City's first female firefighter dies

Connie Battle.jpg

Connie Battle


Staff Writer

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Family members remember Rocky Mount's first black female firefighter as a trailblazer and loving mother.

Connie Battle died Sept. 18 at Duke Hospital. She was 69.

While her years of service weren't immediately available, city officials said Battle served as Rocky Mount's first black female firefighter. She later worked for Drake Elevator Co., from which she retired.

She was married to Lorenza Battle for 51 years. The couple had one daughter, Janet V. Battle.

“My mother was very supportive of my dreams and visions and making sure I went to college,” Janet Battle said Friday. “My mother loved her husband and daughter.”

Janet Battle described her mother as being rooted in the community and very grounded.

Connie Battle was born in Nash County in 1948 and educated in Halifax County. She attended LaGuardia College in Queens then worked for the New York Telephone Co.

Battle returned to the Twin Counties and became an ordained elder of Evening Light Holiness Church.

“She always believed in doing more, being more,” Janet Battle said. “My mother was a very hard worker.”

Janet Battle said she remembers her mother working long shifts at the fire department and visiting her at different firehouses.

At the request of Councilman Andre Knight, Fire Chief Mike Varnell said information about Connie Battle would be added to the Rocky Mount Fire Museum on Church Street. Housed in the original No.2 Rocky Mount Station, the museum is home to more than 100 years of Rocky Mount Fire Department history.

This article has been updated.