Barbara F. Battin, 85, of Billings, passed away peacefully on June 9, 2013, at Tender Nest Assisted Living, Billings.
She was born on July 2, 1927, in Miles City, to Irene and Francis Choate. She is predeceased by husband, Judge James F. Battin; her parents; her sisters, Joanne Cline and Lois Lacklen; and brother, Norman Choate. She is loved and survived by her daughters, Loyce (Craig) Peterson, Patricia (Tom Pfeiffer) Battin; her son, James F. (Mary) Battin, Jr.; and seven grandchildren, Hannah (Jason) Decker, Roy (Brooke) Peterson, Abigail Pfeiffer, Katie Pfeiffer, Chris Battin, Bailey Battin and Kelsey Battin. Barbara also is loved and survived by her sister, Jeanne (Jack) Weaver of Aptos, Calif.,; and her brother, Art (Peggy) Choate of Tumwater, Wash.
She grew up at her parents’ ranch in Stacy, Mont., until her family moved to Miles City in 1935. She spent many summers at her grandparents’ (Kelsey) ranch, where she loved to ride and spent many wonderful evenings reading. In 1940, her family moved to Billings, where she attended Senior High School, before graduating in 1944. During high school, she met her husband, Jim, and they were married on Aug. 9, 1947. They celebrated 49 years of marriage. Barbara and Jim moved to Washington, D.C., where Jim attended law school. In D.C., she worked for the Department of Agriculture. They returned to Billings in 1953, where Barbara was a homemaker and mother while Jim practiced law. Jim’s election to Congress in 1960 took the family back to Virginia. During her years there, she was active in the Congressional Club and the Army Navy Country Club, where she learned to play golf. She enjoyed raising her children, entertaining, growing roses and sightseeing with family and friends visiting from Montana. She particularly enjoyed the opportunities associated with Jim’s work — attending receptions at the White House, First Lady Luncheons, and the close camaraderie of the Congressional families.
When Jim was appointed as a federal judge in 1969, they returned to Billings, where she became involved in Junior League, Billings PEO Chapter S, ZooMontana and Billings Studio Theatre, becoming a Sustainer. Barbara and Jim were longstanding members of First Presbyterian Church. As members of the Yellowstone Country Club, Barbara was passionate about golf and enjoyed nothing more than the time spent on the links with her friends. She and Jim loved the outdoors, and they enjoyed many golf trips with their close friends to Jackson Hole, Wyo.; Palm Springs, Calif.; and Arizona. Jim and Barbara had a winter home in Tucson, where she spent many winters until a few years before her passing.
She loved entertaining and relished opportunities to host friends and family. She was a voracious reader, enjoyed gardening, bowling, traveling and politics.
A loving grandmother, she enjoyed visiting with her grandchildren and keeping up with their lives and activities. She traveled with her oldest granddaughter, Hannah, numerous times to Tucson. She visited with her son and his family in California and followed his political career with interest. Always eager for new adventures, Barbara saw many countries. With Jim, she visited Jamaica. She visited her daughter Patricia and her family during Patricia’s naval career, traveling to Hawaii, Sardinia, Italy, Spain, Rock of Gibraltar, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, England and Bermuda. Barbara also accompanied Jim to many of his judicial events in the western United States, Alaska and Hawaii. After Jim’s passing, Barbara was most fortunate to have her daughter Loyce and her family close by as she depended on their love, understanding and care.
Some of her children’s earliest memories are of a woman with a sparkle in her eye who was the first to fly down a steep hill on roller skates and careen down a grassy hill in a child’s plastic swimming pool. She was active with her children’s Girl Scout and Boy Scout activities. She was the mainstay for the family when Jim was campaigning and traveling. She loved dogs and they were her constant companions throughout her life. On her 70th birthday, her daughters surprised her with “Mocha,” a little brown poodle puppy! A gracious woman, with never an unkind word spoken, she will be missed.
She was cremated, as was her wish. Services are to be held at First Presbyterian Church, Billings, on Thursday, June 13, at 3 p.m.
Memorials, in lieu of flowers, may be made to ZooMontana, 2100 S. Shiloh Road, Billings, MT 59106; Big Sky Senior Services, 5 N. 35th St., Billings, MT 59101; or a charity of your choice.
The family wishes to extend its gratitude to the staff at Tender Nest Assisted Living Building 2 for their compassionate support throughout her residence, especially in her final days.