Ernest "Ernie" Joseph Battinelli passed away on November 2, 2022 in Athens, GA.
Ernie was born in Malden, Massachusetts on December 10, 1959 to his loving parents, Catello Ernest Battinelli and Elizabeth Marie Lavelle Battinelli. He grew up in Somerville, MA where he met his wife of 38 years, Debora Ann Battinelli. They have two children, Daniel and Julia Battinelli.
The family moved from Massachusetts to Athens, GA in 1994, where Ernie opened his first restaurant, Clayton Street Deli, making a splash in town with his oversized sandwiches and Boston accent. He became widely known as “Uncle Ernie” throughout the Athens community because of his kindness and generosity. Ernie enjoyed a distinguished career in the restaurant business, leading to the opening of his catering business, Classic City Cafe Catering, serving the UGA Athletic Association for over two decades.
Those who worked with Ernie will remember him being constantly on-the-go, being sighted at Sam’s Club, and parking his white work van around town in his innovative, personally created parking spaces. He was a hardworking, passionate individual who strived for excellence in everything he did, personally and professionally. In 2019, he was awarded the Bill Powell Service Award by the UGA Athletic Association for exemplary service. He truly enjoyed his daily interactions with student athletes, faculty, staff, and administrators at the University of Georgia.
In his personal life, Ernie had a spontaneous and adventurous nature. He enjoyed traveling with his wife and two children, listening to live music, and attending concerts and the Broadway theater. Once an avid skier, ice hockey player and tennis player, he later enjoyed watching sporting events. He was a lover of animals, especially his grand-dog, Jack. He was an orchestrator of gathering people together and forming traditions for family and friends that will be honored for years to come. He most enjoyed gathering loved ones together to eat a “beautiful Italian dinner” while sharing bottles of wine and animated conversation. He had a big personality and even bigger heart, always putting the comfort and enjoyment of others before himself.
He is preceded in death by his father, Catello Ernest; sister, Josephine Marie “Jo-Marie”; and nephew Michael.
He is survived by his wife, Debora; son, Daniel (35), and daughter, Julia (30). He is also survived by his mother, Elizabeth Marie; brother, Catello; sister-in laws, Mary, Linda, Janice, and Jo-Ann; brother in-laws, Bobby, Larry, Jim; his nieces and nephews; and many long-time friends in Athens.
The family would like to thank the team at Piedmont Regional Hospital for their care and dedication, Ernie's catering team for their hard work, the UGA Athletic Association for making him a part of their family, and the Athens community for its outreach of love and support.
A visitation to honor Ernie will be held on Saturday, November 12 at Lord & Stephens Funeral Home in Watkinsville, GA from 10AM -12PM. The funeral will be a private ceremony with close family members at the UGA Catholic Center in Athens, GA.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorial donations to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
ERN, WE LOVE YOU AND YOU WILL BE FOREVER IN OUR HEARTS.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital - Battinelli
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105