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Published: Tuesday, 10/29/2013

Jack D. Batesole [1934-2013]; Vet’s niche: Restoring military machinery

BY MARLENEHARRIS-TAYLOR
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Batesole Batesole
HANDOUT NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

FREMONT — Jack Delton Batesole, a Korean War veteran who was well-known throughout the Fremont area for his love of history and skill at restoring military vehicles, died Saturday in Bethesda Care Center, Fremont. He was 79.

Mr. Batesole of Helena, Ohio, suffered a stroke in March, and he never fully recovered, according to his daughter, Kathy Batesole.

Mr. Batesole worked as pipefitter and welder for Warner Plumbing and Heating for many years, but his real passion was restoring military machinery such as airplanes.

“He also loved restoring military Jeeps. He had three: One from Korea, one from Vietnam, and one from World War II,” said Ms. Batesole. She said one of his great joys was displaying the restored Jeeps in parades and at other celebrations for veterans.

Mr. Batesole and his wife, Norma Jean, would ride in one Jeep and his best friend for more than 50 years, Gary Cooper, would ride in one of the other Jeeps with his wife, Mary Lou.

“We served in the military together. We were assigned to the same battalion but different companies in the Army,” Mr. Cooper said. “I was sitting there when he took his last breath. He was a super swell guy.”

The two men were instrumental in the founding of the North Coast Veterans Memorial and Museum in Williams Park in Gibsonburg. The museum is full of war memorabilia dating back to the Civil War.

“He was a historian. I always told him this was his second time in this life, to know all the things about history he knew,” said Mr. Cooper.

Mr. Batesole was also a part of the volunteer group that is working to restore the LuLu Belle, a World War II-era DC-3 plane at the Fremont Airport. He donated his World War II Jeep to the project. His daughter said it’s used as a jump to crank up the plane’s engine.

“It really bothered him that he didn’t get see the end of the restoration of the Lulu Belle,” she said.

Born March 9, 1934, in Fremont to Richard and Daisy Batesole, he attended high school there but dropped out when he was only 17 to join the Army. When he returned from the Army in 1953, Mr. Batesole married Norma Jean Floro on Sept. 19 of that year.

Mr. Batesole and his wife moved 11 miles away to a 69-acre farm in Helena to raise their three girls.

After retiring from his pipefitters job, Mr. Batesole obtained a pilot’s license and purchased a four-seat Cessna 172 airplane.

“I would ride with him in the plane all the time. It was great. We would fly around the countryside and around the islands or wherever the winds took us that day,” said Mr. Cooper.

When his wife died in 2010, Mr. Batesole seemed to fall out of love with flying and sold his plane. Friends and family said he seemed to lose interest in almost everything at that point.

“He was ready to go and see her,” Mr. Cooper said.

Surviving are three daughters, Carol Holbert, Patty Schank, and Kathy Batesole; one granddaughter, and two great grandsons.

Visitation will be from noon-2 p.m. Wednesday at the Herman-Kinn-Karlovetz Funeral Home, Fremont, where services will begin at 2 p.m. The family suggests tributes to the Stein Hospice in Sandusky or to Bethesda Care Center in Fremont.

Contact Marlene Harris-Taylor at: mtaylor@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.



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