Former Tribal Council Chairman Kevin P. Battise, 56, of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas has walked on. He was in a tragic car accident on Wednesday, June 29.
“The Tribe lost a great leader, and his contributions to advance the Tribe continue to be appreciated by many,” reads a post on the tribe’s Facebook page.
The eldest child of Lester Dooley Battise Sr. and Frances Sylestine Battise, Kevin attended Woodville Public Schools in Texas. He played football and baseball for the Woodville Eagles and the Alabama-Coushatta Indians teams in the Tyler County Baseball leagues. As a teenager, he spent summers working at the tribe’s tourism program and the tribe’s outdoor amphitheater.
Kevin graduated from Kirby High School in Woodville, Texas in 1979, and enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1981 in Houston, Texas. While in the Air Force he obtained an Outstanding Unit Award, an A-F Training Ribbon, an A-F Overseas Service Long Tour Ribbon, and an A-F Good Conduct Medal.
Kevin was first elected to serve his people as a Tribal Council member in 1998, while he was working for Lucent Technologies in Houston, Texas. When he was elected chairman, he took a leave of absence from his job to fully devote his time to his duties as council chairman. During his time as chairman, the National Indian Gaming Association gave him a leadership award.
“Kevin was a selfless tribal leader who worked extensively toward improving the quality of life for the people of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas,” says a release from the tribe.
After he served his tribe, he worked for Lockheed Martin in Lufkin, Texas and was promoted to work in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. At the time of his death he worked for L3 in Greenville, Texas.
Kevin is survived by his wife, Joetta Walters-Battise of Mesquite, Texas; stepdaughter, Justine Wood, mother, Frances Sylestine Battise of Livingston, Texas, sister and brother in law, Vicki and Ricky Yellowfish of Dallas, Texas, sister, Teresa Jo Battise of Livingston, Texas and many cherished family and friends.