Laurie Aker and Valerie Batt, the two sisters of David Batt, the former City of South Pasadena finance director who retired in 2018 and passed away shortly afterwards, recently rented a U-Haul truck and drove it from San Diego to donate their brother’s massive personal book collection to the city’s local library.
They were accompanied by Canan Aker, one of David’s nieces. The trio made the trek knowing “that David would’ve wanted his books to come to the library,” said Aker.
All of the boxes have been neatly stacked for the volunteers of the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library Bookstore who will be selling them over the coming months in their 7-day per week shop on the second floor of the library. They will be sorting, organizing, and pricing the books for their daily and special book sales. Because David was a professional musician, it’s anticipated that the collection in particularly strong on books about music.
Batt passed away on October 25, 2018 at age 64. On December 8, a celebration of life was conducted in the library community room that was attended by his family, friends, and colleagues, many of whom offered reminiscences and reflections.
Beautiful floral arrangements were provided by City Hall and the Police Department and Councilmembers were present. David had served as the City’s Finance Director since 2014 and previously served as the City’s Assistant Finance Director and Interim Finance Director from 2007 to 2014.
Besides his career as a financial administrator, David was also a very accomplished performing and recording musician. He was known to many classical piano fans under his own name, as well as to many New Age musicc lovers, near and far, as Yrsan Daro, a name he once confided that he chose because he thought it sounded mysterious. In all, he recorded 6 CDs. One of the Batt CDs was partially recorded during live performances before appreciative audiences on the Library Carnegie Stage of the Eclectic Music Festival in 2012 and 2013.
David Batt was born in South Dakota, but moved to New England with his family when he was 3. His mother was an opera singer, concert violinist, and actress while his father was a doctor and clarinetist. Not surprisingly, David’s siblings are very artistic as well.
In fact, everyone in his family had at least some involvement in theater, acting, or singing, although David is the only family member to professionally work in music. By the time he was 14, young David had already been taking piano lessons for more than a decade.
David always felt that music and theater would be important aspects of his life. Nevertheless, when he was young, he planned a career in medicine or the sciences.
After obtaining a degree in psychology and completing a year of graduate work in the neurosciences, David skipped out on the Ph.D. program, deciding he wanted to do something different. After that, David played in jazz, rock, and blues bands. During the late 70s he also composed, performed, and directed music for many theatrical productions in San Diego.
This article was written and produced by Steve Fjeldsted, Director of the South Pasadena Public Library