Benjamin Jefferson Bateman Jr. passed away on Saturday, August 5, 2023, at the age of 80. Funeral services will be at 2:00pm on Monday, August 14, 2023, at Green Hills Funeral Home in Troy, Alabama, with Dr. Mallone Chandler officiating. Visitation one hour prior to the service. A graveside service will be on Tuesday, August 15, 2023, at 11:00am EST at Lake Mystic Cemetery in Bristol, Florida. Family will meet friends there. Honorary pallbearers are his Sunday school class and Torah Club.
BJ or Jay was born in Panama City, Florida, on March 10, 1943, to Benjamin Jefferson Bateman Sr. and Louise C. Bateman. As a child, he lived throughout Alabama and Florida due to his father working with International Paper, then they settled in Blountstown, Florida, where he graduated high school. He attended Chipola Junior College, then Florida State University, where he met Betty Louise Bateman. They married on September 3, 1967. They moved to College Station, Texas, and he earned a Ph.D. in Physics from Texas A&M University focusing on cosmic radiation. Then, they moved to Troy in the early 1970’s to teach.
He was a professor at Troy University where he taught for 45 years before recently retiring. While he taught, he was also the Director of the State Junior Academy of Science, which is a U.S. Army program that gave out scholarships to high school science students who were pursuing a degree in science. He was a member of First Baptist Church since 1970 where he served as a deacon and Sunday school teacher. He also attended Bush Baptist Church and was involved in the Torah Club.
He was an Eagle Scout and a house parent at the Baptist Children’s home. As a physicist, he participated in the NASA Jove project doing research at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, with the space plasma group. He worked at Argonne National Lab in Chicago, Illinois, during the summers, he judged science fairs for the Junior Academy of Science, and he took pictures of Haley’s comet for Landmark Park.
He enjoyed being a husband, father, a grandfather, teaching, being at Mother’s Day Out with Betty, doing science experiments with Alaina, piddling, reading or watching science fiction, astronomy, fishing, playing dominoes, and traveling.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Hines Bateman, and his parents, Benjamin Jefferson Bateman Sr. and Louise Chaffin Bateman. He is survived by his daughter, Christy Bateman; son, Geoffrey (Nickie) Bateman; granddaughter, Alaina Bateman; brother, Robert (Arlene) Bateman; niece, Leah Bateman; nephew, Michael (Lori) Bateman; many cousins, special friends, colleagues, and church family.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to a charity of your choice.