Remembered by family and friends as a loving husband, devoted father, helpful friend and community contributor, Philip Hunt Battershall passed away on September 19, 2021. Phil was born February 18, 1930 in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. He graduated from Eastern High School in Detroit. Phil served in the United States Marine Corps with the rank of Sergeant from 1951 to 1953 during the Korean War. He worked his own way through Michigan State University and graduated with a degree in economics in 1957. He later received a diploma in graduate studies from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University.
Phil started his business career with Dun & Bradstreet in Detroit in 1957. In 1964, he joined Old Kent Bank in Grand Rapids, where he remained for 30 years. He served as Senior Vice President and managed the bank’s commercial loan operations. Employees at the bank appreciated Phil; he was always the first person to arrive every morning and knew everyone by their name.
Phil’s first devotion was family. He married Shirley Jean Kennedy in 1958 and enjoyed a loving marriage of 63 years. His son Jeff was born in 1964. Phil gave his family the greatest gift of all, which was his time and love. Evenings and weekends were spent on the chores of a well-kept home and patiently teaching Jeff how to ride a bike, how to use tools to build things with wood, and how to master multiplication tables. He enjoyed teaching his granddaughter Cole how to fish, and provided extensive care to his younger brother Donald. He had many friends and no enemies. To both friends and family, Phil was, without exception, patient, kind and helpful.
Christian faith and community service were important commitments throughout Phil’s life. He sang in the church choir as a youth and served as an Elder and Treasurer of Eastminster Presbyterian Church for many years. As one example of his personal commitment, before the pastor’s funeral, Phil thought the church grounds did not look right, so he took his small lawnmower to the church and cut all of the grass by himself. Phil gave back to his community by actively participating in many community service roles. He worked with the President of Davenport University and the Michigan legislature to successfully establish a state-backed student loan program, which provided more accessible tuition funding for thousands of Michigan college students. Among other contributions, he served on the Board for the Advisory Center for Teens, on the Grand Rapids Parking Commission, and in a less serious role, as Treasurer of the Soaring Eagles troop of YMCA Adventure Guides.
When young, Phil spent summers with his grandparents on an island in Pine Lake, with fun times swimming, boating and fishing. His very favorite place was the cottage he and Shirley had on Big Brower Lake for 37 years. His favorite times were quietly fishing on the lake, long walks on Daytona Beach, and being with his family.
Phil is predeceased by his parents Harold and Doris and his brother Donald. He is survived by his wife Shirley, his son Jeffrey (Stephanie) and his granddaughter Maria Cole.
Phil’s family will remain eternally grateful for the selfless love and inspiration he always gave. The family wishes to thank all the staff at the Porter Hills Greenhouse and Emmanuel Hospice for all the care they provided to Phil when he struggled with Alzheimer’s disease in his final years. A celebration of Phil’s life will be held at Mayflower Congregational Church on Saturday, September 25, with visitation at 10 am and funeral service at 11 am. There will be refreshments and visitation following the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Van Andel Institute in support of research on Alzheimer’s disease and human health.
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Van Andel Institute
333 Bostwick Ave. NE, Grand Rapids MI 49503