-ups."

To that, the crowd gathered around her casket echoed, "Amen."

Anita Butler was 44 years old. She died May 7 when the motorcycle that she and her husband were riding ran off the right side of the road and struck a guardrail on S.C. 418 in Greenville County. The two were participating in a "Look Twice, Save A Life" motorcycle-safety event when the crash occurred.

The crash killed Anita and has left her husband in critical condition at Greenville Memorial Hospital. Bagwell said Saturday that Tyus is still in the hospital's neuro-intensive care unit.

"We are claiming in the name of Jesus that he's coming back," Bagwell said. "We are asking for everyone to pray for him."

On Wednesday, the two were set to renew their wedding vows at Gethsemane Baptist Temple on S.C. 81 South in Starr in honor of their 20th wedding anniversary, said the temple's pastor, the Rev. Sam Duncan. He said the Butlers were members at Gethsemane Baptist Temple for years until they started the Labor of the Fields ministry.

"With them, you never had to beg them to come," Duncan said. "They were at church on Sunday morning, Sunday evening and every Wednesday."

About 10 years ago, the Butlers started the Labor of the Fields ministry. After several moves into temporary locations, the Butlers were able to move the ministry into a church on Airline Road in Anderson. And in August 2015, they opened another location in downtown Iva, in the town where Tyus grew up.

Bagwell said both ministries are still operating, each one open nearly every day of the week for either a worship service, an addiction recovery meeting, or simply to serve a meal to those who are hungry. The volunteers at the ministry serve up about 3,500 plates of food each month to those in need, Bagwell said.

Bagwell said he was one of those to whom the Butlers reached with Christ's message.

"Tyus and I grew up together," Bagwell said. "He came around, visiting me, telling me about Jesus for about 10 years before I finally listened. God used Tyus to help me. He's helped a lot of people."

Bagwell and Duncan said the couple was devoted to their work with others. Tyus was self-employed through a grass cutting business he owned.

Now, their two youngest children — 15-year-old David and 13-year-old Addison — are staying with family. And the members at Gethsemane Baptist Temple are hosting a fundraiser for the children on June 4, Duncan said.

"I believe Anita has traded Brown Road for Hallelujah Square," Duncan said to the crowd. "And I know when I get to heaven, she is going to be the first one aggravating me. But in the meantime, if I know Anita, she would want you to pick up your lives and honor God."

Source : http://www.independentmail.com/news/local/friends-family-gather-to-remember-pastors-wife-32d097bc-cbe2-1639-e053-0100007fdcf5-379541871.html

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