Funeral Services for Mr. Anthony “Breeze” Maurice Balentine, 70, of Decatur, AL will be 12:30PM Sunday at St. Stephens P.B. Church with Elder Christopher Collins officiating. The body will lie in repose 30 minutes prior to service. Public viewing will Saturday from 12:00PM until 5:00 at Reynolds Funeral Home.
Inhumation will be noon Monday, May 15, 2023 in Sterrs Cemetery.
Born to the late Betty Jean Balentine McKissic and William Floyd Kee, the world was introduced to Anthony Maurice Balentine on May 3, 1953. Our family members and friends can easily say that our world has never been the same because we had the privilege of knowing and loving the man we all called “Cool Breeze.”
Anthony was born and raised in Decatur, Alabama, and educated in the Decatur City School System, attending Cherry Street Elementary, Lakeside High, and Decatur High School. Our family has so many beautiful, yet comical, memories we could share about Anthony. During his early years, he decided to become an entrepreneur. Anthony frequently “borrowed” lumps of coal from his grandfather’s coal supply to sell to his cousin Charlie. The coal size determined the pay, ranging from a nickel to a quarter. It took “Daddy Leroy” a while to figure out why the family used so much coal. (LOL)
Anthony's grandparents, the late Eunice and Leroy Balentine ensured he faithfully attended Sunday worship services at Saint Stephens Primitive Baptist Church. Mama Eunice’s rule was “no church, no food.” Breeze did not want to miss that delicious steak, gravy, and biscuit breakfast, so missing church service was not an option. Anthony gave his life to Christ and was baptized in 1967, along with many of his friends. He loved to sing and willfully used his voice in the youth choir, blessing the congregations with songs like “At the Cross” and “Peace Be Still.”
Before the family knew he could sing, Breeze, performed in a Talent Show at Lakeside High School with some friends. One of his aunts hid down in the chair because she did not want to be embarrassed. Breeze sang “Tobacco Road” by Lou Rawls. He was the last performer, turning that place out with his voice and rendition of that song. Lou Rawls would have smiled along with his hiding aunt, who became the proud aunt after that performance. Anthony’s melodious voice also lullabied his younger sisters, Kim and Carolyn, to sleep many nights in their earlier years.
After graduating from Decatur High School in 1971, Anthony attended Alabama A&M University, where he graduated in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning. Anthony worked in various jobs in the Decatur-Huntsville area. However, he found his sweet spot when he returned to Alabama A&M University as a “Circulation Specialist” in the Learning Resource Center. Recalling his debonaire appearance and style, students grew to love "Mr. Balentine" as they spent hours preparing papers and performing their required research in the center. Anthony served in that position for more than twenty years until his retirement.
Anthony enjoyed his family, traveling, sports, meeting people, humor, and a good meal. He was an expert “Taste Tester” for his cousin, Michele. Whatever Michele canned or cooked, Breeze would be the first to taste or try it out and give his opinion. Michele said, “he always came back for seconds.” In fact, there was a running family bet on how many carryout trays Breeze would pack up after all our family gatherings. During his summer trips to Cleveland to visit his mother and sister, Karnitha “Nana,” Breeze ensured Nana served as his private travel guide. Rumor has it the guide was needed because, growing up, Breeze was known to be scary (LOL). Later in life, we would have to inquire about his location because he kept his bags packed for travel.
Anthony went home to be with the Lord on May 8, 2023. He leaves to cherish his memory his immediate family who he loved and was so proud of, his son, Ariel Jamal Harper “Jay,” his daughter-in-law, Doris Harper (Harvest, Alabama), and one grandson, Brandon J. Harper (Athens, Alabama). Anthony was blessed to also have a Bonus Mother, Clara Jean Johnson (Samuel), and six siblings, Leslie Lorenzo Kee, Decatur, Alabama, Karnitha McKissic, Harvest, Alabama, William Floyd Kee Jr., Carolyn Ayers (Roderick), Kimberly Harden (Wendell) all of Decatur, Alabama, and Roderick Swoopes, Hillsboro, Alabama.
Although four of Anthony’s aunts and uncles preceded him in death (George Balentine, Leroy “Sonny” Balentine, Mazie Hollingsworth, and Alfred Balentine), he leaves six aunts to share beautiful memories: Louise Woods, Cleveland, Ohio, Annie R. Harris, Decatur, Alabama, Eulylia G. Balentine, Huntsville, Alabama, Vernette R. Elliott (Anthony), Madison, Alabama, Annie Mae Balentine, Decatur, Alabama, and Mary Balentine, Dover, Delaware. Anthony’s nieces were the apple of his eye, and they will cherish all the loving but humorous times they spent together: Senequa McKissic, Monique Bankhead, Aunnah Ayers, Amelia Elliott (Martin), Andrea Ayers, Nadia Harden, Brina Harden, and Avis Fuqua. He also has two nephews, DeAndre McDaniel and Adrian Long, several great nieces and nephews, and a host of cousins and friends.
Additionally, Anthony had his extended family, whom he loved, having captured a special place in his heart. They include Terry Batts (Ethel), Harold Batts (Blannie) and Carl Batts (Renee), James “Action” Bridgeforth, and the Malone Family.
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