FROM READERS: Eliot Battle 'was always the perfect gentleman'

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT
English visitors are welcomed at West Junior High School on April 1, 1989, as part of an exchange program. Eliot Battle, back left, Muriel Battle, front right, and Charlotte Dean, middle front, were involved in the program.

Charlotte Dean worked with Muriel Battle at West Junior High School. (Read hers and others' tributes to Muriel here.) She sent this reflection on the life of Eliot Battle. 

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Like many, my memories of Eliot where just that he was always "Super," as he would say. His smile and optimistic outlook could brighten even the darkest of days. He was always by Muriel's side and was, as we know, her biggest supporter.

During my years teaching at West Jr. I don't think he ever missed a social event, so the entire faculty came to know him as well. The only personal story I can recall occurred on an exchange trip to England in 1989. He came with Muriel, but she had to return to the States to accept a national award for West Jr.

The group of teachers and some of their hosts went to Stratford on Avon to sightsee and attend a play at the Shakespeare theatre in the town while she was away. We were getting ready to go into the theatre and I made a comment to the effect that I had never been to a theatre without an escort. Eliot quickly responded that I was not going to start now, and he was my escort for the evening.

In pure Eliot Battle form he took my arm and we walked in together. Eliot was always the perfect gentleman, and that evening was no exception. I am not even sure if I can recall the name of the play we saw, but I recall that Eliot was an attentive escort, even making sure I had a drink at Intermission. For years afterwards we laughed about what a fun evening it was. When we told Muriel, she said something to the effect that he was best when he had someone to look after.

Like Muriel, Eliot was a family person first and foremost. After Muriel's death, the retired faculty of West Jr. made sure we invited him to our "We're Not Back to School" Breakfast, which was held on the first day of school each year. It was held in my home from 2006-2012. Eliot came on several occasions, but always with pictures of his children and grandchildren. He was so proud of all of them.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.

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