Jamal "Jimmy" John Batteh
April 29, 1933 – March 17, 2020
Jamal “Jimmy” John Batteh, age 86, passed away on March 17, 2020, surrounded by his family. A devoted father, grandfather, uncle, cousin and friend to many, Jimmy was born on April 29, 1933 in Ramallah, Palestine, to Jaleel John and Thuraya Batteh. He immigrated to the U.S. at age 14 in December 1947 with his eldest sister Mary, joining their father and other family. He was a member of the large Christian Palestinian community in Jacksonville and was a charter member of the Ramallah American Club of Jacksonville.
Armed with an incredible work ethic and an entrepreneurial spirit, Jimmy was a teenager when he opened a grocery store/deli on Market Street. Later, he ventured into the food service business, where he successfully owned sandwich shops/cafes throughout the downtown and Southside areas, and was known as a downtown Jacksonville icon.
In 1956, Jimmy married the love of his life, Mariam Bajalia Batteh. They had three children and celebrated 55 years together before she preceded him in death in 2011. A consummate family man, he instilled in his children God first, then family. He stressed the importance of hard work, respect and humility, and guided them with a loving touch and inspiration.
A devout Catholic, Jimmy was a longtime parishioner of San Jose Catholic Church and lived his faith every day. When asked how he was doing, he would respond, “thank God for life!” An eternal optimist, he looked for the positive in every situation and in every person. He was known for his generous heart, respect and dignity for all, his wit and sense of humor, and infectious laugh! He lived life with passion and compassion.
Always eager to learn, he loved listening to autobiographical audio tapes of businessmen, presidents and other leaders. Jimmy was preceded in death by his parents, Jaleel and Thuraya Batteh, his wife Mariam Bajalia Batteh, his siblings Mary Batteh Doyle, Lily Batteh Omran and Michel Batteh. He is survived by his children, daughter Joy Batteh-Freiha, sons Jerry and James Batteh, his grandsons Nicholas and Christopher Freiha, numerous cousins, nephews, nieces and friends.
Due to the state of events and the CDC guidelines, the following services are limited in attendance to immediate family at this time. A rosary service will be performed in his memory on Saturday, March 21, at 10 a.m. at the Hardage-Giddens Greenlawn Funeral Home and Cemetery at 4300 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32207, followed by a graveside service and burial at the cemetery. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at a later date. Hardage-Giddens Greenlawn Funeral Home is serving the family.