The Babbitt family and our community have lost a cherished member.
Ken Babbitt was born in Los Angeles on August 9,1936, the eldest of six children of Paul J. and Frances Perry Babbitt: Bruce (Hattie), Paul (Mary), Charles (Eleanor), Jim (Helene) and Christine. Ken came to Flagstaff with his family in 1945. He graduated from Saint Anthony's Academy, Flagstaff High School and Regis University in Denver. Ken loved to ski and was a ski team member in high school and college. Upon graduation, he went to work as an accountant in the general offices of Babbitt Brothers.
Ken, along with his boyhood friend, Paul Sweitzer, enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve. Ken served aboard the destroyer escort U.S.S. Forrester in the South Pacific. During his tour of duty he and his shipmates witnessed some of the first atomic bomb tests near Bikini Atoll. Radiation exposure from those tests left Ken and many other sailors with lifelong health problems. For many years he was a proud member of the National Association of Atomic Veterans, a group formed to support and advocate for military members.
After his military service Ken returned to Flagstaff to work in the family company's wholesale division. He had many friends in the building and construction trades. He was also very active in Nativity Catholic Church, becoming a deacon in later years.
Ken lived simply, was generous to a fault, and had an unforgettable and sometimes inscrutable sense of humor. He had a huge heart and was always looking out for the less fortunate among us.
He volunteered at the Flagstaff Family Food Center, and provided many families with lodging and transportation assistance.
Ken happily lived the last ten years of his life at The Peaks where he was warmly cared for. For more than six years his constant caretakers were Missy Ivey and her dog Ping.
Ken's was the essence of a life lived for others.