Betty N. Batchelor

Published 12:37 pm Thursday, December 7, 2017


CHARLOTTE, NC – Betty Nethercutt Batchelor, Professor of English at Chowan College for 35 years, died in Charlotte on December 4. She taught at Chowan College (now Chowan University) in Murfreesboro, N.C., from 1961 until she retired in 1996. She later contracted spinal lymphoma and was left paralyzed from the waist down.

Batchelor was born in Kenansville in 1924. Her father, Leonard Nethercutt, was a barber who moved his family to Rocky Mount in 1927. Her mother, born Geneva Jackson, grew up in Beulaville in a farming family. Betty visited her relatives in Beulaville as a child and often as an adult.


Her childhood in Rocky Mount took place in the Great Depression. She attended Rocky Mount High School, playing clarinet in the band. She enrolled at Atlantic Christian College in 1942, graduating in three years in the midst of World War II. She drove the college school bus to pay for her tuition.

She pursued higher education diligently. She earned a Master’s Degree in English at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1950, taking courses in Spanish also, while teaching as well at Nashville High School. Washington Irving served as her thesis topic. She then taught high school in Kinston until 1952. She met Victor Batchelor of Nashville, a seminary student, and they married.

While living in Wake Forest, she taught at Youngsville High. Victor attended Southeastern; when he became a Baptist minister the couple lived first in Monroe, then Ahoskie. They had three sons: David, Paul and Jonathan. The marriage ended in 1962.

Bruce Whitaker, President of Chowan, invited her to join the faculty in 1961. She taught English to thousands of students, including ESL to foreign students. She traveled to Mexico twice for courses that led to a Masters in Spanish. She retired from her career in 1996. Chowan gave her a Certificate of Outstanding Teaching.

She overcame cancer and fought to learn to walk again.

She was a member of Women’s Missionary Union and Murfreesboro Baptist Church where she taught Sunday School. Later she joined Rocky Mount First Baptist Church where she also taught Sunday School. She lived in Charlotte with Jonathan and daughter-in-law Janet during her last years.

She is survived by sons David and his wife, Laurie; Jonathan and his wife, Janet; Paul, and granddaughter Jenna.

Graveside services will be held on Friday, December 8 at 3 p.m. at Gethsemane Cemetery in Charlotte. (704) 596-5417.