John Lee Babcock, of Mishawaka, was born October 2, 1940, in Logansport, IN. He was the son of Dr. Troy and Katherine (Kammerer) Babcock of Logansport and Culver, IN. They preceded him in death, as well as his two sisters and brothers-in-law: Mary Katherine Crise (John R.), and Dorothy Williams (Dr. Charles). John is survived by his wife of 51 years, Linda (Laskey); and their three children, Patricia Babcock McGraw of Antioch, IL, Michael (April) of Mishawaka, and Gregory (Ana) of Green Bay, WI. John and Linda have seven grandchildren, Matthew, Kelsey, Garrett, Abigail, Blair, Ava, Jackson; and several nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews.
John was a 1958 graduate of Culver Military Academy (CMA) and earned his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education from Northwestern University in 1962, and two advanced degrees from Indiana University (M.S. 1969 & Ed. S. 1982).
He taught mathematics at Proviso West High School (Hillside, IL) from 1962 to 1966 and then received a position at CMA in 1966, where he was on the winter school staff for 41 years, retiring in 2007. During college and afterwards, he was on the Culver Summer Camps staff for 18 years, including positions as Woodcraft counselor, division commander, and instructor. And, during that time, he was the founding Director of the Culver Specialty Camps and the Family Camps.
During his tenure with the Culver Academies, he taught mathematics every year but one, and from 1978 to 2003, he was an academic dean, guiding juniors and seniors in their choices of high school curriculum and college applications. While serving as dean in the Academic Office, he introduced and mastered computerized course scheduling and used various software products to modernize office work. During his early tenure at Culver, for nine years, he was a highly successful varsity rowing coach, including one undefeated season.
In 1975, he was the Spivey Award recipient for outstanding teaching. He became a Master Instructor in 1976, was nominated for honorary membership in the Culver chapter of the Cum Laude Society in 1979, and acted as the Society’s president for two terms. He was an active member of NACAC (a national organization for college admission counselors). In 2003, at Culver, he left academic counseling and returned fulltime to the classroom, and subsequently served one year as Mathematics Department Chairman. One of his delights was learning new subjects and teaching courses that were somewhat unusual for most math teachers: Statistics, History of Mathematics, and Topics in Mathematics. He also taught mathematics at Ancilla (IN) College in the early 1980s. John was recognized by The College Board for long service to their national standardized testing program. He was an avid stamp collector and became the school’s first and longtime advisor to its Stamp Club, providing direction for its young philatelists.
John was also involved in several community organizations. He was a member of the Culver Plan Commission, was the founder of the Lake Maxinkuckee Management Committee (a lake environment improvement and protection group in Culver), was, for two terms, President of the Lake Association (a property owners’ organization that emphasized safety, security, and sanitation around the lake), and was the Executive Director of that organization for 18 years.
With Linda, John enjoyed helping their three children develop academically and athletically and took great pride in their accomplishments. All three children earned athletic scholarships to college and two of them played basketball at the Division One level. All three earned college degrees.
John and his wife traveled to many parts of the United States and overseas trips included Europe, Asia, South America and Antarctica. John enjoyed golfing, boating, swimming, and reading, particularly historical works
For a number of years after his Culver retirement, he continued to teach mathematics as an adjunct instructor at IU-South Bend. Recently, he served two years as President of the Blair Hills Community Association.
From 1950 until moving to Mishawaka in 1991, John was active as an usher, and parish council member of St. Mary’s of the Lake Catholic Church in Culver. In Mishawaka, he was a member of St. Bavo Catholic Church.
Visitation will be 1-5 pm Sunday, May 16, 2021, at Hahn Funeral Home in Mishawaka with the rosary to be recited at 4:30 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 am, Monday, May 17, 2021, at St Bavo Catholic Church in Mishawaka. John will be laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, family requests that contributions be made to Culver Woodcraft Camp c/o Culver Military Academy at 1300 Academy Rd. Culver, IN 46511.
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