BATTLES Francis P., 73, of Plymouth, who taught mathematics for more than 40 years and was the longest tenured professor at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy when he retired a few years ago, died suddenly Tuesday at Beth Israel Hospital, Plymouth. Mr. Battles was also active for many years in Alcoholics Anonymous and his friend and neighbor, Dave Walsh, also of Plymouth, said, “He sponsored and helped a number of people over the years and for someone who was a quiet guy, he was so loved.” Walsh added, “He was like the Pied Piper of AA. You could go to Oshkosh and he would know someone at the meeting there.” Another friend and colleague at the Maritime in Plymouth, Malcolm McGregor, said Mr. Battles was famous for writing on the blackboard with both hands. But one of Mr. Battles great passions was the outdoors. “He loved mountain climbing, canoeing and hiking.” Jack Callahan of Bristol, N.H., another longtime colleague at the Academy, said, “He was one of the smartest guys I’ve ever known and he had one of the quickest wits. One time we were having dinner and Malcolm pulled out a $20 bill out of his pocket and said, ‘I’ll pay for this,’ and Frank said, ‘Are you sure those are your pants?’” Mr. Battles was also well respected in the academic community. In 1998, the Mathematical Association of America established the Francis P. Battles Lecture Series in his honor. The lectures were held annually in colleges and universities across the country. Mr. Battles was born in Medford, the son of the late Francis and Agnes (McAteer) Battles. He was graduated from St. Mary’s High in Lynn, Merrimack College in Andover and earned his Ph.D from Tufts University. He leaves his wife of 49 years, Janet (Cronk); two sons, Sean of Waltham and Brian of Plymouth; his sister Patricia Gavin of Norwood; three grandchildren, Christian, Emma and Katie; and several nieces and nephews. A funeral Mass will be celebrated Tuesday at 11 a.m., in St. Bonaventure’s Church in Plymouth (Manomet) followed by burial in Vine Hills Cemetery, in Plymouth. Visiting hours in the Davis Funeral Home 619 State Rd, Plymouth (Manomet) on Monday from 5 -8 pm. More info and online guestbook please visit www.cartmelldavis.com.
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Davis Funeral Home & Cremation
619 State Road
Plymouth (Manomet), MA 02360
Published in Boston Herald on Aug. 29, 2015