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Mr. Willie Davis Batchelor, 89

“A great soul serves everyone all the time.  A great soul never dies.  It brings us together again and again.”

Maya Angelou

Willie D. Batchelor was a visionary leader that left an enduring legacy to his family and his community.  He was never one to meet a stranger and always had a bright smile and kind words for everyone he encountered.

Willie D. Batchelor was born on April 7, 1934, to Charlie Mae Orange at an early age and through a loving relationship was adopted by Marie and Will Batchelor of Quitman, GA

“Willie D” as he was affectionally called, graduated from Brooks County Training School.       He excelled in sports and was a superior athlete.  He played on three state championship teams in football and track.

Upon graduation from high school, he enrolled in Savannah State University where he graduated with degrees in health education and biology.  While attending Savannah State, he set the pole vault record at the National Relays at Tuskegee University.  Wilma Rudolph, who later became the first American woman runner to win three gold medals in the Olympic Games, competed in the same National Relays.  He achieved All Conference status as a football halfback averaging at least 1,000 yards per year.  He was a candidate for All American in both his junior and senior years in college, which led to the recruitment by the St. Louis Cardinals.  Unfortunately, an injury ended his NFL aspirations.

Willie D. Batchelor began his professional career as a teacher and coach at Cook County Training School.  There he coached football, wrestling, track and girls’ basketball.  The school fielded six conference championship teams and one state championship.  One of his students would go on to play in the NFL.  He would eventually transition to the integrated Cook High School where he would coach football, wrestling and teach Health/PE and Driver’s Ed.

While at the Cook County Training School, he got reacquainted with Julia Hendrix whom he had met once at Savannah State University through her uncle, Daniel Hendrix, a teacher from Quitman.  They would go on to marry and have one daughter, Stephanie.

After 30 years of teaching, he retired. Always one to make a difference, he set his sights on making a greater impact on his community.  He ran and became the first African American County Commissioner for Cook County, GA.  During the years 1985 – 2006, the community would re-elect him and he would eventually retire as a commissioner.  The county would eventually name the Public Works building in his honor, again another first for an African-American in Cook County.

In addition to Julia Batchelor, his wife of 60 years, survivors include a daughter Stephanie A. Evans, an amazing and supportive son-in-love, Lonnie B. Evans, three grandchildren, Christian, Chandler and Lauren Evans. Four sisters, Dorothy Causer, Dr. Katetrina Williams, Ellen Valentine and Dr. Shirley (Nathaniel) Jackson.  Two goddaughters Vickie (Daryl) Silas and Delayne (Delbert) Stephens Raiford.  Several nephews, nieces and many friends and extended family.

Funeral services were Saturday, January 27, 2024 at 10:00 A.M. at the Adel Church of God Family Life Center in Adel, Georgia. Entombment followed at the McLane Riverview Memorial Gardens in Valdosta, Georgia. Visitation was Friday, 1:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. at Stevens-McGhee Funeral Home and Saturday, 9:00 A.M. – 9:50 A.M. at the Family Life Center in Adel. There was no viewing at the funeral service on Saturday.  To access livestream of the service and share condolences with the family, please visit our website at stevensmcgheefuneralhome.com   Stevens-McGhee Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.

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