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Zetta Iris Raines Batchelor

September 27, 1938 ~ September 26, 2018 (age 79)

Mrs. Zetta Iris Raines Batchelor, 79, passed away Wednesday, September 26, 2018.

Mrs. Batchelor was born September 27, 1938. She loved the babies.  Her own. Others. Abandoned at birth or born to parents who weren’t ready.  Healthy babies who coo’ed and laughed and charmed us all.  Babies who came with both legs in casts.  She loved them without sentimentality but with the sturdiest circle of caring.  Iris had four children borne of her body, adopted six and cared for hundreds more in the 28 years she served Lee County as a foster mother and then teacher of foster parents.

Married 60 years to John, the cute boy she met in high school, Iris was a steel magnolia in the best sense.  Emphasis on steel.   Together they lived in Loachapoka in 70’s bliss with endless rows of itchy beans for the young’uns to pick, trial runs with goat keeping and cider pressing and roadside fruit stands.  She went out into the world to deliver mail in Salem, AL in a little red truck, to test the butterfat content of dairy cows in an Auburn University lab, to serve as Clerk for the city of Loachapoka, to guide the board of the Horseshoe Bend Library.  Did we mention she liked to read and hoped everyone would join her in this passion? Oh those trips to the well-chilled Auburn city library for hours of book fun!

Pensacola, Florida was her birthplace, her mother Jessie only 17 when Iris arrived.  Iris’ father died suddenly 7 years later, beginning a period of family struggle for Iris, her mother and younger sisters Robin and Sarah.  The family pulled through these hard times together, her mother eventually remarrying an Air Force sergeant who became the beloved man Iris called father the rest of her life.  The growing family, with two new siblings, Leslie and Tim, followed Air Force assignments from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Guam and back to Pensacola.

College and the chance to continue education were a big draw for Iris.  Her cute boy was headed to Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now Auburn University.  Iris wanted to join but the few spots available to women students at the former Methodist school were reserved for the preachers’ daughters!  Instead, Iris went to Pensacola Junior College then Harding College in Searcy, Arkansas on full scholarship until she left to wed that boy and begin her own family.

Ah, but those babies.  As Parkinson’s and age worked its way through her these last years, with even her grandchildren long past babyhood, Iris returned in her mind to those treasured and active years…the years as foster mother to many.  She was a giant of heart, sharp of gaze for the naughty, and always standing on the side of love.

Iris is survived by her 10 children: David Batchelor, Laurie Paulonis, Betsy Rush, Kerry Weldon, Christopher Batchelor, Johnny Batchelor, Casey Batchelor, Charles Batchelor, Neil Batchelor and Marie Batchelor; 15 grandchildren: Miranda and Jaycee Batchelor, McKinley and Anna Grace Weldon, Madeleine and Jasper Rush, Andrew Paulonis, Travis and Nathan Batchelor, Wyatt Batchelor, Blake Batchelor, Jaylen and Carmen Batchelor, Aquila and Oliva Warner.  Iris’ grandson Matthew Weldon will be greeting her in heaven’s house.

Funeral services will be at the Auburn Church of Christ at 721 South College, Auburn on Sunday September 30, 2018 at 3:00 PM.   Visitation will be at Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home on 1500 Frederick Road, Opelika from 6-8:00 PM Saturday, September 29, 2018.

Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home is directing.

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