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Kenneth Babbitt

1943 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Kenneth Babbitt Obituary
KENNETH BABBITT Kenneth Homer Babbitt was born in Avon, Illinois, on Dec. 22, 1943, and died at his home in Capay, California, on Feb. 24, 2015. He was 71 years old. He drew great happiness from his family, friends and the world around him, and will be remembered always as a kind and caring man who was both selfless and generous in his actions, embracing life with a big heart and folksy personality. Ken was proud of having worked nearly 40 years in state service, starting with six years in the California Department of Forestry before entering the California Highway Patrol Academy and graduating as a traffic officer, badge No. 6674, in 1968. He began his 33-year career in Baldwin Park and worked in Los Angeles, Marin, Willows and Cottonwood before retiring in 2001. He loved to swap stories about his CHP days, which included jobs as a motorcycle officer, commercial officer and member of the Multi-Accident Invest-igation Team. He was honored to have served on the Board of Directors for California Association of Highway Patrolmen. During and after his career in law enforcement, Ken was a passionate farmer; co-founding a hay delivery business with his son Jeff, raising cattle, and keeping a meticulous 15-acre walnut orchard. He was a member of the Glenn-Colusa Cattlemen Association and for many years produced registered Angus cattle, annually consigning at the Red Bluff Bull & Gelding Sale. Ken cherished his animals, and was so tenderhearted he would sometimes tear up recalling a favorite old cow. Border collies and cats were his constant sidekicks. An esteemed Orland old-timer, he loved his community. He was a decades-long member of the Orland Volunteer Fire Department, 4-H leader and regular buyer of kids' livestock at local fairs. He also was a member of Chico Elks Lodge #423. Ken was an earnest conservative and patriot who often sported a State of Jefferson ball cap. He was active in water-usage politics, fighting to protect the rights to Northern California's most precious resource. Affable and affectionate, Ken was friends with everyone, so, naturally, he relished events like a community spaghetti feed. He may have welded you a barrel cooker, built your child a rocking horse, or volunteered his weekend in service of your home-improvement project. He was a gifted craftsman with wood and iron, attentive to every detail of his never-ending projects. He once built his own house, which still stands today on County Road 99 in Orland. His shop and his orchard, where he could admire the beauty of his own handy-work, were places he found peace. In addition to being a walking encyclopedia of practical know-how, Ken was a history buff. He was also a licensed pilot, flying a Mooney four-seat plane in the 1970's and 80's. Keen on conversation, Ken had a genuine interest in other people. He reveled in taking friends for a drive in the countryside, and dispensing popcorn at Yule Logs shows. A true gentleman, he may have been the last person in the world who habitually tipped his hat in greeting. Many will remember his welcoming smile, the twinkle in his eye and the firm grip when he shook your hand. A faithful Christian, Ken loved the Lord and the people with whom he worshiped at the Chico Church of Christ. When he led prayers at family meals, all could tell what a humble, grateful man he was. In 2010, Ken was the recipient of a heart transplant. Bittersweetly, the new heart came from a once-vibrant, healthy teenager named Warren. Ken thought of him often and strove to be worthy of the gift, embracing life with newfound zeal. He had a powerful drive to survive, and he deeply appreciated his brilliant, compassionate caregivers at UCSF and Enloe Medical Center. He leaves behind his wife of 20 years, Glenda Babbitt; his children, Marty Parker and Shelby White; his cherished in-laws, Ray and Sally Swett, Randy and Debbie Swett, Matt White, and Marsha Babbitt; his best friend, Lanny Morrison; and grandchildren Hannah, Colby, Riley, Parker and Reese. He is preceded in death by his children Jeff Babbitt and Debbie Braidman. A celebration of life will be held at 11:AM on April 11th at the Capay School, 7504 Cutting Ave, Orland. All are welcome. Donations may be made in Ken's name to the Orland Volunteer Fire Department.
Published in Chico Enterprise-Record on Mar. 4, 2015
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