BRANCHBURG, NJ - State Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman is inviting the public to attend a memorial service for his father, Raymond H. Bateman, at Raritan Valley Community College at 10:30 a.m on Saturday, July 9th.

Somerset County's elder statesman died June 25th. He was 88.

“It is my honor to invite the public to a memorial service for my father, Raymond Bateman, at his beloved Raritan Valley Community College,” Bateman said.

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“My father’s passion for expanding access to affordable, quality higher education touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of New Jersey students. It is fitting that we honor his legacy of dedicated public service at the institution he was proud to support for more than 40 years.

"On behalf of our family, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the RVCC community for helping us celebrate his life in such a special way.”

Raymond Bateman was born in Somerville on Oct. 29, 1927. He served for two decades in the New Jersey Legislature, including stints as Assistant Majority Leader and Majority Leader in the General Assembly, and as Assistant Majority Leader, Majority Leader. Bateman also served three terms as president of the Senate and more than 100 days as Acting Governor.

He was also the GOP gubernatorial candidate in 1977, losing the race to Gov. Brendan Byrne.

Bateman co-authored legislation creating New Jersey’s community college system. More than 350,000 students now attend community colleges across the state each year.

Following his legislative career, he served on the board of trustees at Raritan Valley Community College, the state’s first bi-county community college, for more than three decades. During his tenure on the board, Bateman played an instrumental role in the growth and expansion of the college.

Gov. Chris Christie has ordered that all American flags in the state be flown at half-staff July 9th in honor of Bateman's life of public service.

Raritan Valley Community College is located on Route 28 at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to North Branch Reformed Church, The Ray Bateman Student Center for Student Life and Leadership at RVCC, or the Pleasant Pond Protective Association.