The family of 20-year-old Joseph Battle, Sunday will remember him as a gentle, loving musician who was dedicated to his church and always there for those that needed him.
“Everyone loved him,” said his grandmother, Catherine Isaacs.
He was minister of music at New Paradise Church, on Fulton near Grand, where he directed the choir and never missed a Sunday, Isaacs said.
And the quiet young man who wanted to be a rapper and was studying to be a recording engineer at Touro College’s DMX program was always available to lend a hand, whether it was cleaning out the refrigerator for his grandmother or helping his friends with recording projects.
“He helps, he helps, he helps, he helps,” said his father, Joseph Wilson.
Although Joseph was quiet, from a young age he was an emotional rock to his family, his father said.
When Joseph was 4 years old, his parents split up.
“One day I was crying and he touched my hand and he said ‘we’ll be all right,’” Wilson said. “He always had that love in him. He always said, you can get better,” he added.
Wilson and Joseph moved in with Wilson’s girlfriend, Pamela Rivers, and the family lived together in Harlem until Joseph was 16.
“He was the joy of my life,” said Rivers, who remembers him as being a “beautiful” and “helpful” child who brightened people’s days with his “gorgeous smile.”
“He would just always know when something was wrong and he would make you laugh. And he would sing and he would just climb all over you and give you love and affection,” she added.
Joseph moved to live with his grandmother on Sterling Place between Classon and Franklin when he was 16 after some neighborhood kids broke his arm, his father said.
“He’s one of those fragile kids," his father said, adding that his general attitude was "I’ll fight you if I have to but I really don’t want to."
"He’s never been arrested, not even for a small thing like jumping a turnstile,” he added.
Police still have no suspects in the murder, which took either just outside or just inside the lobby of 709 Sterling Place, just before 7:49 p.m., according to an NYPD spokesman.
So while the police , the family continues to learn about the quiet young man who loved them all more than even they realized.
Last week, Joseph's father found poetry books in his room. He also discovered that his son had kept certificates and other keepsakes recording his father’s accomplishments.
And they discovered the young man had gotten a tattoo.
“He loved my mother so much that he had her name tattooed on his chest," he said.
"My mother never knew,” he said.
The funeral will take place Saturday, March 19, at Barrett Funeral Services, 427 Ralph Ave. (at Bergen Street) with a viewing from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and the service from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.