Jack Alan Batterson

December 2, 1959November 15, 2020

Jack A. Batterson, of Columbia, died Sunday, November 15, 2020 at the University of Missouri Hospital from complications of leukemia. A private family burial was held at Memorial Park Cemetery.

The son of Jack L. and Polly Batterson, Jack was born on December 2, 1959 in Columbia. Just after his first birthday, he lost half of his hearing from a virus, and his future life was one of prevailing over obstacles.

Jack treasured his years at Hickman High School, never losing track of his many friends. While at Hickman, Jack was very involved in the music program, and his clarinet and saxophone skills led to the offer of a full music performance scholarship at the University of Missouri Music Department, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Music History. His master's thesis on the life and career of Blind Boone was later published by the University of Missouri press as Blind Boone: Missouri’s Ragtime Pioneer as part of the Missouri Heritage Series. This was the first modern biography of Boone, helping to initiate the Blind Boone surge of interest in Columbia. Jack went on to serve as a member of the Blind Boone Foundation which led to the restoration of the Blind Boone home in Columbia.

The son of two history professors, Jack realized that his love of books was as important to him as his love of music. He then went on to complete a Masters of Library Science Degree at the University of Indiana in Bloomington just as librarianship was embracing technology and expanding in scope. Specializing in cataloging as a career, he worked at Xavier University Library in Cincinnati. He later returned to Columbia to work at University of Missouri Ellis Library for 27 years.

It took Jack quite a time to find his perfect soulmate, Mary Eileen Woods of Prairie Village, Kansas. They were married May 30, 1998, and both worked as librarians, Mary at Columbia College and Jack at the University. For the next 22 years, Jack’s happiness was complete as they enjoyed a harmonious and loving marriage.

In his later years, although hampered by health problems, Jack nevertheless enthusiastically practiced his avocation of retirement planning and financial investment. Jack continued this interest until his final day. His concern for others was exemplified by his loving attention to the needs of his wife and his mother.

Jack is survived by his wife, Mary; his mother, Polly; his father-in-law, Jim Woods of Overland Park, Kansas; his brother-in-law, Paul Woods of Overland Park; his niece, Kate Woods; and nephew, Brian Woods of Prairie Village, Kansas. Although divided in distance, his continued contact with his numerous cousins in Ohio remained especially important to him.

Preceding him in death were his father, Jack L. Batterson; his mother-in-law, Teresa Woods; grandparents on both sides of his family; and his aunts and uncles in Ohio.

Memorial contributions are suggested to the Blind Boone Foundation, Post Office Box 163, Columbia MO, 65201.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Jack Alan Batterson

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Tammy Green

December 2, 2020

Jack and I started out as acquaintances, moved to colleagues, then became friends. What a wonderful friend he was too. I met him in high school and later worked with him at MU's Ellis Library. He kept me up-to-date on all our high school friends and activities, plus info on any new restaurants in town. He was great to work with on MU Libraries Staff Association board. He introduced me to his wonderful helpmate Mary and always had a glow on his face when he spoke of her.
I will miss Jack. I will miss his smiling face & soft voice.

Catherine Craven

November 24, 2020

I'd thought I'd posted earlier, but my message did not take. Jack, you were my quietly funny and always endearing friend, one of strong political convictions, and always loyal to others. I remember the first time we met, which was in 1997, at a library-related event at Ellis. Your intelligence and kindness was obvious, and the twinkle in your eye notable. We offered each other career advice and a listening ear over the years, and I was touched that you sometimes sent me notices of positions close to home, as if you were hoping that Chris Topinka and I would return. I always appreciated your confidence in me. That you confided in me many times about health and life issues was an honor. Thank you for the times you stopped by gatherings at our house or yard sales. I will miss our gentle ineractions, and your wit, which was sharper than I think some realized. Quite sly yet always softened by your decency, chap! I am so sorry you are gone too soon. Though I'd recently liked or posted on your Facebook page, as I always did, I so wish I had messaged you to say hello and check in personally. My friend, you are in good company with loved ones and other wonderful mutual library-connection friends who have died this year, including Margaret Booker, Don Sievert, and Timothy Patrick. Rest well, friend, until we see each other again. Deepest condolences to Mary and to your mother, and to all who knew you and will always love you.

Adrienne Arden

November 21, 2020

To all of Jack's family, my sincere condolences. I worked for eleven years with Jack at Ellis Library, though in different departments. We interacted mostly through our mutual involvement with the MU Libraries Staff Association. I was impressed by his dedication to managing the funds for MULSA, and also by his cheerful, positive attitude that he maintained despite dealing with his many health issues. I will be forever grateful to Jack for his sound financial recommendations to me personally, without which my retirement years would have been quite different. He will be missed.

Madalyn Kunow

November 21, 2020

Mary and Mrs. Batterson, I am so saddened to hear of Jack’s passing. My deepest sympathies for you and the rest of his family. Having known him since our days at Russell Elementary School when we both started playing the clarinet, which he was always much better than I was, it breaks my heart to know he is gone. He was such a kind and gentle soul and cared so much for our class. Whether we went to Hickman or Rock Bridge he was dedicated to finding us and bringing us together.
Rest well my friend. You will be missed. Hugs.

Stephen Clayton

November 19, 2020

Jack was a friend with whom I spent many lunch hours back when we were both employed by the MU Libraries. He had a great sense of humor and some very strong opinions, but I always enjoyed our time together. Polly and Mary, we (Alan and I) are so sorry for your loss. Jack was quite a character, and a very special human being. He will always be fondly remembered.

John Rhein

November 19, 2020

Jack was one of the kindest people I knew. He was so talented but so humble. We lost a kind and decent man. RIP, gentle soul.

Barbara Wilhelm Lips

November 19, 2020

Sincere condolences for your loss. Jack’s gift of enjoying friends was great. He will be missed by many!

Brad Wright

November 18, 2020

Lift up your spirits. He is definitely a Kewpie who is watching over us. Rest well Jack.

Oleta Edwards

November 18, 2020

Dear Mary and Polly, I was so shocked and saddened to hear of Jack's passing. He was a very loving of both of you I know so I cannot imagine your sorrow. He was truly dedicated to what he believed in, wheither it was the two of you or helping someone with their finances. His wide knowledge of so many things made him a very unusual man. Our many years of working together at Ellis were sometimes fraught with different views, but I always knew Jack had only what he thought was best for the Library. R.I.P., Jack.

Beth Blevins

November 18, 2020

So sorry to hear about Jack's passing and condolences to his wife and mother. We were in bamd together at Hickman and he was a phenomenal musician. His technical capabilities were amazing. He had a quiet spirit but was so dedicated to what he loved. Our whole class appreciated the work he put into our reunions and the opportunities to get to know him better after high school. RIP friend!


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