Paul Robert Battenfield went to his eternal reward on June 15, 2020. Paul’s bride, children, siblings, mother and friends were by his side to comfort him as he had provided love and comfort to them. In his last hours, he laughed and shared stories of old adventures, rocky trails and family vacations. Then he closed his eyes, breathed his last, and left us to remember and honor him as a son, husband, father, brother, teacher, and friend. Somewhere a light shone bright and Paul set foot on the trail into eternity.
Paul earned an electrical engineering degree at Louisiana Tech and a master’s degree at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He designed cell phone networks in the early days of the industry before he moved to Tennessee to work for the Tennessee Valley Authority, the State of Tennessee, and Verizon. Paul’s fascination with technology began at home as a boy in Shreveport, Louisiana, where his father, also an electrical engineer, introduced Paul to the personal computer. Paul shared his affinity for engineering, technology, and problem-solving with his own children and anyone else who would listen.
Paul’s interests extended beyond the circuit board and the switch. The duty of a Christian is to witness, teach, and love, and Paul engaged in all of these. At home, Paul shared with his children the duties of citizenship, scholarship and labor. He modeled curiosity, inquiry and industry. His garage-turned-woodshop and boxes of mysterious handmade gadgets describe busy hands and a curious mind. He shared with his children, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and Boy Scouts his considerable knowledge of the natural world and the sciences, and he taught Sunday School at Thompson’s Station Church. During his illness, Paul read James Fenimore Cooper’s “The Last of the Mohicans.” In his tale of early America, Cooper wrote, “The woods are but the ears of the Almighty, the air his breath, and the light of the sun is little more than a glance of his eye.”
Paul loved the woods, and he was not afraid to share his belief that God created the mountains, rivers, fields, and forests to provide shelter, nourishment, recreation, and wonder for God’s children. Paul introduced countless friends, his bride, and his children to the natural world. On the water, Paul floated calm streams, raced rain-fueled rapids, and chased loose water bottles and personal gear downstream. On the trail, he taught his children and dozens or hundreds of other Boy Scouts to build a fire, wield an axe, cook a meal, pitch a tent, and care for their fellows. Paul and his friends of the trail left muddy boot prints side-by-side all over Tennessee and beyond.
Paul’s bride, Christie Rafferty, shared many of Paul’s adventures on the trail or across the country. They married on June 29, 1995, in Bossier City, Louisiana. They set up house in Knoxville first before moving to Spring Hill. They produced three children: Callie Elizabeth, Garrett Charles, and Logan Paul. On a cool late-spring evening in June 2020, beneath the stars and among those who witnessed their love and friendship, Paul and Christie celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary a few days early in the knowledge that Paul was being called home to Christ, whom he had acknowledged and professed to others as his savior. Paul was born on March 17, 1968, Shreveport, Louisiana, which he called home until he left for college.
Beyond his household, Paul is survived by his mother, Donna Jeanne Ragon Battenfield; his sisters, Marion Delise Battenfield Dickard (husband Norris and daughters Ragon, Kenna, and Nora Lane) and Leslie Battenfield McCluskie (husband Martin and children Daniel and Heather); his parents-in-law, Charles and Junelle Rafferty; and brother-in-law Alan Rafferty (wife Raedean and son Hunter). Paul was preceded in death by his father, Marion Charles Battenfield.
Paul’s Funeral Service will be conducted 10 a.m. Saturday, June 20, 2020 at Spring Hill Memorial Funeral Home with Ken Parker officiating. Visitation with the family will be 5-8 p.m. on Friday and one hour prior to the service on Saturday. Interment will follow in Spring Hill Memorial Park. Pallbearers are Graham Baker, Chris Dunn, Jon Duncan, Michael Koreiba, John Baur, and Logan Robb. Honorary pallbearers are Team Tennessee Verizon Business Group. Paul and his family suggest that, rather than a gift of flowers, donations may be made in Paul’s honor to Boy Scouts of America Troop 137, 406 Newbary Court, Franklin, TN 37069.
SPRING HILL MEMORIAL PARK AND FUNERAL HOME, 5239 Main Street, Spring Hill, TN 37174. 931 486-0059. www.springhill-memorial.com