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Gabriel John Batarseh

April 13, 1932 ~ February 9, 2022 (age 89)

Obituary

Gabriel John Batarseh, 89, of Florence, South Carolina, died Wednesday, February 9, 2022. Gabriel, the son of Hanna and Helaneh Batarseh, was born in Jaffa, Palestine, and grew up in the Batarseh ancestral home in Bethlehem and in Jerusalem.

He received his foundational education in French, English and Arabic at the College des Freres in Jerusalem until he became a refugee as a result of the 1948 war. The family immigrated to Egypt, where Gabriel taught himself numerous senior level subjects. He felt that his most satisfying success in life came from then being able to pass the London Matriculation and teach four other young people to do the same, enabling them to enter university.

He then furthered his education at Middle East College in Beirut, Lebanon, and taught at the Friends Boys School in Ramallah, Jordan. Eventually he made his way to the University of South Carolina, where he earned his master’s degree and doctorate.

The highlights of Gabriel’s career included his work as Director of Developmental Services at the Coastal Center –Department of Disabilities and Special Needs and as Assistant Regional Director, then Regional Director, SC Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, Pee Dee Region.

 Over the years he taught psychology and education courses at various universities and was, for twenty years after his retirement, an adjunct professor of psychology at Francis Marion University.

 Dr. Batarseh served as chair of the State Board of Examiners in Psychology in 1986 and was a member of the Human Services Advisory Board, Florence/Darlington Technical College.

He was active in both church and community, serving in many leadership roles at All Saints Episcopal Church and on the mission council at St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church.  He was president of the Pee Dee Kiwanis Club and volunteered as soccer coach for the city and the YMCA.

 He is survived by his wife of fifty-eight years, Lillian McCarter Batarseh of Florence; sons Mark Batarseh (Nancy Reuscher) of Falls Church, Virginia; and Matthew (Kristina King-Batarseh) of Eldersburg, Maryland; and daughter Leila Batarseh (Jonathan Sutton) of Auburn, Alabama, as well as beloved grandchildren Victor Sutton, Luke Batarseh, Isabella Batarseh, Ryan King and Caroline King.

Entombment at Florence Memorial Gardens was arranged by Cain Calcutt Funeral Home and took place on February 11, 2022, with immediate family members present and prayers led by the Rev. Eunice Dunlap. A funeral will be held at a later date.

Although predeceased by Gabriel’s dear sister and brother, Hilda B. Barakat and Dr. Samir Batarseh, there remain to cherish his memory: brothers Dr. Victor Batarseh (Marcelle) and Nabil Batarseh (Guillermina), brother-in-law Dr. Adel Barakat, sister-in-law Bea Batarseh, and nine nieces and nephews.

Memorials may be made to St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church Building Fund, PMB #158, 1937 West Palmetto St., Florence, SC 29501 or online, choose the DJM Building Fund at https://www.stcatherinesepiscopal.com/give-now.html.

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