"Look at all the people pouring in — it's all races, creeds and colors," she said. "He touched everybody."
State Rep. Louise Williams Bishop, who worked with Butter at WDAS, was the only person other than clergy to address mourners. She recalled Butter's love of classic cars, classic records, good food and, most importantly, good people.
"He rose above the obvious. ... He rose above appearances," Bishop said. "He said, ‘Talent has no color. Talent is colorblind.' That message led us to a higher ground."
Following the service, Bishop recalled how Butter, who began in sales with WDAS in 1964, had an unrelenting desire to become a disc jockey. She said that he asked her to talk with her husband, Jimmy Bishop, the station's manager at the time, about giving him his own show. She did so — three times — but each time her husband said no. When she asked him why, he told her that it was because Butter was white.
"I said to him, ‘Bishop, nobody knows he's white. It's not television; it's radio,' " she said. "He got his own show a couple days later.
“People didn't look at his skin; they looked at what came out of him. Butter made you want to know him. He made you want to listen to him."
Sid Booker was the general manager of the Uptown Theater in 1967, when Butter appeared there onstage for the first time.
"Everybody wanted to know ‘How are you going to have a white guy onstage doing shows?'?" said Booker, 73. "I said, ‘You just do it.' "
After the service, Mark G., 48, of University City, sold posters of his hand-drawn portrait of Butter for $5 across the street from the Basilica.
"I danced to his music; I deejayed to his music. It's just a shame I only created something for him after he left," he said. "But I wanted to keep his memory alive. He's Philadelphia family."
Judybell Sullivan wore a cotton dress shirt covered in pictures of Butter. Sullivan, 53, said that she was one of a group of Butter fans the disc jockey had lovingly called "ro-dogs," which was "short for roll dogs, because we are always on the roll.
“Anywhere he go, I be right there because I got that much love for him," she said. "His voice was like a magnet." n
Reach Stephanie Farr at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-854-4225. Follow her on Twitter @FarFarrAway and read her blog PhillyConfidential.com.