John Jeffery Batiste, Sr.
January 20, 1913 — June 27, 2012
Today—at age 99—Dad died. He left me with his love, spirit, thoughts and memories. Dad spoke about the poor and the destitute people-about how he wanted to help them. I never considered him poor. Still, he understood “poor.” Dad owned three businesses simultaneously. Maybe≥÷, he had even more than three. Among some of the jobs he did was Contracting, Chauffeur, Cook, Owner of a Grocery and Hardware Store. He was a devout father of 7 boys. Dad took his boys on the job site and hired them as helpers. While juggling his trade, he cared for Mom. Mom never wanted for anything. Dad was always there to take her places to care for the children-schools, churches, outings, emergencies and shopping. Even so, Dad apologizes for not being able to do more.
Growing up—every Christmas—Dad hid the presents until the gift filled day arrived. There was always plenty of food for seven growing boys. Most of all, he was patient and wise. If there was a problem that needed to be solved, Dad had an answer-right up to his graceful passing. His background of knowing how to build houses lends itself to knowledge about roofing, electrical, electronics, plumbing, sewage tanks, automobiles and more.÷
After a long and healthy life, Dad wanted to live longer. His short term goal was to live to be 100. He missed it by 7 months.
Dad’s musical talents would surprise most. He played with a happy and musical left hand on the piano. While gliding over the keys with the right hand and singing at the same time. “When You’re Smiling” was his favorite song to play and sing. The word “Multitask” was meant to fit his description. However, it didn’t daunt him. He met every major challenge with wit, efficiency and fore thought. Why he never wanted to be out front is no mystery to me. His work spoke for itself. Whether it was building the local neighborhood church or a carport in the affluent communities, he was always humble. His customers would tell you how honest and forth right he was to give them credit for groceries and hardware goods regardless to there ability to pay. The entire community looked up to him with dignity and respect. His children, grandchildren and great grandchildren love him and will always honor him. I want his extended family of children and parents at Batiste Cultural Arts Academy to know, my Dad wants the best for you. He spoke to me about you on several occasions. You left him with a feeling of duty and contribution.
The institution, family, legacy and heart left behind by Dad will stand the test of time. Many will always love you Dad. We will miss you.
—Paul A. Batiste—
TRIBUTE TO MY PARENTS