Chautauqua Hall of Fame Inductee: George P. Bataitis

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George P. Bataitis
George P. Bataitis

George Bataitis was born Sept. 1, 1927, in Syracuse, N.Y. George was orphaned at the age of 8 years old. He attended the House of Providence, Christian Brothers Academy and graduated from the Most Holy Rosary School in Syracuse in 1944. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College in 1953 and a master’s degree at SUNY Buffalo in 1965.

George served his country as a veteran of the U.S. Navy during World War II as a submariner on the USS Raquin.

Bataitis came to Jamestown in 1954 to accept a job as the physical education director at the Boys’ Club. Two years later he was hired at Jamestown Community College, which at the time, was located next door to the Boys’ Club on Allen Street. The Boys’ Club facility was used by the college for its physical education programming.

He was the athletic director at Jamestown Community College for the next 33 years. He taught physical education and served as interim dean of students. He also was the basketball, baseball, bowling and golf coach for many years. Bataitis was part of the JCC administrative team that relocated the college to its current Falconer Street location in 1962.
Because of his significant impact in the development and growth of the athletic programs at the college, he was fondly regarded as “The Father of JCC Athletics.” He retired in 1988.

Bataitis received the JCC Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1979 and 1984. He received the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1984.

His favorite hobby was playing golf, and upon George’s retirement from JCC, the George Bataitis Open Golf Tournament was formed to fund the George Bataitis Athletic Fund. This fund provides scholarships for male and female athletes attending JCC.

He was presented the John D. Hamilton Humanitarian Award by the JCC Foundation in 2008.

He died October 11, 2014 in Jamestown.