Harold Batiste (right) with Gil Hanke
SAN ANTONIO, Texas–– Harold Batiste, 83, former president of the National Association of Conference Presidents (NACP) and a member of the first General Commission on UM Men, died June 15.
Elected to national post
Harold was elected to a two-year term as national president in 1985. Under his leadership, 6,055 men attended the National Congress of UM Men at Purdue University, an event that included the operation of first remote prayer line. There were 9,283 chartered groups at the time. Harold was re-elected to a second two-year term in 1987 and initiated competitive “Bowl-a-thons,” which raised $109,464 for the UMM Foundation. He also helped draft legislation to the 1988 General Conference which requires local churches to have charter units of UM Men.
“I first met Harold at the Lakeview Methodist Conference Center, a Texas Conference center in Palestine,” said Gil Hanke, top staff executive of the General Commission on UM Men. “ I was a new district president and spoke for the first time at a conference event. From that day on, he has befriended and mentored me. One of the special gifts he gave me was his attendance at the first NACP meeting when I was welcomed, as the new general secretary of the commission.
Service on the general commission
Following the 1996 General Conference that established the General Commission on UM Men , Harold was appointed to the transitional committee that shifted men’s ministry from the General Board of Discipleship to the new commission.
After he was appointed by the NACP to serve on the commission in 1996, he was elected chair of the Personnel Committee and was instrumental in hiring the Rev. Dr. Joe Harris, first general secretary of the new commission. Harold continued in that post until 2004.
“Harold Batiste was a man who celebrated life and lived it to its fullest,” said Harris, who now serves as communications director for the Oklahoma Annual Conference and assistant to the bishop. “Harold knew that for men living a life of servant devotion was the only way to realize one’s full manhood. He told me once, ‘When men finally realize that they are put here not to be served but to serve others, we will truly change this church and world.’ Harold lived his life as a man after God’s own heart.”
A former Air Force officer, Harold always made his colleagues conscious of their poor posture as he stood with a straight back and shoulders thrown back. He usually carried a camera and his photos graced many pages of UM Men magazine over the years.
Career in health care
He earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Texas Southern University, a master of education degree in school administration from Our Lady of the Lake University, a master of business administration degree in Health Care Administration from George Washington University, and began doctoral studies in Education Administration at Texas A&M University.
Harold had a distinguished 33-year career in the United States Air Force and was awarded the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (two clusters) and the Air Force Commendation Medal. He retired in 1985 as director of medical education at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center and became lead instructor of the Nursing Home Administration program at St. Philips College.
He served on the Board of Directors of UM Association, Health and Welfare Ministries and the Board of Directors of Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas.
Harold was a member of Windcrest UMC and is survived by his beloved wife of 64 years, Gertrude "Trudy" B. Scott Batiste; his three children, Dr. Harold E. "Gene" Batiste III (Scott M. Honeychurch) of Washington, D.C.; Bertrand "Randy" H. Batiste of Dallas; and Dr. Amy L. Batiste (Michael E. Woodwick) of Minneapolis.