The Rev. Dr. Donald L. Batz entered the Kingdom of Heaven on November 28, 2023 in Lake Forest, Illinois. He touched the lives of thousands having served for 71 years as a pastor under appointment in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference and then following retirement in the Iowa and Indiana Conferences. He retired (again) in December 2021.
He was born on August 11, 1934 in Peoria, Illinois, the only child of Velma and Otto Batz. He attended Peoria Central High School and upon graduation in 1952, entered the United Methodist ministry at the age of 17, with his license to preach, as a pastor in DeWitt, Illinois and as a student at Illinois Wesleyan University from which he graduated in 1956.
As a seminary student at Garrett Biblical Institute in Evanston and later at the Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, he was appointed as an Associate Minister at the First United Methodist Church in Peoria, where he had attended as a youth. Upon graduation from Christian Theological Seminary in 1961 with a Master of Divinity degree, he was appointed to Chatham, Illinois and later to Centenary Church in Jacksonville, Illinois. While serving in Jacksonville, he returned to Christian Theological Seminary and received his Doctor of Ministry degree in 1971.
Other Illinois churches he served included Murphysboro, McNabb-Magnolia, Ransom, Peoria Bradley Epworth, Quincy Union, and Rock Island First from which he retired in 2004. Upon retirement, he served In the Iowa Conference in Camanche and DeWitt for nine years including three years as pastor of First Congregational Church of Clinton, Iowa. In 2014, he was appointed as pastor of Colfax United Methodist Church in Colfax, Indiana where he served for 5 years. He also served at Braceville United Methodist Church and Mazon United Methodist Church in Illinois for two years where he ‘officially’ retired from at age 87.
Two churches, Union, Quincy, in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference and St. Marks in Camanche, in the Iowa Conference, honored him as Pastor Emeritus. In 2012, he was the recipient of the Peter Cartwright award for outstanding service to the church in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
In conjunction with his ministry, he also taught courses for twenty-one years in Ethics, Philosophy and World Religions at three different community colleges at John Wood in Quincy, Illinois, Scott Community College in Bettendorf, Iowa, and Ivy Tech in Lafayette, Indiana.Though his greatest legacy is the infinite love he bestowed unfailingly to his treasured family including his beloved wife, Aleta Satterthwaite Batz, four children: Dr. Lisa McClure of Peoria, Illinois, Donnelle Pressburger of Normal, Illinois, Matthew Batz (Casey) of Campbell, California, and Dr. Cassondra Batz-Barbarich (Luke) of Libertyville, Illinois, three granddaughters: Jolie Kate Pressburger (21), Eden Nicole Pressburger (18), and Ella Rose Batz (6), and one grandson: Bennett LeRoy Barbarich (born November 27th).
He was preceded in death by his parents.
A visitation will be held on January 6th, 2024 from 1:00 pm until 3:00 pm followed by a memorial service at 3:00 at the First United Methodist Church in Peoria, Illinois. It will be officiated by Rev. Lori Kyle.