Dr. William Ronald Babcock was born on September 26, 1933, in Elmira, New York.His parents were William and Iola Babcock; he died on Saturday, July 27, at age 85 in his home in Buffalo, North Dakota, with his wife Antoinette by his side.William graduated high school from Fort Anne, New York. William was an excellent student, played the clarinet, studied French and took piano lessons.
Upon graduation from high school, he was accepted at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he received a Bachelor of Music Degree. He continued his studies of music and was accepted into graduate school into the Department of Modern Languages at the University of Rochester, where eventually he received a Master’s Degree. He continued working as a graduate assistant and several years later received a PHD in German and Linguistics from the University in 1969. William spent a year abroad as an exchange student studying German at the University of Cologne, Germany.
In 1965 he met Antoinette Martha Fraase at Eastman where she was a student and agreed to tutor her in German because she was applying for a Fulbright Grant to study at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. During this time, William took a position as assistant professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC. teaching German, Linguistics, Music Appreciation and History of the Symphony. After Antoinette had completed her studies and received an Artist’s Diploma in piano performance, the couple was married and spent the next years in Vancouver teaching until 1980 when they moved to Buffalo, North Dakota and built a home near Antoinette’s parents.
Bill loved opera-especially the operas of Wagner, symphonic music, piano and organ music, but most of all J.S. Bach. He had musical scores of all his recordings, so that he could study as he listened. Having studied with David Craighead at Eastman, he was a very good organist and often played performances in church. Bill taught piano to many students over the years, and he also enjoyed his beautiful harpsicord.
William enjoyed cooking and gardening and raised a huge garden of produce, and raspberries. The Babcock home was always filled with lovely flowers. He would smile when he received the Buffalo Yard of the Month Award! He was proud of an amazing “five pound” potato he once grew and immediately took it down the street to impress his father in-law William D. Fraase. Antoinette will tell you he was the very best husband. Not only was he very handsome and charming, he was extremely intelligent, loving and that he treated her like a queen all the forty eight years of their marriage.
William had three younger brothers who preceded him in death: Rev. Joseph (Jane) Babcock, James (Garda Ann) Babcock, and Philip Babcock. He leaves two nephews: Jason (Kate) Babcock, Chris (Katy) Babcock, and one niece Elyse Babcock.
Unfortunately, William had a major health crisis about twelve years ago. It has been a journey to secure and continue rehabilitation. Antoinette wishes to thank the following for their ongoing assistance and support Dr. Jay Wilson, physical therapist who got his life back for him, the therapists at Pro Rehab who continued to work with him during the journey, the therapists, nurses and Hospice of HCI in Valley City, Dr. Curtis Penny, Dr. Richard Rohla, Dr. Chelsey Traverse, caregivers Candy Bloom, Michael Vavra, Katy Walburn, sitters Ramona Fraase, Sue Buhr and all the family and friends for their support during the long journey. Antoinette thanks all the family and friends for their best wishes, cards, flowers, and food during this difficult time.
This writing has been prepared for Bill with love from Antoinette, his Frau.
Celebration of Life: Wednesday, August 28, 2019 at 7 pm at the 1916 School House in Buffalo.
West Funeral Home & Life Tribute Center
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