Ben H. Battle Jr. passed away on Saturday, June 8, 2019, after a long battle with cancer. He was born to Ben H. Battle and Merriel H. Battle in Salisbury.
He is survived by his spouse of 15 years, Tracy Bailey.
His parents moved from China Grove, to Nashville, Tenn., where Ben’s father received his doctoral degree, and his mother, her master’s degree. The family then moved to Chapel Hill, before moving to Cullowhee where Ben attended elementary school at McKee and Camp Lab until he graduated high school. An only child, Ben was raised a farm boy and a university kid. He raised a garden, bush hogged, baled hay, herded cattle, built fences and raised beagles; he maintained his academic excellence and became an Eagle Scout in BSA Troop 914.
Ben attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he majored in chemistry as an undergraduate. He attended the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and did his residency at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital where he was co-chief resident. He was boarded in Family Practice and certified by the Academy of Family Physicians. He received many awards and accolades for his skills as a physician.
He joined Dr. Joseph Kahn’s practice in Franklin, and was on staff at Angel Medical Center where he served as chief of staff and board member. He was the co-founder of Smoky Mountain Healthcare Associates, P.A. He often took medical students under his wing for clinicals and helped them refine their assessment and diagnostic skills. He delivered babies and was Dr. San Ho Choi’s first assistant in surgery. Battle retired in June 2006 because of complications related to his cancer.
While Ben was still practicing, he met Tracy Bailey, and together they took care of Ben’s parents until their passing. Ben’s health improved dramatically for the next ten years which allowed the two to travel the world together. As “snowbirds,” they started spending the winters in Kissimmee, Fla., in 2013.
Ben was a pilot and owned two different aircraft. He rode motorcycles, drove fast cars and loved to operate a bulldozer. Besides loving fine wine, food and travel, he was first and foremost a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. He was a member of Cullowhee United Methodist Church for 53 years before joining Cullowhee Baptist Church, where he and Tracy have attended for the last three years.
It is hard to focus on anything other than his smile, his generosity and the impact that he had on others. He left a legacy for us. The world shall not forget Ben (Benny) Haskew Battle Jr,. M.D. Fly over the rainbow, my love.
A celebration of life will be held June 22 at Cullowhee Baptist Church. Memorials can be made to the Bi-Centennial fund at Cullowhee Baptist Church, 148 Central Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723.