Hundreds Mourn Beloved East Dance Coach Who ‘Bled Royal Blue’

Saturday, August 11, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Members of the Proviso East Pirateers dance in tribute to their coach, Tiffany Battle, who died on Aug. 3. Battle’s Aug. 11 funeral was held at Proviso East, her alma mater. | Photo: Proviso East Class of 2003 Fund 

Hundreds of people packed the auditorium at Proviso East High School, 807 S. 1st Ave. in Maywood, on Aug. 11 to celebrate the life of Tiffany Battle, 33, a beloved dance coach at the school who died on Aug. 3 from cervical cancer.

Battle, who graduated from Proviso East in 2003, was the coach of the Pirateers, the high school’s competitive dance team, and a board member of Gate Way Music and Arts — a Maywood nonprofit that offers musical education to local young people.

Jeremy Horn, who graduated with Battle, described the lifelong dancer as “a beautiful soul” who “bled royal blue and always showed nothing but the best,” echoing Proviso Township High School District 209’s motto.

Growing up, Battle honed her chops at Mr. Ernie’s Flip, Flop & Fly and Stairway of the Stars Dance Studio. She cultivated her soul at her Downers Grove church, But God Ministries, where she often brought her Pirateers.

During her eulogy, Tracey Young, Battle’s pastor, shared an anecdote that she said captured the lifelong dancer’s essence. Young said that last year she went to visit Battle days before she was scheduled to have surgery.

“I wanted to go over and talk to her just to see where she was mentally, physically and spiritually,” Young said. “I received something that truly blessed my soul.”

Young said that she was prepared to offer her parishioner a “kiss” and a “listening ear” for what the pastor thought would be the laments of a young woman in her prime justifiably angry with what was happening to her.

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Tiffany Battle, the Pirateers dance coach.  

“I thought Tiffany was going to share with me that she was mad at God,” Young recalled. “Tiffany didn’t give me that. She said, ‘Pastor, I want you to know I believe God. I got faith in God and I’m going to trust God until there’s no more fight left in me.’”

And then, Young said, Battle told her something “that blew” her mind and left her “speechless.”

“Tiffany says to me, ‘Pastor Tracey, if something should happen to me, ‘I want you to have my heart,’” the pastor recalled. “I said huh? She says, ‘No, Pastor Tracey I’m for real. I want you to have my heart.”

Young delivered Battle’s eulogy while wearing what looked like a purse. It was actually a left ventricular assist device — a mechanical pump that’s battery-operated and surgically implanted for patients with heart failure.

“I have been diagnosed with end stage heart failure and I’m in need of a transplant,” Young said. “What you see here has been beating my heart for the last six years. On paper, I should be dead. That’s why my passion is so great for God. Here [Tiffany] is in excruciating pain, suffering, but instead of thinking about herself, she was thinking about me.”

Young said that she quickly waived the offer.

“I said, ‘Baby girl, it’s little old you and big old me. I know your heart is big, but it’s not going to fit up in here,” she said, prompting laughter from the audience. “But the Holy Spirit said to me, ‘Why do you think it was so easy for her to say that?’”

Young cited Ezekiel 36:26 — “A new heart also will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you a heart of flesh.”

“The reason why it was so easy for Sister Tiffany to say this to me is because she wasn’t saying it with a natural heart, she was saying it with God’s heart,” Young said, before referencing Battle’s love of the Pirateers and her alma mater.

“This was the best place for this service to be held,” the pastor said, “because this is where Tiffany’s heart was. It was here at this school. It was here among these children.” VFP

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly noted that Battle graduated in 2013. She graduated in 2003. This post has since been updated. VFP regrets the error.  

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3 thoughts on “Hundreds Mourn Beloved East Dance Coach Who ‘Bled Royal Blue’”

  1. Thank you Michael for writing this article. It was an emotional home-going service, and she was loved by a lot of people, who she touched lives. Tiffany graduated in 2003, not 2013…the same year that I graduated from high school. Once again, thank you for writing this wonderful tribute. She will be missed. She definitely showed “Nothing But The Best.”

  2. Some people get you the moment you meet them. This woman had that about her. Her dedication was demonstrated at all the school functions where the pirateers performed. What brought us together was my son which did a penny fundraiser at school with her.They engaged in deep conversation about life, goals and reaching for the best. In a short time he grew fond of her, and she took the time to tell my wife that we have a son with a hunger for success and to believe in him, which we do. Its a shame their roads crossed towards the end of her Journey. She was a believer, and a seed planter, and those who sew will reap. Our prayers go out to her. Much love.

    1. SISCO KID: Wow! Thank you for sharing this post. That just shows what type of character Tiffany had, and she showed it. At her Home-going service at Proviso East, it put a smile to my face, the impact she had with a lot of people. She did her job, and very well.

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