Batey Gresham, co-founder of Gresham Smith, dies at age 88

Batey Gresham, co-founder of Gresham Smith, passed away last week at age 88.
Batey Gresham, co-founder of Gresham Smith, passed away last week at age 88.(Gresham Smith)
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 5:37 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Batey M. Gresham, one of the founders of Gresham Smith, has passed away at age 88, the company announced on Monday.

“Our hearts are heavy today,” Gresham Smith CEO Rodney Chester said in a news release. “Our firm, our profession and our communities have lost a leader who inspired and impacted so many. His long term influence is nearly impossible to measure, not just because he was one of our founders, but because his dedication, values and genuine love for both employees and clients truly defined our culture and what we stand for as a firm. We all owe Batey and his wife, Ann, a debt of gratitude for a lifetime of service.”

Gresham received his Bachelor of Architecture from Auburn University in 1957. He served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as first lieutenant from 1957-1959, and as a captain from 1961-1962.

Batey Gresham, along with Fleming “Flem” W. Smith Jr. founded Gresham and Smith Architects (now Gresham Smith) in 1967. One of the firm’s first clients was the newly formed Hospital Corporation of America.

“While most architects were solo practitioners in the mid-1960s, we chose an alternate path,” co-founder Flem Smith said in a news release. “We were soon bringing people into our organization who had skillsets and talents that we didn’t have so we could serve a wider range of clients. Batey excelled in this search.”

Gresham was an active member of the Nashville and engineering professional communities. A registered architect in Alabama and Tennessee, he served in roles with several professional organizations, including the Middle Tennessee chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Tennessee Society of Architects, the Construction Specifications Institute, the Urban Land Institute, the National Association of Corporate Real Estate Executives, the National Association of Industrial Office Parks, the Young Presidents Organization and the Chief Executives Organization.

Gresham died Saturday in Auburn, Alabama. He was born April 5, 1934, in Lebanon, Tennessee, to Mr. and Mrs. Batey Gresham Sr., who preceded him in death. After graduating from Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, he enrolled in Auburn University in 1952.

Gresham met his future wife, Ann Weaver, at Auburn and they were married on Nov. 6, 1957.

Batey is survived by his wife of 64 years, Ann. In addition, he is survived by family members including Barbara Higgins (Bill) of Auburn and his Chi Omega “daughters” Suzanne Rich Miller (Rhett) of Dallas; Anne Johnson Schultz (George) of Nashville; Anna Funderburk Buckner (Bo) of Auburn; and grandchildren Anne Miller Morris (Michael), Rhett Anderson Miller IV (Morgan) and J.R. Buckner. Great grandchildren Jack William Morris and Catherine Anne Morris.

There will be a private funeral service for Batey Gresham this week. The service will be followed by a reception for family and friends on Wednesday, Aug. 10 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Fig and Ivy in Auburn, Alabama.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to the Auburn University Foundation – Ann and Batey Gresham Professorship in the College of Architecture (317 S. College St., Auburn, Alabama, 36830) or the charity of your choice.

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