WESTMINSTER - Former Westminster city councilman and president David S. Babylon Jr. remembers going in a tuxedo to finalize a sewer project.

"We were doing a sewer line and were having trouble getting the right of way from this party, so the man called up one day and said we (the committee) could meet him at 5:30 or 6 in the evening," Babylon said.

"We all had a formal ball to go to that night, but we all met him in our tuxedos and he signed the contract right then and there. That's when he could meet us, so that's when we went."

The 67-year-old retiree laughed at the memory of working in a tuxedo, but sobered as he noted it was just part of doing what had to be done to get the job finished.

He recalled another time the city was trying to get a road blacktopped, but couldn't because it didn't have an inspector to oversee the work.

"(Councilman) Elder Hare said he qualified as an inspector, and he went out and stayed there and got the road blacktopped," Babylon said, laughing again.

From May 1964 until May 1989, Babylon did what he thought was necessary to keep his city running smoothly, from early morning on-site meetings to late-night council sessions.

"The committees worked together on the council," he said. "We'd meet at the site of a problem to see what was wrong, look it over. We'd have some judgment from various people and the department heads, and we'd get these things solved."

Of course, he admitted, this was back when more people involved in the city government worked in the county and could make the odd-hour meetings.

Babylon was self-employed as an accountant and tax preparer and lived only one block from City Hall, so he was close to many happenings around town.

In fact, being born and raised in Westminster was why he got started in local government, he said.

"As a young member of the community and a business member of the community, I took an interest in the activity in the city. And as an interested person, I thought I'd better file and run for the council," Babylon said. "I did and was elected."

In 1973 he was elected president of the council, a position he kept until he retired last year.

It was during his tenure as a councilman that the city realized the need for planning for future growth, and added managerial positions and various departments, such as public works, finance and a city clerk.

Babylon also noted that the city police department has grown from only four officers in 1964 to a staff of 30.

As councilman, Babylon was part of such projects as improvements to city streets, the rebuilding of the Green Street bridge and the installation of a storm drain system.

"Westminster used to be seven separate little communities that eventually made up the city, but that was before my time," he said. "(Back then) there was no planning for these kinds of things."

After Babylon became a councilman, the city purchased the water company, increased its sewer service area and built the sewer plant, which it is now expanding.

The city also built four water storage tanks so it wouldn't have to depend solely on the reservoir for its water supply and installed heavier power transmission lines.

The council also "provided much more parking for the city. That's always a problem," he said.

Two years ago, Babylon decided he would not run for re-election in 1989. The year before, he sold his accounting business and retired.

After graduating from Gettysburg College in 1948 with a bachelor's degree in business and accounting, Babylon started his accounting and tax firm in 1949.

He became active in a number of civic organizations and other businesses, in many of which he still retains a leadership role.

He and his wife of 42 years, Evelyn, 64, are both active in Grace Lutheran Church, where she sings in the choir.

For many years, Babylon was an active volunteer with the Westminster Fire Co., not only as a firefighter, but also as treasurer for 25 years.

He has been president and secretary-treasurer of the Westminster Lions Club. He belongs to American Legion Post 31 and the Elks Lodge.

For the past 25 years, Babylon also has served on the board of directors for the Piney Branch Golf and Country Club, in which he was an initial investor.

A long-time member of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, as well as a treasurer of the board of directors, he still attends many chamber activities around the county.

Asked why he took on so many treasurer posts, Babylon laughed again.

"That's where your expertise is, and so you help them out," he said.

Accounting also drew him into the Carroll County Bank and Trust Co., where he has been on the board of directors since 1961. He calls the bank one of his current major activities.

Additionally, he still retains some activity in the city government through chairmanship of the Ethics Committee.

In 1983, Babylon underwent a quadruple bypass heart operation, for which he still takes medication.

"Walking or climbing doesn't go well with me," he noted.

Thus, he said, his decision to retire at 65 and do other things he enjoys, such as traveling with Evelyn. The couple has visited Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, England, South America, Canada, Hawaii and Alaska.

The Babylons have four children: Marion Rognlein, 40, of Manassas, Va.; William T. Babylon, 39, an Army major stationed in Brussels, Belgium; Caroline Babylon, 36, of Westminster; and Sarah Dorrance, 29, of Mount Airy.

They have five grandchildren, with a sixth on the way in January, Babylon added proudly.

When he and Evelyn aren't traveling, visiting their children or keeping their grandchildren, they may enjoy an occasional theater show or symphony, he said.

Days that he's in town, he'll meet friends for coffee "just to shoot the breeze."

Otherwise life is quiet for this public servant who took on an elective office simply because he knew the city and wanted to help.

"I have no specific plans but to enjoy life, my grandchildren and travel," Babylon said.

Copyright The Baltimore Sun 1990

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