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Batten, Thurman Ross (Sonny)

In Memory Of Thurman Ross (Sonny) Batten
June 29, 1935 — November 24, 2000

Sonny Batten was born to Thunnan Pleasant Batten and Edith Grey Batten on June 29, 1935 near the little community of Micro. He graduated from Micro High School and then attended Campbell College. He spent ten years early in his career with the Agricultural and Stabilization Conservation Service in Warren County, NC before returning to Micro. Upon returning to his hometown he ran the Micro Oil Company. He grew to know and appreciate the area farmers, who returned to him to buy fertilizer, farm supplies, and fuel oil for curing tobacco.

He served many worthwhile causes and organizations. A member of Kenly Missionary Baptist Church for 31 years, he served as a Deacon and Chairman of the Board of Deacons, and chaired several pastoral selection committees. He served on the advisory council of Micro Elementary School and on the Board of Directors of Branch Banking and Trust, Smithfield, NC. He was a voter registrar for Micro Township and operated the polling precinct for a number of years. In 1996, he became the 18th inductee into the Johnston County Agricultural Hall of Fame. He served as president of the Johnston County Cattleman's Association, the Johnston County Youth Livestock Scholarship Fund, and the Johnston County Pork Cook-Off at the Benson Mule Days.

Sonny raised cattle for 25 years becoming famous for the quality of his stock. In 2000 alone he had cattle win awards in six counties in the state and at the N.C. State Fair he won Reserve Champion Steer and two Grand Champion Heifer awards in two different breeds. Additionally he had cattle at the Tennessee State Fair named Grand Champion Heifer; and at the Kentucky State Fair named Reserve Champion Heifer. Just weeks before his death he accomplished a lifetime dream by winning National Grand Champion Heifer at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky.

Sonny was known most for his involvement in youth organizations. He was a scoutmaster for over twenty years mentoring many boys to the rank of Eagle Scout. A longtime volunteer with the 4-H program, he was chairman of the Johnston County Youth Livestock Show Committee. In his roles with the 4-H program and the livestock show committee he continually encouraged the county's youth and their parents to participate in livestock shows.

Sonny and his wife Janice, whom he married on June 24, 1956, had two children; Thurman Ross Batten, Jr. (Sandy) born on May 21, 1957, and Jeffrey Hales Batten born on January 7, 1964. They also have three grandchildren; Michelle, Hillary, and Lawson Batten.

This memorial contribution made by Chris and Ellen Coates.

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