David S. Babylon, 82, served on Westminster's council

August 25, 2006|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,sun reporter

David S. Babylon, a retired accountant who had served for many years on the Westminster Common Council and was known for his detailed knowledge of the city, died of emphysema Tuesday at his home. He was 82.

With Carroll County family roots dating back for generations, Mr. Babylon was born in Westminster. He remained in his boyhood home on Willis Street until the end of his life.

He was a 1941 graduate of Valley Forge Military Academy, and interrupted his studies at Gettysburg College to enlist in the Army during World War II. He attained the rank of captain.

Mr. Babylon earned a bachelor's degree in economics at Gettysburg in 1948, and established Cunocar Bookkeeping Service.

"He had a green former diaper delivery truck, which he outfitted with an old typewriter, desk and adding machine, and drove it right up to the front door of his clients," said a daughter, Sarah B. Dorrance of Mount Airy.

By 1962, Mr. Babylon gave up his motorized rolling office and set up on Main Street, where he worked as an accountant and, with his wife, as a tax preparer. He retired in 1986.

A Republican, Mr. Babylon was first elected to the Westminster Common Council in 1964. He served for a quarter-century, including 16 years as its president.

"He was a tremendous man to work with. He had a huge knowledge base of the city, and any time an issue came up, we could turn to Dave, who could give us the necessary history and background," said Sam Greenholtz, who had served with Mr. Babylon.

"It made the decision-making process a whole lot easier. Westminster was his pride and joy, and he was always a great ambassador for the city," Mr. Greenholtz said.

Mr. Babylon was so influential and respected by his colleagues that they called him "Father Dave."

"He brought a great deal of continuity to the council, had a willingness to serve and wanted to share his expertise," Carroll County Circuit Judge Thomas F. Stansfield said yesterday.

"He believed in public service and was constantly drilling into our heads that we have to give something back," said former Westminster Mayor Kevin E. Dayhoff, who is married to one of Mr. Babylon's daughters.

Mr. Babylon was a conservative Republican who believed in sound fiscal policies.

"He wanted the taxpayers to get the biggest bang for their buck and was always saying, `It's not our money. It's the taxpayers','" said Mr. Dayhoff, now a columnist for the Westminster Eagle newspaper.

During his career, Mr. Babylon oversaw the purchase by the city of the Westminster Water Works Co., and helped obtain federal funds to realign Liberty, Bond and John streets and Railroad Avenue.

He also was a leader in changes that included the replacement of a Works Progress Administration-era wastewater treatment plant, installation of a new sewer system, expansion of the police force, rebuilding of the Green Street bridge and completion of major renovations to City Hall.

"He always took the long view and continually asked, `How can we do better?' And he got things done in a most gentlemanly way," Mr. Dayhoff said.

He had served as a director of Carroll County Bank and Trust Co., and on the boards of Mason-Dixon Bankshares and Westminster Hardware Co.

Mr. Babylon was a member of American Legion Post 31, the Westminster Elks, Westminster Lions Club and the Westminster Riding Club.

Another lifelong interest was Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1, which he joined in 1949 and over the ensuing years had served as its secretary and treasurer.

It was Mr. Babylon's habit to visit the Main Street fire station each morning and flip a silver dollar to see who was going to pay for coffee.

"He had been born in 1923 and carried a well-worn 1923 silver dollar, and you couldn't really tell who had heads or tails," Mr. Dayhoff said.

In addition, Mr. Babylon was seldom without a pocketful of raffle tickets that he sold to raise funds for the fire company. He also kept a scanner in his home so he could monitor fire calls, family members said.

While he enjoyed collecting beer cans, Mr. Babylon also liked to sip an occasional glass of Cutty Sark scotch. He also collected firefighting memorabilia.

Mr. Babylon was a longtime active member of Grace Lutheran Church at 21 Carroll St. in Westminster, where a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. tomorrow.

Also surviving are his college sweetheart and wife of 58 years, the former Grace Evelyn Fluck; a son, William T. Babylon of Anchorage, Alaska; two other daughters, Marian Babylon Rognlien of Nokesville, Va., and Caroline Babylon of Westminster; and six grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Ellie Baublitz contributed to this article.

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