In Memoriam: Janice Reis Battee


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death July 15, 2005 of Janice Reis Battee of East Falmouth at JML Care Center in Falmouth after a long battle with cancer. She was 74.

Born March 17, 1931 in Fall River, MA, Janice A. Reis grew up in New Bedford and was graduated from New Bedford High School in 1949. She moved to New York and worked for the Gramatan National Bank from February to November 1953, moving to California at the end of that year to work as a bookkeeper and assistant office manager for the advertising agency Smalley, Levitt & Smith Inc. in Los Angeles.  She returned to New York in 1957 and worked as a bookkeeper for Whitaker Pharmacy, Inc. in Hartsdale from 1957 to 1961.

After moving to Falmouth in 1961, Jan joined the Institution staff as a bookkeeper in May 1961, working for Harvey MacKillop in Challenger. She was named Payroll Clerk in 1968, promoted to Payroll Supervisor in 1971 and to Payroll Administrator in 1977.  She retired from WHOI in July 1986, returning on as casual basis in 1989 to work with Shelley Dawicki and the Public Information Office staff during the first few years of the Jason Project.  Jan ran the volunteer program, worked in the Exhibit Center and helped coordinate the 20,000 student and public visitors who watched the project’s two weeks of live broadcasts each year at Redfield Auditorium and the Exhibit Center. She remained in a casual status at WHOI until June 1997.

While at the Institution she was an active member of the Women’s Committee and the Graded and Marine Personnel Committee, but is perhaps best remembered for serving as a mentor and teacher to many young women who joined the Challenger staff, often right out of high school. Jan wanted them to learn the “WHOI way” right from the start of their employment, and she was a den mother of sorts to many other young women at the Institution, prodding them to get active in Institution activities to meet people or join local civic organizations and contribute to the community. Until recently she joined the former staff of the Payroll Office for an annual luncheon, and attended other Institution events.

After retiring from WHOI in 1986 Jan worked at St. Anthony’s Rectory in East Falmouth as a bookkeeper part time for several years. She was also a longtime member and officer of the Falmouth Business & Professional Women’s Organization, serving as president three times and as a district and state officer. She was active in other community organizations, continuing work for domestic violence awareness, one of her BPW programs. She was a past chair of the Board of Directors for Volunteer in Public Schools (VIPS) in Falmouth, past president of Falmouth Band Parents and the Falmouth Theater Guild, a Camp Fire Girls leader, member of the Upper Cape Domestic Violence Committee, and a member of the “Save Highfield” committee.

Survivors include her husband, Howard Battee of East Falmouth; two daughters, Shelly Battee of Mashpee and Terry Thompson of Marshfield; and a granddaughter, Leslie Burghardt of Mashpee.

A funeral mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 26, in St. Anthony’s Church, 167 East Falmouth Highway (Route 28) in East Falmouth.

Donations in Jan Battee's memory may be made to the Falmouth Service Center, P. O. Box 208, Falmouth, MA 02541.


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Janice Reis Battee