“Miss Betty” Bateman leaves lasting legacy

Published 3:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2017

No one knows for sure how many “Miss Betty’s kids” there are in Troy. But, one thing for sure, they all have tears in their eyes today.

The death of Betty Bateman on Thursday touched and saddened the hearts of many and none more so than Missy Minor, who followed “Miss Betty” as the director of Mother’s Day Out at First Baptist Church in Troy.

When Minor moved back to Troy 17 years ago, Bateman had a place for her at Mother’s Day Out.  Minor knew, without a doubt, that there was no better teacher for her, no better mentor than Bateman.

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“Miss Betty loved children,” Minor said. “It didn’t matter who they were or where they came from. It didn’t matter if they were tiny babies or older kids, she loved them all. She was so kind and nurturing. And, no matter what was going on around her, when she was working with a child, that child had her total attention. Every child was just that special.”

Minor said it was an honor to work with Betty Bateman.

“She was as much a teacher for me as she was for the kids,” Minor said. “Everything that I know about working with children I learned from Miss Betty. It was my greatest joy to learn from her.

“Miss Betty was a nurturer. No matter how bad a child had been, she loved him or her through it. That was what was so special about Miss Betty, she loved her children every day and in every way.”

Debbie Chance worked with Bateman from 1996 until she retired three years ago. She said when Bateman’s name was spoken, it was always with respect, admiration, love and a smile.

“People don’t come any better than Betty,” Chance said. “The parents loved Betty just as much as the children and they never worried about their children. They knew they were in loving hands with Miss Betty at the helm.”

Chance said Bateman had a quiet, sweet and loving nature – “all the time.”

“She was very generous and would often help single moms when times were difficult,” she said. “Betty grew the Mother’s Day Out program at FBC from two or three days a week to an early childhood program.

“Elementary teachers loved to get children that had been Betty’s program because they already knew how to read. Betty was not a baby sitter. She was a true educator. And she wanted the children to know about their community and every year she had community helpers’ day and brought in fire fighters, police officers, farmers and drivers of 18-wheelers. She wanted the children to know and understand about those who serve the community. She wanted them to learn to be community servants as well.”

Chance said Bateman had a knack for making the children and their parents feel special.

“She loved putting the spotlight on her children, Never on herself, always on her children,” she said. “Betty Bateman was a dedicated educator and a servant of the Lord.”

The Rev. Luke Lane, FBC pastor, said Bateman served First Baptist for 29 years, 24 of those as the director of Mother’s Day Out.

“Betty Bateman had a servant’s heart,” Lane said. “She loved the kids and she love Jesus. She wanted the kids and their parents to love the Lord and she gave her life to that. There is no telling the impact that Betty had on families as well as on children. She lived her life in service to others and in service to the Lord.”

And service is Bateman’s legacy. Her legacy will live on in the minds and hearts of those she served with such loving kindness.

Visitation for Betty Bateman will be from 4 until 7 p.m. Monday at Green Hills Funeral Home. Funeral services will be at 2 a.m. Tuesday at FBC. Graveside services will be Wednesday in Bristol, Florida.