Windham Elementary School speech teacher Laura Bateman passed away Dec. 7 after a second battle with cancer. She was born in Fort Belvoir, Va., and graduated from Northview High School in 1984. Bateman then joined the active duty Air Force and was stationed in Germany. She participated in Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Later, she received her bachelor’s degree in speech pathology from Minot State University and began her career as a speech pathologist. Bateman joined the Windham Elementary School family in 2018.
In October, WES held a “Pink Out” where faculty and staff were allowed to wear jeans and pink shirts on Wednesdays in support of Bateman. Friday, Oct. 11 was designated “Pink Out” day. Bateman and her husband Daniel visited WES and walked the halls collecting hugs, cards, balloons and well wishes from staff and students.
She is remembered by the faculty and staff as a good friend, someone that was always kind and an animal lover.
WES fourth grade teacher Michelle Pippin said, “Laura was a good friend. She always had a smile on her face and kind words. I looked forward to meeting her in the hall most mornings and seeing that sweet smile on her face. We laughed together about things like her teaching me how to line dance, which I thought was a hopeless cause, but she had faith that she could teach me. We cried together when she heard the news that the cancer had returned.
“If there was one thing that I would want to share with you about Laura is that she never wavered in her strength, her fight, nor her courage. She continued to have her usual beautiful personality and positivity as always. While I miss my friend terribly, I know that she knows no more pain and that she is finally at rest and peace.”
EL teacher at Daleville City Schools Bethany Azar said, “To describe a person as special as Mrs. Bateman is truly difficult. But what I will always remember the most was the way she made me feel. Mrs. Bateman had the most genuine and kind spirit. After meeting her one day during breakfast duty, I felt like I had known her for years. She always put the other person first in conversation, in service, in encouragement and in love. I will forever remember her sweet spirit and strive to have more of her gentle nature. I am so thankful I know where my friend is today and I find peace in knowing I will see her again. All of my love for her precious family and friends.”
WES second grade teacher Victoria Basso said, “Mrs. Bateman in her quiet, humble way provided an example to all of us to live each day sharing the best of yourself in every situation. I was blessed to know her.”
Seventh and ninth grade English teacher Carol Hobart said, “Mrs. Bateman was a kind, beautiful lady. When she came over to the high school to provide services to her students, she never failed to greet me with a sweet smile and a cheerful ‘Good morning.’ I will miss her.”
Daleville City Schools Special Education Director Julie Sconyers said, “Honoring a loved one's life after death recognizes the impact that person had on the lives of others. Laura Bateman impacted every person she met in such a beautiful way. Her life was well-lived. She harmed no one, lived heartily, and loved well and loyally. She gave her gifts and fought her battles. Her faith and strength are an inspiration to all. She never gave up on serving her students and helping staff even at the end. I will always remember her gentle smile, tight hugs and sweet spirit.”
WES fourth grade teacher Jeannie Baldwin said, “Laura was an angel. I'm so glad I got to be her co- worker and friend.”
Daleville City Schools speech therapist Alyssa Cary said, “Mrs. Bateman was a kind, compassionate, and sincere friend. Even though I didn't know her for long, she was a great blessing to me.”
Dr. Lisa Stamps, Superintendent of Daleville City Schools, was impressed by Bateman’s determination to serve her students even while she was receiving treatments.
“While I did not know Mrs. Bateman long, it only took a minute to be overwhelmed by her strong love for and dedication to her students. Even when she was no longer able to be at school, not even cancer could stop her resilient determination to deliver speech services to her students,” Stamps said. “One day she sent her schedule to my office of the dates and times she had contacted her students to provide speech assistance through email and by phone. Her work ethic was remarkable. Her desire to serve others was admirable. Her legacy is eternal. Her presence brought much joy to those around her. Mrs. Laura Bateman’s absence has been and will continually be felt in our school system. Our prayers remain for the family during this most difficult time”
In addition to her love of her students Bateman was an active member of Wiregrass Church in Dothan, she loved to garden, she loved training her dogs to be therapy dogs, she loved to dance and travel. She is survived by her husband Daniel Bateman, her three children Aiden, Noah, and Claire O’Toole; her mother, Nancy Nelson; and her three brothers, Mark (Jan) Nelson, Eric (Anna) Nelson, and Matthew (Stephanie) Nelson.
Funeral services were held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, in Sunset Funeral Home Chapel. Graveside services with military honors followed in Sunset Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Therapy Dog International, 88 Bartley Flanders Road B, Flanders NJ 07836; Wiregrass Church, 900 West Main Street, Dothan, AL 36301; and Windham Elementary School, 200 Heritage Dr, Daleville, AL 36322.