Harold C Babcock
March 14, 1924 -
June 10, 2013
Harold Chester Babcock passed away on Monday, June 10th at home with his daughter, Nellie Jo, at his side after a brief struggle with age related issues. His final wishes were to ensure the welfare of his family, friends and his beloved Camelot Village. Harold will be especially missed for his good humor, wit and gentle kindness. Since he fancied himself an old cowboy, it is fitting that he passed at precisely 12:00: high noon.
Harold has been a resident of Eugene, Oregon since 1971 when he was hired as University of Oregon's Physical Plant Director; a position he maintained until
his retirement in 1989. Harold had a long and
distinguished career as Physical Plant Director: starting at Northern Montana College 1952 - 1966 (Havre, Montana), St Andrews Presbyterian College 1966 - 1971 (Laurinburg, North Carolina) and University of Oregon 1971 - 1989 (Eugene, OR). Many service organizations benefited from Harold's participation and leadership
over the years, including Kiwanis and Rotary. In 1988 Harold and his wife, Pat Babcock, opened Camelot Manufactured Home Village, a project near and dear to their hearts which they planned, built and developed over many years.
Born in Missoula to Montana farmers, William Stanley Babcock and Albertine Paulina Hanke, Harold had three siblings: Richard S, Leonard W, and Lenora L James, all of whom have preceded him in death. By age 3, the
family had settled in Butte, Montana where Harold's parents remained the rest of their lives. Harry was
raised in a world of miners, cowboys and railroaders. At age 14 he worked the summer in Wisdom, Montana, taking care of horses on a cattle ranch. He purchased two items with his earnings: a bicycle for his little sister and a cowboy hat for himself. This hat has been his prize possession for 75 years. Harold graduated from Butte High School in 1942, enlisting in the US Army immediately afterwards. He served his country in Italy in WWII as an Army "Gooney Bird Pilot", receiving his commission and wings at only 19 years of age. He retired from the Army Reserves in 1984 at the rank of Major. Harold's Army experiences were near and dear to his heart. Harold graduated from Montana State University in 1952 and received a Master of Education Degree from Montana State in 1961, specializing in Physical Plant Administration.
At age 16, Harold met his future wife Patsy Ann Alexander. They were high school sweethearts, became military bride and groom in 1943, and were married for nearly 60 years before his Patsy passed away. They had one child, Nellie Jo Babcock (Krenk) who has worked closely with Harold for the past 16 years.
His entire career, Harold was "inventing" devices to make life easier or the environment cleaner. In North Carolina he remodeled a golf cart for a disabled student and dear friend, allowing her to drive around campus independently. He then taught driver's education to disabled students enabling them to obtain driver's licenses. He brought to U of O his commitment to the challenges
of people confined to wheelchairs. During his tenure there, Harold worked with the mayor of Eugene to have curb ramps installed on campus and was instrumental in the City of Eugene's efforts to install ramps as well as elevators and electric doors, well before government regulations required these accommodations. He also created a devise to allow disabled students to bowl.
Love and devotion to family, relatives and friends were the cornerstones of Harold's life. He was the world's greatest tease, as those closest to him can attest to. And
he was generous to a fault. As witnessed by his daughter, when dining in restaurants or in line at a grocery store, Harold was very likely to pick out a family who he decided might be in need of a break and quietly leave money for their meal or their groceries on his way out. These anonymous acts of kindness speak volumes about who Harold was. In lieu of donations or flowers, please pass on this lovely tradition. Surprise someone in need with your generosity.
A memorial service in Harold's honor will be held at Camelot Village Recreation Center, Sunday July 21st, 2013 at 1:00 PM. In a tradition of the First Unitarian Church, feel free to bring a flower for a community bouquet and you may take a flower as you leave.
Mr. B, Harold, Harry, Chester, Uncle Harry,
Granddaddy, Daddy, or just Big Guy; whatever you
called him he had a smile and a word for you. He was near and dear to so very many and left a big space in this world to fill. His survivors include his daughter Nellie Jo (Chris Krenk) of Lake Oswego; his grandchildren Hanna Babcock-Krenk (Scott) , Elliot Babcock-Krenk and Miranda Babcock-Krenk; his nephew, Bill Babcock (Karen), niece, Joanne Smith, cousin Kathleen Perrin (Robert); nephew Christopher Waugh (Deborah), and many great-nieces and nephews including: Marcia Lee Fisher (Nick), Billie Fisher Navarrete (Eric), Brianna Fisher (Derek), Alex Waugh, Madison Waugh, Dyontae Navarrete and Miley Navarrete.
Published in Eugene Register-Guard on June 23, 2013