PASSAGES: ROBERT BATTENFIELD, LA MESA ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS PROFESSIONAL

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By Miriam Raftery

November 20, 2018 (La Mesa) – A prominent advertising and communications expert for many years who later became a powerhouse in local nonprofits as their voice in the community, Robert Power “Bob” Battenfield died September 30th at his home of myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasms (MDS/MPNs), a leukemia-like illness. 

A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 24 at 11 a.m. at the Fletcher Hills Presbyterian Church.

Born June 28, 1938, Battenfield gained leadership experience early in life at Hoover High School as president of the class of 1956, also serving as sports editor, newsletter editor and “On the Field with Battenfield” columnist. At San Diego State University, he became news editor of the Daily Aztec and president of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.  He graduated from SDSU in 1961 and obtained his masters in journalism from Northwestern University in 1962. 

From 1962 to 1965, he served as an information officer in the U.S. Air Force in Turkey. Subsequently he went to work for Teledyne Ryan Aeronatical as PR director, where Battenfield told the world about the success of the Ryan Aeronatuical soft landing gear deployed on Apollo 1 spacecraft. 

He later became director of marketing and advertising for Foodmaker, Inc., operator of Jack in the Box restaurants, where he was instrumental in development of memorable ad campaigns including  the "Too bigga eat" TV commercial. 

In 1979, he founded Bob Battenfield & Associates, a marketing, advertising and public relations firm in La Mesa that he ran until his retirement in 2010.  His notable clients included Drew Ford, Carl Burger Dodge and the Grossmont Healthcare District.

According to his obituary at Legacy.com, in retirement, he was acclaimed president-for-life by multiple organizations for his dedicated and good-natured leadership. He served as president of the La Mesa Kiwanis Club and after retirement continued to help to with publicity and events such as a recent murder-mystery dinner party, where he told ECM’s editor at the June production he hoped to see more young people join the organization. ““Like all service clubs, we are graying.” he opined.

Former Helix Water District general manager Bob Friedgen called Battenfield a “wonderful man,” writing at Legacy.com, “He always had a kind word for you and you could always rely on him being there for every Kiwanis project. He always took the time from his busy life to help you out…He was the volunteer extraordinare.”

A long-time active member of the Fletcher Hills Presbyterian Church, Battenfield is survived by his wife Patricia Boyle Battenfield, two sons, Scott Battenfield and Todd Wynward, daughter Heather Jensen, nine grandchildren and one great-grandson.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Baja Presbyterian Missions, 1958 Willowbrook Court, El Cajon, California 92019,  where Battenfield served as president for over 40 years.