By Danny Schrafel
Huntington village’s Vincent Butler, Jr. was crossing West Main Street near Scudder Place at approximately 6:55 a.m. Oct. 30, as he did six mornings a week.
Butler, 75, who lived in the Huntington Village Co-Op apartments on Nathan Hale Drive, was headed to 7:15 a.m. Mass at St. Patrick’s Church, Father Steven Donnelly said.
He usually got to church five minutes before 7; on Sundays, he would go to services at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Melville, where he was deeply involved and had earned the St. Agnes Medal of Service a year earlier.
But at 6:55 a.m. Oct. 30, Butler didn’t come walking into St. Pat’s, Donnelly said.
“A woman came running into the church, screaming, ‘Oh my God, oh my God – I hit somebody,’” Donnelly said.
The priest rushed out to Main Street, where Butler Jr. had just been hit by a 2007 Honda Accord headed eastbound on West Main Street, according to Suffolk County police. Two people were tending to the gravely injured man, Donnelly said.
Butler, who was rushed to Huntington Hospital, succumbed to his injuries about 13 hours later.
“He was a wonderful, wonderful man – well-liked by everybody. We’re saddened by his passing, that’s for sure,” Donnelly said. “It was very, very tough."
Butler had lived on Nathan Hale Drive for several years, Donnelly said.
Harry Perepeluk, the business manager at St. Elizabeth’s Church, said Wednesday that Butler, a former Chase employee, was “very good with computers and numbers” and set up computer programs for the church in years past.
He last saw Butler two weeks ago during a meeting of the church’s seniors group.
“He was a true gentleman. He was an elegant man in many ways. Very quiet, and just a really very, very decent person in addition to everything else,” Perpeluk said.
Butler is survived by his son, John and his wife Christina; daughter, Christine A. Besser and her husband Glen; as well as two grandchildren; his sister, Kathleen Scott; and brother Michael V. Butler. His brother William I. Butler predeceased him.
A funeral Mass was celebrated Monday at St. Elizabeth Church, with arrangements by M.A. Connell Funeral Home.