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People we know: Batt enjoyed two careers -- attorney and artist

Artwork on display at Marion Library

Managing editor

With each word carefully chosen, Dean Batt the attorney could articulate information to judges, juries, and clients.

With each careful stroke of a paintbrush, the artist Dean Batt could express his perspective of a horse in a field, a cowboy leaning against a fence, or the face of a family member.

“Dean had always been interested in portraits,” Batt’s wife, Bettie, said.

Artwork from the 87-year-old Batt’s collection is now on display at Marion City Library through Dec. 31.

Early on, Dean Batt would sketch on church bulletins, Bettie Batt said.

Always preferring oil painting to other mediums, Batt’s interest at first was portraits but soon expanded to other subjects.

In the Batt home, portraits of Batt’s parents, grandchildren, Bettie, and himself hang in hallways and rooms. Other portraits of Native Americans and cowboys, nature and wildlife scenes, buildings, and winter scenes cover walls throughout the home.

“Painting was going to be his retirement hobby,” Batt’s wife, Bettie, said.

And it was — for a time.

Batt retired in 1993 from the attorney partnership of Morse, Batt, Brookens, and Collett.

He attended workshops provided by Karen (Symes) Patton, formerly of Lincolnville, a renowned portrait artist. Batt also attended classes at Butler Community College to hone his skills.

Many of his works were shown at Marion County Fair, often winning prizes and recognition.

A special room in the couple’s basement — complete with a sink, easel, television, and a cot for napping — became Batt’s studio.

Batt’s prowess as an artist was being noticed. Local residents commissioned Batt to paint for them.

He enjoyed the full-time hobby until 1997 when Batt was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

One of the symptoms of the disease is trembling hands, an unfortunate twist of fate for someone who enjoys painting.

Batt continued to paint as long as he could until the disease made it too difficult.

An enlarger and other equipment and supplies were donated to Butler Community College when Batt no longer could enjoy his hobby.

About the Batts

Well-known in the Marion community, Marion native Dean Batt and Oklahoman Bettie Geis met while they were students at the University of Kansas. They were married in 1946.

Dean received his law degree in 1949. The couple returned to Marion and while the young attorney was becoming established, his wife taught school in Lincolnville.

He served several terms as Marion County attorney and opened an office in downtown Marion.

The couple have a daughter, Shelly Wiest. She and husband Paul live in Phoenix where the former college music teacher now gives private music lessons.

The Batts also have two grandchildren – Avery and Brady.

Currently, Dean resides at St. Luke Living Center, Marion, while Bettie maintains the family home.

Last modified Dec. 17, 2009

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