Dennis Eugene (Gene) Batty


DAVIS JUNCTION – Dennis Eugene (Gene) Batty passed away at Generations at Neighbors in Byron, IL on Saturday, May 4, 2024. He was born on May 23, 1932, the second of five children, and the only son of Gale E. Batty and Hazel W. (Dennison) Batty.  Gene graduated from Monroe Center High School, Class of 1950.  He married the love of his life, W. Lawrene Tuck, September 18, 1953, who preceded him in death, November 3, 2005.  Gene bought a milk route with Dean’s Dairy after graduation.  The newlyweds farmed in Monroe Center for two years until he was drafted into the Navy in 1955.  He served as an engineer on the USS Renshaw which was stationed in Pearl Harbor and was deployed to Japan.  Upon his discharge, they purchased a farm where he lived all his life, eventually working side-by-side with his son raising cattle, hogs, and crops of corn, soybeans, oats, and wheat.  Gene was an avid athlete who played baseball, basketball, and ran track in high school.  He continued that love of sports playing baseball and becoming a basketball official with the IHSA in 1960, and a member of the White Pines Official Association.  In 2000, he was awarded a ring recognizing his many years of service to the IHSA.  He officiated for 50 years, finally retiring in 2010.  He became good friends with his reffing partners and enjoyed a hot game of cribbage after the ball games.  The loser bought the burgers but because he loved cribbage and had played all his life, he didn’t buy often.  In addition to refereeing basketball, Gene also umpired Little League and Sandy Colfax baseball for many years.  You could always find him listening to a Cub’s game, whether that be in the tractor, or while lying on the living room floor for his after-lunch cat nap.  Gene was an active member of Monroe Center Community Church and served numerous terms on the church board, in various roles.  As a member of the choir, he was asked to sing solos for many occasions.  He enjoyed driving a tractor and hay rack through town, picking up kids for Bible School.  He also served several years as a board member for the Monroe Center School District.  Every person in the world, to him, was just a friend he hadn’t met yet.  He loved to tell stories of his experiences.  He had a quick wit and enjoyed a good joke, even playing a harmless one on you.  He always saw the good in people.  Gene is survived by his daughter, Deb (Ron) Steenken of Stillman Valley, IL; son, Bruce (Wendy) Batty of Davis Junction, IL; granddaughters, Katie Steenken of Stillman Valley, IL, Libbey (Shawn) Cox of Rockford, IL, and Hannah Batty of Davis Junction, IL; step grandson, Collin (Dawn) Steenken of Schaumburg, IL; great grandson, Oden Cox; step great grandson, Cillian Steenken; sisters, Mary Hackney of Rockford, IL and Edie Bonne of Lakeville, MN; sister-in-law, Ann (Bill) Pell of Rockford, IL; and numerous nieces and nephews.  Gene is preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Janet (Ronald) Bearrows and Judy VanBriesen; and brother-in-law, Richard Hackney.  The family would like to thank the staff of Generations at Neighbors for the wonderful care Gene was shown.  A special thanks and appreciation to Serenity Hospice and Home and his nurse for the past year, Sheila, for the incredible support and kindness provided.  And, thanks to Debra for continuing to support his cribbage habit.   Funeral service to be held 5:00 PM, Sunday, May 12, 2024 at The North Church, 100 West Street, Monroe Center, IL 61052 with the Rev. Bob Mellon officiating.   Fellowship to follow at Monroe Center Community Church 17435 IL-72, Monroe Center, IL 61052.  Visitation to be held prior to the funeral at the North Church from 2:00 – 5:00 PM.  Burial will be 9:00 AM Monday, May 13th, 2024 at the Monroe Center Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Serenity Hospice and Home, the Stillman Valley High School basketball program, or the Monroe Center Village Park.