Raymond E. Batten, 83, a retired DuPont Co. supervisor, home builder, and health store owner, formerly of Gloucester County, died of complications from emphysema on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at Indian River Medical Center in Vero Beach, Fla.
After graduating from Pitman High School in 1946, Mr. Batten became an apprentice mechanic at the DuPont plant in Carneys Point, Salem County. He remained with DuPont for 36 years, retiring as senior supervisor for storage and transport.
In his spare time, Mr. Batten did home improvements for neighbors. Eventually, he began to build houses in the Mullica Hill area for friends and as investments.
He also built a home for his family. He cleared the land, dug the cellar, laid the roof and did all the cabinetry and electrical work, said his son, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Raymond Batten. He left the plumbing to his best friend, Joe Klosterman, his son said.
From 1970 to 1979, Mr. Batten co-owned and operated the Vital Health Food store in Glassboro.
He and his wife, Doris, met at the Franklinville Roller Skating Rink and married in 1950. They lived in Mullica Hill from 1958 to 1969, then in Avalon and Turnersville.
After he left DuPont, Mr. Batten and his wife divided their time between homes in Camelback in the Poconos and later in Stowe, Vt., and North Hutchinson Island, Fla.
He enjoyed fishing and water and snow skiing. In 1965, he and Klosterman won the Hancock's Harbor Shark Fishing Competition, landing a 375-pound shark at ebb tide 50 feet off the boardwalk in Fortescue, Cumberland County.
In retirement, Mr. Batten and his wife became licensed pilots and flew their Cessna 172 throughout the Northeast from Cross Keys Airport in Gloucester County.
"He was self-made, ambitious, fiercely loyal, quietly compassionate, and frequently self-deprecating," his son said. "His love of music - particularly country - guided him through some of life's more challenging moments.".
In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Batten is survived by a daughter, Karen Schnee; a sister; seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held in the spring at Franklinville United Methodist Church, where Mr. Batten was married.