By Emma Miller
Community leaders and area politicians gathered last Friday to rename an Astoria street after former state Assemblyman Denis Butler.
The block of 30th Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets is now Assemblyman Denis J. Butler Way.
U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), state Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) and City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) were present at the renaming ceremony.
“Assemblyman Butler was a long-time champion for our community. It was wonderful to pay tribute to his service with the dedication of Assemblyman Dennis J. Butler Way in Astoria,” Crowley said on Twitter.
Butler represented the 36th Assembly District, including his hometown of Astoria, from 1976 until 2000. While he was part of the Assembly, Butler spent time as the Speaker pro tempore and chairman of the Queens County legislative delegation. He was also the Democratic District Leader from 1970 to 2000.
Simotas tweeted that she was “honored to attend the street dedication ceremony” and called Butler, who died in 2010 at 83 years old, “a man who epitomized public service and the importance of caring for those in need.”
Away from the legislature, Butler also volunteered for Lighthouse for the Blind for 20 years. An active member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, he was also the president of St. Joseph’s Home School Association and a member of its Holy Name Society Parish Council.
Butler received a Papal Knighthood to the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio in 2009. He also was bestowed the New York State Catholic Conference Public Policy Award from John Cardinal O’Connor in 1992. Bishop Francis J. Mugavero gave him the Brooklyn Diocese’s Pro Vita Award in 1988.
Butler graduated from LaSalle Academy and Cathedral College. He also attended St. Joseph’s Seminary, the State University of New York at Albany and Columbia University.