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The GW Hatchet


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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Neighbors, students remember local activist and alumnus

jack batham memorial
Friends and family of GW alumnus Jack Batham were greeted with a photograph of the late neighborhood activist as they entered the memorial service held in his honor at Hotel Lombardy Saturday afternoon. Sierra Schwartz | Hatchet photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Frankie Kane.

Members of the community gathered Saturday to remember Jack Batham, an alumnus and longtime neighborhood activist in Foggy Bottom and West End. Batham, 89, died in early November.

Every seat was filled at the memorial service at the Hotel Lombardy, with many standing to honor “grandpa Jack.”

Until his death, Batham served as president of the West End Citizens Association, a local neighborhood group, and worked with the Foggy Bottom Feeding Program Foundation, a charity focused on food distribution.

Ward 2 D.C. Council member Jack Evans recalled Batham as a constant force in advocating for city improvements.

“Jack’s got to be up there, sitting down saying, ‘Lord, I’ve got an idea for you,’” Evans said, joking.

Sara Maddux, the West End Citizens Association’s current president, described Batham’s strong commitment to improving the city and the life of locals.

“He was always concerned about somebody, calling to see how they are,” Maddux said.

Batham was initiated into Sigma Chi in 1945 and graduated from GW in 1948, former Student Association president and Sigma Chi member Jason Lifton said.

Junior and Sigma Chi member Rhys Seiffe said Batham was “a truly noble soul,” who once returned to a grocery store because he forgot to say hello to a woman there who baked him muffins weekly.

Batham is survived by his three nephews. His oldest nephew, Joseph Brantley IV, said his family unsuccessfully tried to convince Batham to move down to Louisiana, near their home.

“We really never understood why he resisted until we came up here right after he passed away and started delving into what he was involved in” Brantley said.

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