Service defined career

Dr. Louis Battey was considered "a visionary" by his fellow doctors and "a cheerleader" for Augusta by his friends.

Dr. Louis L. Battey, a longtime medical and civic leader, died Monday after a long illness. He was 84.


Dr. Battey was one of the community's first cardiologists, founding Cardiovascular Associates of Augusta. Cardiologist Ray Johnson, who practiced with him for 20 years, said he continually amazed colleagues with his ability to stay current with the latest trends and technology throughout his more than 50-year career.

"He was always looking for new things, and he loved to read and keep up," Dr. Johnson said.

Dr. Battey, a member of Augusta National Golf Club, was among those who helped care for former President Eisenhower when he had a heart attack on the course in 1965. Dr. Battey told colleagues that the former president was whisked to St. Joseph Hospital, which then had the only local defibrillator, which was the size of a washing machine. He was going to be transferred to Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center from there.

"They took that 'washing machine' and put it in the ambulance and went out to Eisenhower, and Louis rode out in the ambulance with him," Dr. Johnson said.

There is a photo at Dr. Battey's home with a personal inscription from the former president, thanking him for his care, Dr. Johnson said.

Longtime cardiologist Albert A. Carr said Dr. Battey befriended him when Dr. Carr arrived in 1967.

"He was a Southern gentleman," Dr. Carr said. "I think he was a visionary in high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. He was ahead of his time in thinking about things in a profound way."

Dr. Battey was also very involved in the community. When investors were putting together the financing for the Riverfront Center, Dr. Battey volunteered to lease an office in the building to help get it built, longtime friend and neighbor Monty Osteen said.

"He did it personally," Mr. Osteen said. "He didn't need an office there. He loved this community. He paid $6,000 a year for the privilege of sitting around the Augusta Tomorrow table. Louis Battey did that for 20 years. He was an individual member, not a corporate member. It came out of his pocket. He was a cheerleader in everything we took on, checkbook in hand. He was not afraid to invest."

Dr. Battey also served on the boards of the Morris Museum of Art, the National Science Center, Georgia Railroad Bank & Trust, Aquinas High School and Augusta Federal Savings and Loan Association. He was a member of the Augusta Assembly and the Kiwanis Club.

Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday in Summerville Cemetery. Platt's Funeral Home, Crawford Avenue, is in charge of arrangements.

Reach Tom Corwin and Sylvia Cooper at (706) 724-0851, or