50th ANNIVERSARY FACT: Who Is David Lawrence, Anyway?
August 8th, 2017
One in a series of articles focusing on the history of David Lawrence Center, which celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2018.
David Lawrence Center wasn’t always known by that name. Founded as the Collier County Mental Health Clinic in 1968, it didn’t take on its current name till the 1980s.
So who was David Lawrence? He was a young man who lost his life after a struggle with mental illness and addiction. His full name was David Lawrence Bathey, and his parents, Doug and Mercy Bathey, gave $200,000 to the clinic to buy a 10-acre parcel of land for a new campus on Golden Gate Parkway.
Not long after that, the clinic changed its name to David Lawrence Center in honor of the Batheys’ generosity and David’s legacy.
“We consider David Lawrence Center a member of our family,” Dick Bathey, David’s brother once said. “It makes our David’s loss less burdensome knowing that thousands of people have been treated and helped there. Our experience has been very rewarding and a great source of hope, pride, and fulfillment.”
The Bathey family, even in their passing, continue to support the work of the Center. Through a generous planned gift, the Bathey family and their estate have helped fund a variety of capital expansion projects and programs. Their support remains critical in helping to meet the mental health and substance abuse needs of Collier County.
Today, the Center now sits on Bathey Lane, after a new access road was installed in the front of the main campus property. In addition, a statue, bench and garden were erected in their family’s honor.