Joseph F. Batora, born on March 3, 1929 passed away on Sunday, April 19, 2020 at the age of 91. He died peacefully at his farm where he had been cared for by his son David, and daughter-in-law Robin.
He leaves behind six children: Thomas (Corinna) Batora, Nancy (Mark) Messinger, Catherine (Douglas Haubert) Batora, David (Robin) Batora, Betty (Thomas) Stone, and Robert (Christine) Batora. Joe had 16 grandchildren: Anthony Batora, Jonathan (Christine) Andersen, Matthew (Audrey) Andersen, Shanna Andersen, Simon (Erica) Messinger, Jessica (Matthew) Sterling, Daniel (Sarah) Batora, Nicholas Batora, Dynah Haubert, Jackson Batora Haubert, Samantha (Brandon) Ryan, Kerrie Larkins, Michael Stone, Adam Stone, Joseph Batora, and Aaron Batora. He also had 11 great grandchildren: Julianna Arias, Joseph Andersen, Rosemary Andersen, Garret Talley, Brock Messinger, Reid Messinger, Brycen Sterling, Crewen Sterling, Madeline Samborski, Maggie Batora, and Cleo Ryan. He is preceded in death by his loving wife Pauline, beloved son Donald, and his siblings: Frank Batora, Helen Spaleny, and Edward Batora.
Joe was well loved and well respected. Although he ironically called himself a “dumb farmer” he was one of the smartest men we’ve known. His thirst for knowledge, education, and determination inspired all of his family and friends. Many of Joe and Pauline’s friends became “adopted” into his already large family. When a new person came into his life his thirst for knowledge would drive him to question them relentlessly on details of what they did, where they were from, and what those experiences were like. This thirst also inspired him to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica except the volume for “V”, which had mysteriously disappeared.
Joe and Pauline were married on April 24, 1954. Pauline was expecting their first child when Joe was drafted into the army. After the army, he worked at Midland Ross in Owosso and farmed in Bannister. In 1973, he left Midland Ross to farm his 400 acres full time. Joe was a creative and resourceful man. He built his own outbuildings on the farm and during one snowy harvest season, even built and attached skis to his combine to bring in his crops. In 1973 he began to build his own house with the help of his children. He would proudly declare, “There’s not a crooked nail in the whole building.” He loved life and knew how to have fun. He fulfilled his lifelong dreams of canoeing from Bannister to Lake Michigan twice and began skydiving at the age of 65. He loved hunting, fishing, camping and all outdoor activities. One of his many wandering vacations with his wife included driving to Alaska and the Arctic Ocean. Joe was a very kind and spiritual man. He was an active parishioner of St. Cyril’s Catholic Church in Bannister where he had been an usher and a member in the Altar Society. He will be mourned and greatly missed by all who knew him but his spirit will live on in all of us.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Cyril's Catholic Church, Bannister, MI, on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 11:00 A.M., with Rev. Fr. Edwin Dwyer officiating. Burial will be held at a later date at Ford Cemetery, Gratiot County, MI.
Memorials may be made to St. Cyril's Catholic Church, Bannister, MI or to Gratiot County Commission on Aging, Ithaca, MI. Online condolences can be made at www.smithfamilyfuneralhomes.com. The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes, Elsie, MI.