November 23, 1934 -
May 2, 2022
Dr. Barbara Helen Battle died at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta on Monday, May 2, 2022, after suffering from a heart attack. She was 87 years old.
Barbara was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 23, 1934. She moved to Miami, Florida, when she was 8 years old and graduated from Miami Senior High School. She attended Agnes Scott College and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Building on a developing interest in theater and dramatic arts, Barbara then earned a Master of Arts degree in Dramatic Arts from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and accepted a position as Professor of English and Director of Dramatics at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
After a successful tenure at Salem College, which included the production and direction of a significant number of acclaimed plays, Barbara departed for New York to further pursue her education. She earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Motion Pictures from Columbia University.
While pursuing her studies in New York, Barbara first attended the US Open Tennis Championship and was impressed by the ability and accomplishments of Australian Tennis great Margaret Smith Court. When Margaret won all four of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments in 1970, Barbara moved to Ms. Court's hometown of Perth, Australia, where she created and directed an award-winning documentary named "A Smashing Lady" that highlighted the public and private life of Ms. Court as a champion, woman, and wife. As a result of this experience, Barbara became an avid tennis fan and rarely missed the US Open Tennis Championships while she lived in New York.
To assure a steady income as she continued to work in the film and theater arena, Barbara took advantage of her language, writing, and editing skills as an author and editor of books and textbooks at McMillan Publishing and Harcourt, Brace, and Jovanovich. She continued her work in editing and publishing until her retirement as the Manager of Publications at AmFAR.
While Barbara became a loyal, devoted, and dyed in the wool New Yorker over the course of living there more than 50 years, she remained a true daughter of the South and never forgot or abandoned her Southern heritage. She relished memories of many summers spent visiting her grandparents' farm outside Camilla, Georgia, and especially her role as the oldest and self-appointed matriarch of all the cousins visiting there.
Barbara also cultivated a deep affinity for Great Britain, traveling often across the pond to spend extended time in England, especially with dear friends in Tollesbury, Essex, and the rural region of Northumberland.
During her time in New York, Barbara was an active and devoted parishioner at St. Thomas Church. She will always be remembered as a most eloquent Lector there and a very effective leader of the Guild of Lectors.
As Barbara began to address the challenges of cognitive impairment, it became advisable for her to move to Atlanta to be nearer her brother. She somewhat reluctantly moved in October 2019, but she gracefully embraced her return to her Atlanta roots. Her adjustment to her new circumstances was emblematic of her positive approach to everything in life as she never lost her sense of humor, sustained her interest in others, and became a beloved figure at her new home, Renaissance on Peachtree, just as she had been at Plymouth Tower, her residence for over 40 years in New York.
Barbara is survived by her brother and sister-in-law Charlie and Lola Battle. She is also survived by her niece Beth Anderson and nephew Brooks Battle, who were like her own children to her and with whom she enjoyed many fun-filled visits to New York and a special trip to her beloved England. Also surviving are Beth's husband Ed Anderson, her grandnephew Lee Anderson, and many loving cousins.
The family thanks Veronica Mundle for her loving care for and companionship to Barbara while she was still in New York and is grateful for the devoted staff at Plymouth Tower in New York and at Golden Home Services and the Renaissance on Peachtree in Atlanta.
A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 PM on Thursday, May 19, at Saint Thomas Church, 1 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019. Memorial donations can be made to Saint Thomas Church, 1 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019 (https://.saintthomaschurch.tpsdb.com/Give/one-time-donation), or to The Fund for Agnes Scott, Agnes Scott College, 141 E. College Avenue, Decatur, GA 30030 (https://give.agnesscott.edu/).