Leaders offer prayers, support after death of Eula Battle, first lady of Huntsville

Learn more about Mrs. Battle's extraordinary life

Posted: Oct 20, 2020 4:36 PM
Updated: Oct 20, 2020 4:54 PM

Messages of condolence have been coming in since Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle on Tuesday morning announced the death of his wife, Eula Catherine Sammons Battle.

Learn more about Mrs. Battle's extraordinary life HERE, go HERE to leave your own condolences to her family and friends, and read messages from North Alabama and state officials below.

Eula Battle (Photo from city of Huntsville)

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey

I’m saddened to hear of the passing of Eula Battle. She was a loving and supportive wife to Mayor Battle, and as he refers to her, his “best friend.” I extend my deepest sympathies and prayers to their family in this hard season.

Staff and Board Members at Free 2 Teach (Mrs. Battle was a co-founder and executive director)

Words cannot express the deep sorrow we feel today at the passing of our Executive Director, Eula Battle. We celebrate this amazing woman who brought so many people together. She was incredibly funny, smart, generous and loving. Her joy was contagious and her love for people so evident in the way she lived her life. In our deep sadness, it is with a sense of pride that we reflect on the magnitude of the impact of her work and the responsibility of completing the work that is yet to come. It is our privilege to remember her well in our ongoing commitment to Free 2 Teach and the children and teachers we serve.

Amidst our sadness, we take comfort in knowing that Eula’s significant impact on our community will be felt for years to come. Eula dedicated her life to making Madison County a better place to learn and live. Through her decades of first-hand teaching experience, Eula saw her fellow teachers spend thousands of dollars out of pocket to provide low-income students with the necessary paper, crayons and other supplies they needed to complete their work. Eula knew that teachers would always sacrifice their own comfort in order to see each one of their students succeed. She believed that the gift of a simple pencil in the hands of a child was a powerful investment in the community’s future. From this deep passion for teachers, students, and the future of our community, Eula co-founded Free 2 Teach in 2011.

Eula identified a critical need and jumped into action with a clear view of her responsibility: “Students need supplies to learn. Teachers need tools to teach. Our community needs young people to drive our future.”

Since 2011, under Eula’s direction, Free 2 Teach has provided approximately $545 per teacher, per shop, in free classroom resources. Today, this number adds up to over $7.2 million dollars’ worth of essential supplies put directly into the hands of underserved students. Eula’s dedication and single-minded commitment to students have saved teachers and parents thousands of dollars annually, particularly those working and learning in lower income areas where resources and opportunities are limited. Teachers shopping the Free 2 Teach store regularly express the profound impact that Free 2 Teach has had on their ability to reach and engage with their classrooms without an added financial burden to themselves.

The most profound way for us to express our thanks to Eula is to share the incredible stories of impact Eula has made possible, and to continue in our commitment to achieve her vision. All of us who live in Madison County owe Eula a debt of gratitude for lifting us, and our students, to show what is possible when a community comes together to meet a need.

Our staff and Board of Directors thank you for your love and support toward the Battle family today and in the days to come. We miss our incredible, kind and fearless leader, and our dedication to her vision is unwavering. To make a donation to Free 2 Teach in memory of Eula, go to www.free-2-teach.org/donate.

City of Madison

The City of Madison sends condolences to Mayor Battle and his family after the passing of his beloved wife, Eula.

Mayor Paul Finley writes, “Our deepest condolences to Mayor Battle and the entire Battle family for the loss of an incredible lady, Eula Battle. In addition to being a fantastic First Lady of Huntsville her focus on supporting our educators by starting Free to Teach positively impacted thousands of classrooms throughout Madison County. We love you and wrap our arms around you during this time.”

Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth

The Tennessee Valley lost one of its most dedicated community leaders with the passing of Eula Battle. Eula devoted her life to teaching and provided her students with valuable lessons that they carry to this day. Kendall and I send our prayers of condolence to the Battle family.

Limestone County Commission Chairman Collin Daly

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and his family during this time. Eula Battle made a lasting impression on our community and our hearts. She will be deeply missed.”

Alabama House of Representatives Republican Caucus

Alabama House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R - Rainsville) released the following statement on Tuesday regarding the passing of Eula Battle, the wife of Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and a devoted community leader in her own right:

“Serving in elected office requires a full-time commitment not only from the candidate whose name goes on the ballot, but also from the spouse who loves and supports them. Eula Battle played that important supportive role for Mayor Tommy Battle for many years, and the love they shared was apparent to all who were around them.

Eula was also a devoted community leader and education advocate whose work to provide free supplies to Tennessee Valley public school teachers did much to improve the classroom instruction and learning opportunities for countless students.

On behalf of the House Republican Caucus, our prayers of comfort and healing go out to Mayor Battle and the family and friends that Eula leaves behind.”

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones

Mayor Battle has been a great friend since our college days at the University of Alabama and my heart goes out to him today. Louise and I send our condolences to him and his family, and to the greater Huntsville community

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks

Martha & I extend our deepest heartfelt sympathies to the entire Battle family as they grieve the loss of Eula Battle. Eula’s tremendous legacy will be felt for decades as her kindness & charity ripple through the many lives she touched. May God’s peace be with the Battle family.

Madison County Schools Superintendent Allen Perkins

We would like to offer our condolences to Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle on the passing of his wife, Eula. Mrs. Battle taught in the Madison County School System for 22 years and after her retirement, continued to support teachers and education through her Free2Teach organization. We admired her dedication to education and her community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Battle family.

Huntsville Hospital

We are sad to hear the news of the passing of Eula Battle, wife of Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. We express our deepest sympathies and prayers to Tommy and his family. Eula was a remarkable woman and community volunteer. She made a difference in many lives and will be missed.

Alabama Speaker of the House Rep. Mac McCutheon

“We mourn the death of Eula Battle. A devoted wife, mother, and grandmother and a much-admired fixture in the Huntsville community, Eula was also known as a compassionate educator and humble servant who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of teachers and students throughout the Tennessee Valley region.

Eula has been at Mayor Battle’s side since his time on the Huntsville City Council and first bid for mayor, and she played pivotal roles in each of his campaigns—garnering support for her husband, promoting the City of Huntsville, and never meeting a stranger along the way.

Charitable acts and generosity were Eula's trademarks, and her presence in the Huntsville community will be dearly missed. My wife, Debbie, and I lost a true friend with the passing of Eula, and I pray that God provides comfort to Mayor Battle and his family during this time of mourning.”

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