TUSKEGEE, Ala. (August 13, 2013) — Gwendolyn Woods Butler, an alumna and descendent of Lewis Adams, who secured the first $2,000 to recruit Booker T. Washington to Tuskegee for the purpose of establishing a normal school for Black Americans in Tuskegee, which later evolved to become Tuskegee Institute and now, Tuskegee University, died Aug. 10. Butler, Class of 1938, was Lewis Adam’s great granddaughter.
Butler was also a university eminent associate and the longest-surviving relative of Adams. In April, she celebrated her 75th Class Reunion during Founder’s Day weekend.
“She has been a source of solace and inspiration. Her legacy and that of her family shall remain with us in perpetuity,” said Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon.
According to a story written by The Tuskegee News in 2009, Woods was born January 30, 1918 in Tuskegee, 13 years after Adams’ death. Her father, Matthew Woods, was also a Tuskegee grad who later became an agriculture professor as well as Booker T. Washington’s personal driver. In the article she also recounted having dinners with George Washington Carver.
“Because Dr. Carver wasn’t married, he would often have dinner with families of faculty members,” Butler commented in the story. “He would eat Thanksgiving dinner at our home and would always bring flowers when he visited.”
According to the story, Woods retired in 1980 after 37 years as a teacher, mainly in Macon County schools.
“I’m proud of what Lewis Adams means to Tuskegee and Tuskegee University. Because of my background, there was never any doubt that I would be a teacher. I think he would have liked that,” Butler said in the story.
Friday from 2-6 p.m. CST, Butler will lie in repose at Peoples Funeral Home in Tuskegee. The funeral service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. CST at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Tuskegee.