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Peter Erich Albrecht Babiy

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Peter Erich Albrecht Babiy Obituary
Peter Erich

Albrecht Babiy

AGE: 84 • Glen Mills

Peter Babiy passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on Sept. 22, 2015. But what an extraordinary life he lived! He was born in 1931 in Ithaca, NY, to Dr. & Mrs. Paul Peter Babiy of Vienna, Austria while his father was Curator of the Entomological Collection at Cornell University. He and his older sisters Edie and Tilli attended East Hill Grammar school until the family returned to Austria in 1939. There, Peter spent 11 remarkable years- first learning fluent German- then separated from his family during the War when schools moved children to the mountains, returning to work for the U.S. Army CID with his sisters and mother in occupied Salzburg. His vivid and sometimes even funny war-time adventures include being tracked down and rescued from Russian-occupied suburbs of Vienna and speaking English with no accent to stunned GIs. The friendships from that time have endured through generations, and annual reunions of his Austrian classmates still continue.

Following his sisters back to Ithaca in 1950, he started Cornell as a sophomore and joined Air Force ROTC, putting himself through college by working part-time, including driving an ambulance. He completed his MBA in 1955 from Cornell's S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management, and accepted a job with E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. Although working a mere six weeks before leaving for the Air Force, there he met fellow Ithacan Ruth Anne Miller, his future wife. After a brief courtship and an Ithaca wedding, they drove to Malden, MO, where Peter began flight school, followed by frequent moves with fellow pilots and their wives who became friends while in Lubbock and San Antonio, TX, West Palm Beach, FL, and Lincoln, NE, where their first son, Ted (Anne Marie Quinn) was born. Peter's final assignment was flying KC-97 tankers for SAC at the USAF's northernmost base at "The Top of the World," in Thule, Greenland.

His career in Textile Fibers with DuPont lasted 37 years, until retirement. During that time the family lived in Wilmington, DE where Helen-Anne (Brian Host) was born, then Charlotte, NC where they had their last child, Dan, then to Geneva, Switzerland five years before returning to Wilmington. The time overseas was especially nice, allowing frequent visits of Peter's parents in Salzburg and other family outside Vienna, hosting American friends and relatives, sightseeing through Europe, and ski trips to the Alps and Zermatt by train and sleigh.

He and "Ruthie" were married almost 60 years, with seven grandchildren: Katie, Brenna, Merritt, Parke, Clayton, Sheldon, and Holiday. Peter is also survived by his two sisters, Mrs. Edith Kingsley of Ft. Myers, FL and Mrs. Elisabeth Bennett of Nashville, TN, and many nieces, nephews, and their families.

Peter was a life-long volunteer; for many years teaching Sunday school, at the Saturday Breakfast Mission, as a Stephen Minister at Westminster Presbyterian Church, as President of the Presbytery of New Castle, and most recently at Spanish Point in Sarasota, FL during the six years he and Ruth lived there. Perhaps his fondest role was as a very active member and frequent President of the Austrian-American Society of Delaware, cherishing his heritage while allowing promising young musicians and singers from Delaware to attend the Mozarteum, in his beloved Salzburg.

Through his unusual and blessed life, Peter accomplished much and maintained many close friendships, though often at great distance. He loved to travel, (especially to Austria, where he enjoyed surprising locals with his flawless German), painting, and reading- especially about World War II. To those who knew him he was a quiet and humble man, steady and reassuring with an easy laugh; a loving and caring husband, father, brother, and friend. He was diagnosed with Lewy-Body and other dementias in 2012, and his final selfless act was to donate organs for neurological studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

A Memorial Service honoring Peter's life will be held on Friday, October 9, 2015 at 3 p.m. at Concord Presbyterian Church, 1800 Fairfax Blvd. Wilmington, Delaware, with interment later in Ithaca, NY. In lieu of flowers, contributions are gratefully accepted in Peter's memory by the Danby Rural Cemetery, c/o Sharon Boda, 43 Durfee Hill Rd., Ithaca, NY, 14850; or to Caring Hospice Services 400 Commerce Drive, Ste. C, Fort Washington, PA 19034, whose long and attentive care was a blessing to him and his family.

Finally, as Peter had inscribed on the headstone similar to his parents' in Salzburg, "Auf Wiedersehen..."

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Published in The News Journal from Sept. 26 to Sept. 28, 2015
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