|GMA co-founder Don Butler dies|
|Written by Eric Tiansay|
|Monday, 07 February 2011 02:44 PM America/New_York|
Gospel Music Association co-founder Don Butler died Feb. 3 at his home in Brentwood, Tenn., after a lengthy illness. He was 80.
An Atlanta native, Butler spent 45 years in the music industry as an executive, a singer, producer and manager. Butler, who co-chartered the GMA in 1964, served as the association's board executive director from 1976 to 1991.
He began his singing career in the 1950s, performing with several groups, including The Marksmen, The Revelaires, The Ambassadors, The Statesmen and The Sons of Song. Butler was also voted "Mr. Gospel Singer of America" in 1958. Additionally, he produced albums, GMA awards shows and television series, and presided over the Sumar Talent Agency for five years in the 1970s.
"I have been with the GMA through its fledgling infancy, its movement into teenage years and now into its adult maturity," Butler said in 1995 after retiring from the association. "It's time for me to pass the torch to those who will build on this and its exciting future."
Butler is survived by wife Peggy; daughters Donna, Dyana and Denise; son Donald Jr.; and seven grandchildren. Visitation was held yesterday at Brentwood United Methodist Church in Brentwood.