This is a long overdue thank you note to Columbia, Mo., for the way you celebrated the life of Dr. Eliot F. Battle Sr. Your kindness during this time was immeasurable.
First, to The Holiday Inn Executive Center: Ed Baker and his staff (especially Shelby Roberts) made a wonderful impression to all the out-of-town family and guests.
To Reverend Amy L. Gearhart, senior pastor, and her staff and volunteers at Missouri United Methodist Church: Not many people have had to deal with the four Battle siblings at the same time. With patience and grace, they handled everything with such love, kindness, and professionalism. I am eternally grateful.
To the Columbia Public Schools and Dr. Kim Presko, principal of Dr. Muriel Williams Battle High School: To open your doors to the family at Battle High following the service continued to show the generosity of a district that both of my parents loved and gave their professional lives to. Dr. Presko, you will remain a top Battle to me! And to all the retired administrators and faculty whom Dad and Mom worked with. You made their lives complete and have continued to "teach" me why being a product of the Columbia Public Schools is something to be so proud of.
To the staff at the University Hospital and the physicians: Thank you for the excellent care. You always treated my father not as a patient, but as a friend.
To the employees at Hy-Vee and Dad's Breakfast Buddies: You were each the highlight of Dad's day. I am not sure what all the morning discussions were; however, I do believe you could run the city of Columbia from your long table.
To dear friends: There are no words to thank you for the generosity you showed during the weekend. Also to Judi Schoonover and her friends and Dr. Julie Middleton and the Alumni Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority who were so important to my mom: The meals you provided to the family were terrific.
To the restaurant Room 38, who supplied the family with Gooey Butter Cake: No one had tasted the likes of this fabulous dessert, and it is one of the reasons that they remain my favorite Columbia restaurant!
To the newspapers, magazines, and media: You so eloquently chronicled the life of this man. I have every article and continue to find such solace in re-reading these stories.
To the neighbors who have shown me why Mom and Dad loved their neighborhood so: From dog sitting to shoulders to lay our heads on to little Josh who continues to show how fabulous the next generation will be — thank you for all your love and support.
To the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the Minority Men's Network, all of the organizations that Dad was a member, and to his loving friends, including Charles and Carolyn Allen, Handy and Barbara Williamson, Mike and Julie Middleton, Mike and Juanamaria Cook, and Reggie Bentley, who meant so much to my father and who were always there for him at a moment's notice.
Without Eliot Battle's warm eyes and genuine smile to brighten each of our days, we each must continue to work harder to make this city the one he chose to touch, raise a family in, and proudly talk about. There may never be another like him, but we can all strive to be "SUPER"!
Muriel Jeanne Battle Browder, on behalf of the Battle Family.