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David John Billeter


1930 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
David John Billeter Obituary
June 10, 1930 - August 29, 2015 Born in Pasadena and died at home in Altadena, California. David was very proud of his Swiss and German heritage. His father, Paul Edward Billeter, was a Professor at Pasadena City College. His mother, Lydia Emma Freitag, was born in Hamburg, Germany. His older brother, James Edward Billeter, predeceased him. David is survived by his younger brother Paul Richard Billeter of Kingwood, Texas, and four nieces: Debra Billeter Baldwin of Kapolei, Hawaii; Karen Billeter Burns of Cypress, Texas; Michelle Billeter Leighton of Cortland, Nebraska; and Kristin Billeter Alden of The Woodlands, Texas. His musical training was at Occidental College where he majored in organ. His principal teachers were Clarence Mader and David Craighead. An Army Veteran of the Korean War, he continued playing the organ in Japan and Korea as Chaplain's Assistant before returning in 1952, to devote his career to music in the Episcopal Church, beginning with his position at St. Edmund's Parish in San Marino, California. He also served as organist and often choirmaster at St. Luke's, Monrovia, sixteen years at Church of the Ascension, Sierra Madre, and retired in 1996 after twenty years as Organist-Choirmaster at Saint Mark's, Altadena. An Associate since 1952 of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, the oldest monastic community for men in the Anglican Community, David chose a career in banking and was an executive at several area banking institutions prior to his retirement from Sanwa Bank in 1983. An avid traveler and aficionado of European pipe organs, David devoted himself to exploring the organ worlds of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He was recently honored by the American Guild of Organists for his lifetime of service. One of the highlights of David's career was a successful campaign to place a world-class Karl Wilhelm built tracker organ at Saint Mark's, and he continued to act as unofficial "curator" of the instrument after his retirement, as well as promoting musical events featuring the organ at concerts sponsored by Saint Mark's. Since 1958 David lived with several generations of dachshunds, his adored "Dackele," at his Frank Lloyd Wright inspired residence, designed by architect James E. De Long. David's life will be celebrated at a sacred music filled memorial service at 10 AM, Saturday, November 14, 2015 at his final beloved parish home, Saint James' in the City Episcopal Church, 3903 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90010, and gifts may be made to the music ministry of the Parish, as well as to the organ maintenance fund at Saint Mark's Parish, 1014 East Altadena Drive, Altadena, California 91001.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 1, 2015
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