Columbus-born Jackie Gingrich, Newt Gingrich's first wife, dies in Atlanta

Columbus-born Jackie Gingrich, politician Newt Gingrich's first wife, died Wednesday in Atlanta. She was 77.

Newt Gingrich met Jackie Battley, his first wife, when he was a senior at Baker High School in Columbus, according to an essay by one of their daughters. Battley was a math teacher at the school. The couple started dating when Gingrich was in college, she writes.

Here's the obituary from Almon Funeral Home and Chapel in Carrollton, Ga.


Jacqueline May Battley Gingrich died Wednesday in Atlanta, Georgia. She was 77.

From her birth, on February 21, 1936, in Columbus to Linda May Clay and Wilbur Allen Battley, her family and friends called her Jackie.

The eldest of four children, she raced through Auburn College, earning a degree in mathematics in just three years so her sister Carol could start college right after high school.

Strong in her belief in God, she credited prayer, as well as medicine, for saving her life numerous times. For decades, she served as a deacon and a volunteer at the First Baptist Church in Carrollton. She loved her church, her red hat ladies, bridge club, retired teachers lunch bunch and investment group.

Jackie taught mathematics at high schools in South Georgia, ending her career at Carrollton High School. She taught for over 20 years. She retired near the time when her grandchildren were born in order to spend time with them. Jackie spent her last year near them at the William Breman Jewish Home in Atlanta, where she made friends, baked bread and loved her physical therapy.

Smart, spunky, determined, funny, a fighter — she had sparkling blue eyes, a constant smile on her face and loved her family and friends. She was the first in her family to graduate from college and, at a time when math was considered by many to be a man’s field, was often the only woman in her college math classes.

Her marriage, to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, ended in divorce.

Jackie is survived by her daughters Kathy Gingrich Lubbers and Jackie Gingrich Cushman, sons-in-law Paul Lubbers and Jimmy Cushman, Jr., grandchildren Maggie and Robert Cushman, sister and brother-in-law Carol and Gene Edenfield, their extended family, and Gloria (her cousin) and Terry Turner.

Pallbearers include nephews Larry and Lee Edenfield, Butch Battley; family friends Kevin Matthews and Robert Nolan; and fellow teacher Lee Burson.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at First Baptist Church, Carrollton. Visitation will be Friday from 5 - 8 p.m at Almon Funeral Home in Carrollton.

Donations may be made in lieu of flowers if desired to either First Baptist Church Carrollton, Georgia; or American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org).

Messages of condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.almonfuneralhome.com.

Almon Funeral Home of Carrollton has charge of arrangements.