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Dr. Robert W. Battles Jr.

The Reverend Dr. Robert W. Battles Jr., 78, passed away peacefully under the care of the Shell Point Retirement Community in Ft. Myers, FL, on Saturday, January 7, 2017. He was surrounded by his wife Ruth and three of his brothers in addition to his daughter Steph and her husband Thomas. He was born in Greensburg, PA, on October 31, 1938. After graduating from high school in Orlando, FL, he received a B.S. degree from Nyack College in 1959. Stetson University in Florida granted him the M.A. degree in 1960. Further study at the Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA, led to an M.Div. degree in 1963 and the following year he received a Th.D. degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ. In 1961, he married Ruth Bach of Ventnor, NJ, and together they moved to West Palm Beach, FL, where he was ordained by the Presbytery of East Florida. He then became assistant pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in West Palm Beach. In 1967, he was installed as the twelfth pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Bridgehampton, NY. Following the tradition of the pastors of this church, he was active in the local community. He served as President of the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreation Center and on the Migrant Committee of the Long Island Council of Churches. He was the Secretary of the South Fork Clergy Fellowship and a member of the Ministerial Relations Committee of the Presbytery. In 1975, he was called to become the senior pastor at Germonds Presbyterian Church in New City, NY, where he and Ruth were actively involved in helping people with special needs and working with BOCES (the Boards of Cooperative Educational Services). In 1979, Dr. Battles accepted a call and served ten years as the senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Mount Clemens, MI. While there he was an Alumni Trustee of Princeton Seminary and he preached at Princeton University’s Annual Service of Remembrance. He also served as a seminary intern advisor for Princeton, mentoring and guiding young pastors. From Mount Clemens, he moved to Gainesville, FL, where he was the senior minister of First Presbyterian Church. While in Gainesville, he led the church through significant renovations of the classrooms, fellowship hall and sanctuary and together with Dr. Mark Coffey, Director of Music, he brought a C.B. Fisk pipe organ to the sanctuary. While there he started an after school program with the help of his wife Ruth to serve students in the Porters’ neighborhood just South of the church. After retirement, he accepted a position as interim pastor at Community Presbyterian Church in Pinehurst, NC. From there, he and Ruth moved to Salisbury, NC, and then on to Bethlehem, PA, before settling in Ft. Myers, FL. He was a devoted husband and father to Ruth and Steph and was elated to be able to welcome his granddaughter, Olive, into the world in 2014. Visitation will be held from 5:00pm to 7:00pm on Thursday, January 12th at Milam Funeral Home, 311 South Main Street, Gainesville, FL. Funeral services will be held at 11:00am, Friday, January 13 at the First Presbyterian Church in Gainesville, with a reception to follow in Gordon Hall. An interment service will be held in late January at Edgewood Cemetery in Bridgehampton, NY. Memorials may be made to Hope Hospice through The Legacy Foundation at Shell Point in Ft. Myers. Robert is survived by his wife Ruth, daughter Steph and her husband Thomas Johnson, and his granddaughter Olive.

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In consideration of COVID-19, as well as the families we are serving, we would like for those of you whose immune systems are compromised please stay home and send the family a condolence card. We may also be forced to postpone services if this continues or worsens. Our profession as funeral directors is not only focused on serving families, but also protecting the families and the community at-large. Thank you and please take care!

In consideration of COVID-19, as well as the families we are serving, we would like for those of you whose immune systems are compromised please stay home and send the family a condolence card. We may also be forced to postpone services if this continues or worsens. Our profession as funeral directors is not only focused on serving families, but also protecting the families and the community at-large. Thank you and please take care!