Colonel (Ret.) John Herbert Batts



Rocky Mount, NC

Colonel (Retired) John Herbert Batts was born on October 3, 1933 in Edgecombe County, Rocky Mount, NC to the late George Batts and Annie Lloyd Batts. Although he was the only child of this union, John embraced and cherished several cousins he was raised with as his sisters and brothers.

During John’s senior year (1955) at North Carolina A&T State University, he was swept off his feet by a beautiful freshman named Gracie Althea Martin who he proclaimed as "The Girl I Love". During that year he pledged his love with a proposal of marriage and a commitment to wait until Gracie graduated from N.C. A&T. True to their commitment and love, John and Gracie married on August 8, 1959 at St. Paul High Street Baptist Church in Martinsville, Virginia. John and Gracie journeyed through an exciting and rewarding life together until Gracie was called home by the Lord on their 57th wedding anniversary August 8, 2016.

John reached many milestones and achieved many honors throughout his life. John graduated in 1951 from Phillips High School. John earned a B.S. degree from North Carolina A&T State University, June 1955 and a M.A. degree from Shippensberg State College, July 1975. He was commissioned in the U.S. Army in June 1955 at N.C. A&T and served for 26 years, 6 months and 23 days from September 8, 1955 through March 31, 1983 earning the rank of Army Colonel (06). John’s decorated Army career included:

• Graduations: U.S. Army War College & U.S. Army Command and General Staff College
• Military Decorations: Armed Forces Reserve Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Legion of Merit (20LC), Meritorious Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation w/Palm, Overseas Service Ribbons (2), Army Service Ribbon.

• Domestic Tours of Duty: Massachusetts, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Pentagon-Wash., D.C, New Jersey

• International Tours of Duty: Korea, Vietnam, Italy (favorite assignment)

John loved God, Gracie, life, family, friends, neighbors, everyone he met, his church and tennis. After hanging up his military uniform, he routinely wore his signature white tennis "uniform" year around. Into his seventies he rarely missed a day playing tennis. If he couldn’t find a partner to play with, he practiced tirelessly with the tennis backboard.

While John cherished all of the opportunities he was given to travel the world, he always longed to return to his roots in Rocky Mount, NC. While living in Maryland, he started planning his return in the early 80’s by acquiring the original Batts Family home on Planters Street in Edgecombe County where his mother resided until her journey home to Heaven. John and Gracie later made Rocky Mount, Nash County, NC their retirement home.

John Herbert Batts was always concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with his own. He exemplified the definition of "selfless" and enjoyed extending his generosity and graciousness to his beloved church (Metropolitan Baptist - Rocky Mount) as well as countless family members and friends. John served tirelessly as a dedicated deacon in his church and mentored many in their Christian journey.

As the United States of America commemorated the early morning September 11, 2001 attacks that challenged our freedom and tested our resolve, early in the morning the Lord called home one of his bravest and most faithful soldiers of freedom and Christ on September 11, 2018: Colonel (Retired) John Herbert Batts.

John Herbert Batts is now joyfully reunited in Heaven with his wife Gracie, his mother Annie, his father George and many departed family members and friends he loved dearly.

John Herbert Batts left many loved ones to cherish a lifetime of happy memories: Goddaughters: Sabrina Saunders-Hodge (Cooksville, MD), Ramona McCollum Tyndall (Fayetteville, NC); Godson: Jeffrey Minto (Mauldin, SC); God-grandsons: Aaron Hodge (Napa, CA), Jaydon Hodge (Cooksville, MD), Jeffrey Minto II, Jeremiah Minto (Mauldin, SC); God-granddaughter: Moe’t Taylor (Mauldin, SC); Cousins: Evelyn Riddick, Jean Winstead, Maggie Lloyd Gilliam, George "Wynn" Lloyd, Vanessa & Roy Watson (Rocky Mount, NC); Angela Curepon (Charlotte, NC); Rosa Moore, Mary Lloyd, Christine Braswell (Capitol Heights, MD); Denise Rogers-Murray, Cassandra Thomas, Deborah Aver (Raleigh, NC); Gregory "Mickie" Jones (Fayetteville, NC) Bernard Jones (Winston Salem, NC); Roberta Jones-Johnson (NY); Nieces: Susann Caputo, Laleisha Love (Denver, CO), Michele Young, Richetta Moore (Greensboro, NC), Cheryl Reavis (Durhan, NC); Nephews: Paul Belcher Jr. (West End, NC), Darwin Belcher (Martinsville, VA), Richard "Earl" Moore (Milwaukee, WI), William "Billy" Martin (Germantown, MD); Best Friend: Valjean Wells (Rocky Mount, NC) and a host of other relatives

A Visitation for Retired Colonel John Herbert Batts will be held from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Friday, September 21, 2018, at the Rocky Mount location of H.D. Pope Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be held at 2:00 pm, on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at Metropolitan Baptist Church, 1213 Leggett Road in Rocky Mount, NC. The Interment will take place following the Service in Rocky Mount Memorial Park in Rocky Mount, NC.

These professional services have been entrusted to H.D. Pope Funeral Home, located at 325 Nash Street in Rocky Mount, N.C.

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