Edmond Holt Babbitt III (Holt was preferred name) was 83 years old when he died at the Midwest Palliative Care and Hospice facility in Glenview, Illinois on Saturday, January 17, 2015. He died of complications following surgery and hospitalization at the Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Holt was born July 8, 1931 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His parents were Verneal Hunker Babbitt and the Reverend Edmond Holt Babbitt, Jr. Reverend Babbitt served Methodist churches including the Methodist church in Muskegon Heights and in Hastings, Mich. The family moved to East Grand Rapids and his father became District Superintendent of the Methodist churches in six counties. Holt grew and loved western Michigan and consequently felt the need to visit the “Big Lake” yearly. The family moved to Evanston, Ill. in 1947 as his father took an administrative job at the Methodist Church Headquarters in Chicago. His siblings Paul Hunker Babbitt and Barbara JoAnne Quigley have died. Margaret Fleming of Nevada City, California survives.
Holt married Sarah (Sally) Huber in December 1967 in the All Souls Unitarian church in Washington, D.C. They had a daughter, Edna (Edie) Marie. She, her husband Larry, and daughter Sarina survive. Holt had previously been married to Sheila (Terrie) Lang. His surviving two sons, Scott Martin of Driggs, Idaho (son Talon) and Steven Jon of Walla Walla, Washington (daughter Naomi) were from the first marriage.
Holt graduated from Evanston Illinois High School in 1947. He attended Kansas State University and Kalamazoo College. Neither school proved to be what he needed. Therefore, he was drafted into the Army in November 1952. He served for 23 months during the Korean Conflict and was stationed in Hanau, Germany and Orleans, France. He returned to Michigan and graduated from Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti with a B. A. in Sociology in 1958 and from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo with an M. A. in Social Sciences in 1960. He worked in the field of Substance Abuse in Grand Rapids Michigan, Mansfield, and Cincinnati, Ohio, and in the Peoria State Hospital of Bartonville, Ill. In 1967–68, he coordinated the 28th International Congress on Alcohol and Alcoholism in Washington, D.C. His next assignment was at the Veterans Administration Central Office working with a psychiatrist who was researching Librium as a treatment for Alcoholism. During the Vietnam War he became the civilian substance abuse adviser at Marine Corps Headquarters. After a return to Central Office of the Veterans Administration from 1973–76, he was assigned an administrative position working with Dr. Ben Tan at the Lyons VA Hospital in Lyons, N.J. There he coordinated treatment regimens for both Substance Abuse and Compulsive Gambling patients. Holt was adept at public speaking and was toastmaster at many retirement dinners at the Lyons, Va. He remained until retirement in 1992.
He resided with his family, Sally and Edie, in Somerset, N.J. The years in Somerset were filled with travel, wonderful friends and happiness. In 1993, Holt and Sally moved to Champaign, Ill. where Holt became active in the National Association of Retired Federal Employees and the Unitarian Universalist Church, participating in several writing groups and classes and surveying the coffee shops of the surrounding community. He interviewed and wrote 39 essays about volunteers for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. He loved to write. September of 1995 as he and Sally were walking to work as ticket takers for a football game at the U of IL stadium, he was struck by a car in the intersection of Fourth and Peabody. Severe injuries ensued which affected him the rest of his life.
Holt was a coffee drinker. He made an effort to rate the coffee houses in Champaign-Urbana and Café Kopi was his favorite for double espresso; Starbucks, a close second. The Pekara Cafe was a favorite stop for coffee and a cookie in the afternoon. He was also a huge fan of University of Michigan sports, the Detroit Tigers, and the Philadelphia Phillies. For many years, he had season tickets for the Sunday games in Philadelphia.
A Memorial Service to celebrate Holt Babbitt’s life will be held at 3 p.m. on March 15, 2015 at the Unitarian Universalist Church. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to your favorite charity or the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign at 309 W. Green Street, Urbana, Illinois 61801.
Online condolences may be offered at www.heathandvaughn.com.