Welding The Bond Between Teacher and Student

Remembering Welding Instructor and Flour Bluff High School Alumnus Randell Buttler

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Kelli Floyd

Randell Buttler accepts the Outstanding Welding Instructor Award at the Craft Training Center.

Caleb Griffis , Staff Writer

Randell Buttler, a former welding instructor at the Craft Training Center of Coastal Bend, has taught many of Flour Bluff’s own students the art of welding. In Buttler’s classroom, students learned important traits and skills that helped them not only in the welding shop but in life in general.

“My dad loved to teach the trades as well as life skills, such as how to firmly shake a hand, make eye contact when speaking or being spoken to, and how to play Texas Hold ‘Em,” said Kelli Floyd, Buttler’s daughter.

Buttler spent his life doing what he loved, welding and teaching. At Port Aransas ISD, Buttler was a shop teacher. Over his time working with students, he built the program to something greater than himself, helping countless individuals better themselves in and out of the classroom.

He was so passionate and proud of his knowledge of his trade,” said Buttler’s wife Sylvia Buttler. “He loved to share his experiences- good and bad.”

Education runs strong in the Buttler family; Sylvia was the principal of the Flour Bluff Primary for 5 years, between 2010, and 2015, and worked in education for 22 years total. His daughter has also been teaching for 23 years and she currently is the librarian at the Flour Bluff Early Childhood Center.

Randell Buttler also worked at the Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend, where he worked with many more individuals, including Flour Bluff students.

“He’s the reason I got so deep into welding, and he made me realize that welding is what I want to do with my life,” said Matthew Torrez, a welding student.“He was a teacher, a person you could go to when you needed something, and he was kinda like a father figure, like a grandfather.”

Buttler graduated from Flour Bluff High School in 1968. He then attended Del Mar Tech for four years, which prepared him to work for 49 years in the welding industry. Buttler worked in both contract welding and as a welding superintendent. The experience Buttler gained throughout this time would be very important to his ability to help others in the future. After retiring from welding, Buttler eventually started a welding program at Port Aransas High School. Buttler was always intent on improving the lives of students, in and out of the shop.

“He set a positive tone throughout the school with his approach to teaching and learning and his communication with staff, students, and parents,” said Port Aransas ISD Superintendent, Billy Wiggins. “He loved his students and they loved him.” 

Buttler left an incredible impact, with over 40 years of experience with welding, 14 of which were spent teaching others about what brought him so much joy. Buttler’s teaching style was unique. Teaching students through stories and lessons, he truly made every class count.

“He always had a story for everything, every lesson had a story, or two, depending on what it was,” said senior Hunter Buttram. “I genuinely had an inspiration to go to welding every day. He made it interesting and fun every day and you never had the same day twice.”

Buttler is remembered for many things by many different people, but to his students, he is remembered for his stories, his work ethic, and how he inspired them to be better versions of themselves. Throughout Buttler’s life, he was known as a fantastic husband and father.

His wife and family were his pride and joy,” said Allen Law, who hired Buttler at the Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend.

Randell Buttler sadly passed away unexpectedly on September 14, 2021. Buttler is deeply missed by family, friends, and students and remembered fondly by the people who knew him well. He has left a lifelong mark and inspired many passionate individuals to chase their dreams and work hard to get where they aspire to be. After his passing, the family established the Randell Buttler Memorial Scholarship Program at the Craft Training Center to continue his legacy and allow others the opportunity to do what he did. To date, they have received almost $10,000 for his memorial scholarship.