On the morning of April 6, 2015, Tim Milford Babcock passed away peacefully of natural causes after being with his family and friends. He was born Oct. 27, 1919, in Littlefork, Minn., to Erwin and Olive (Rinehart) Babcock. He grew up in Crackerbox Creek in Dawson County with his brothers, Donald “Bill” and Erwin “Wayne” Babcock, and sisters, Merle and Lois. After graduating from high school he moved to California, first selling pots and pans door to door and then working for Douglas Aircraft. He then convinced his high school sweetheart, Betty Lee, to marry him in a ceremony in Las Vegas on Sept. 21, 1941. Their love and patriotic partnership was put on hold by Betty’s passing in 2013, but are now reunited; as their great-granddaughter put it, “dancing together again.”
Shortly after they were married, Tim went to war. He served in the 2nd Battalion, E Company, 394th Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division, and fought in the “Battle of the Bulge.” He captured a German Officer and was awarded a Bronze star for heroism at the Remagen Bridge. After the war he returned to begin Babcock and Lee Trucking Company, had his second daughter, Marla, learned to fly and met many Montanans. He then went to work for Montana! Tim proudly served Montana as a state representative, lieutenant governor, governor, and representative of Montana at every GOP National Convention until 2012. He was a member of many service organizations, including The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Freemasons, Eagles, Elks, Rotary and Pachyderms. He was a mentor and inspired several young people to join the political arena.
Tim also inspired and supported his family. He led by example and stood behind them all in their individual endeavors. He embraced his family lovingly and unconditionally. He took them on many grand adventures and showed them how to work hard and appreciate what they had. He was a wonderful listener and a great question asker. His presence at the head of the table was cherished and will be missed.
Governor Babcock is survived by his sister Lois Halsey (Neil), brother Wayne (Vonnie), daughter Lorna Kuney (Bill), grandchildren Lee Ann Ruud (Monte), Tim Kuney (Tina), Ralph Kuney, Phoebe Winchester (Johnny), Mathew Fillinger and great-grandchildren Kate, Lizzy and Jon Ruud, Jack and Anna Kuney, Connor and Nevan Olson, Trace and Marlee Williams, Decklan Winchester, Cody, Dylan and Noemi Fillinger.
Whether remembered as governor, friend, brother, uncle, dad, or grandpa his dedication, beliefs, determination and love will be cherished.
Gov. Babcock will be lying in state on Friday, April 10, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Montana State Capitol Rotunda. A visitation will follow at Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home, 3750 N. Montana Ave., from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, April 10. A Funeral Service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, April 11, at Helena First Assembly of God Church, 2210 Dodge Ave., with burial with Military Honors to follow the service at Forestvale Cemetery. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Gov. Babcock.