|Birth: ||Sep. 18, 1916|
|Death: ||Jan. 10, 1999|
By Gwendolyn Crump
NEWPORT NEWS - Retired Newport News Circuit Court Judge Fred W. Bateman
died at his home Sunday after being ill for several months, his son
Stuart Bateman said.
He was 82.
"Judge Bateman's entire career was marked by serving others as a lawyer,
judge, and member of the legislature," said Gary Nachman, president of
the Newport News Bar Association. "His booming voice, serious manner,
and knowledge of the law always brought dignity to the legal
In September, the Newport News Bar Association honored Mr. Bateman as
the first recipient of its lifetime service award.
Mr. Bateman was a state senator from 1959 to 1967. His tenure in the
legislature ended when another Bateman - Herbert, now a U.S. Congressman
from Newport News and no relation - challenged and won.
While a legislator, Fred Bateman worked on several powerful committees,
including Finance, Courts of Justice and Roads.
Mr. Bateman devoted his professional life until 1981 to the practice of
law. He was a past president of the Newport News Bar and the Virginia
State Bar, was chairman of the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission
and was the founding chairman of the criminal law section of the state
Mr. Bateman became a judge in 1981 and served as for eight years, until
his retirement at the age of 72.
He was the youngest of eight children. He was born in Roper, N.C.,
graduated from Wake Forest University and received his law degree from
the University of North Carolina.
He joined the Navy after the attack at Pearl Harbor, was commissioned
and served as a line officer on ships in the South Pacific.
Mr. Bateman met Frances Sondag, a young naval officer who outranked him,
and they were married in 1944. Mrs. Bateman died in 1978. They had one
son, Michael Stuart, born in 1946, who is now a Newport News attorney.
Mr. Bateman is also survived by a sister, M.B. Harrison, who lives in
After the war the Batemans moved to Chicago, where Frances had attended
college. One winter was enough for the North Carolina native, and the
Batemans moved to Richmond in 1947.
In 1952, the family moved to what was then Warwick County. Mr. Bateman
joined the law firm of Newman, Allaun and Downing.
His office was originally in Hilton Village on a site now a part of
First United Methodist Church. Behind his office was the Warwick Police
Station, where he met a young police officer named Randolph T. West.
West later attended law school and eventually became Mr. Bateman's
West is now a Newport News Circuit Court judge. He said Mr. Bateman was
a father figure to him. "He encouraged me to go to law school," West
said. "He gave me my first job."
In 1957, Mr. Bateman served as campaign manager when his law partner Tom
Downing ran for Congress.
Downing said that Mr. Bateman's death is the passing of an era. "Every
lawyer in Newport News respected Judge Bateman," Downing said. "When he
gave a decision they knew it was based on justice and equity."
After retiring, Mr. Bateman served as a substitute judge at the circuit
court and appellate levels.
Newport News attorney Harry Atkinson said that Mr. Bateman had the
reputation for being a tough judge.
"It is our loss," Atkinson said. "He was the greatest guy I ever knew."
Stuart Bateman said his father was proud that he had a role in the
application of each part of the judicial process. His recreational
reading included the Supreme Court advance sheets.
Stuart Bateman said arrangements for his father's funeral are
incomplete. Peninsula Funeral Home is handling the services.
Nicodemus Dean Bateman (1865 - 1957)
Eloise Tarkington Bateman (1876 - 1968)
Frances Sondag Bateman (1912 - 1978)
Mary Pearl Bateman Davenport (1894 - 1970)**
Joseph Bruce Bateman (1897 - 1959)**
Joseph Bruce Bateman (1897 - 1959)**
Louis Stanton Bateman (1900 - 1980)**
Raymond Dean Bateman (1904 - 1986)**
Sabra Lovie Bateman (1907 - 1968)**
Fred William Bateman (1916 - 1999)
Scuppernong Church of Christ Cemetery
North Carolina, USA
Created by: S Bontempo
Record added: Sep 15, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 41981883