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John D. Babcock Sr.

On Thursday, April 11, 2019, John D. Babcock Sr., loving husband and father of four children, passed away in the company of his family at the age of 75. John was born January 12, 1944, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He graduated from Lee High School in Wyoming, Michigan, in 1962, where he was state champion in tennis and basketball star. As a lifelong learner, John earned several degrees from Grand Valley State University. He worked for Michigan Consolidated Gas Company for 30 years. After retiring “to work on his golf game”, John felt that he was being called to work for Hope Network.

On June 8, 1963, he married Anne Algee. They raised two daughters, Joanne and Barb until Anne’s death in January of 1982. John married Nedila Major on October 10, 1987. The couple raised two sons, Jason and John Jr.

John Sr. had a deep appreciation of nature. He produced thousands of awe inspiring photographs of the Rocky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, and the western United States. He was an accomplished skeet shooter at the Grand Rapids Gun Club, earning many trophies for his marksmanship abilities. He was also an accomplished golfer at Maple Hill Golf Course and enjoyed the walks along the fairways. John also loved to entertain his children with his 12 string guitar, playing through the night in front of a campfire while roasting marshmallows and singing with his family and any other campers nearby.  

John Sr. was preceded in death by his father, Vernon Babcock Sr. and his mother, LaDonna Babcock; his wife, Anne Babcock;  two of his sisters, Keitha and Sharon; great-grandson, Lucas James; and sister-in-law, Donna Babcock. He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Nedila Babcock; brother, Vernon Jr.; sister, Ellyn (Ed); four children, Joanne (Dan) Kelley, Barb (Tim) Rood, Jason (Rachael) Major, and John Babcock Jr.;  ten grandchildren, Justin Piechocki, Dana Rood, Tara Rood, Ashley (Alex) Alkema, Kimberly Docter, Hunter, and Aiden Major, Branden Kelley, Amanda (Zach) McDaniel, and Bryan Kelley; four great-grandchildren, Jayden Alkema, Ryvre, Ezra, and Gauge McDaniel; in addition to several cousins, his beloved nieces and nephews, and lifelong friends.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, April 17, 2019, at 11 a.m. at Holy Redeemer Parish, 2700 Baldwin St., Jenison, with Fr. Don Weber presiding. Relatives and friends may meet the family Tuesday from 2-4 and 6-7:30 p.m. with a Vigil being held at 7:30 p.m. at Matthysse Kuiper DeGraaf Funeral Home (Grandville), 4145 Chicago Drive. An additional visitation will be held on Wednesday from 10-11 a.m. prior to the service at the church. Memorial contributions may be made to the Knights of Columbus or Kindred Hospice.   

  1. Nedila and family; John and I are so very sorry for your loss! John was one in a million. One of the sweetest men we have ever met! He always had a smile and a kind word for everyone. We loved his fantastic sense of humor. John was a friend you could always count on if you needed him.

    The one thought hat has made me smile through my tears is thinking of the smile on John’s face when Tugger and Ping met him on the rainbow bridge and went “home” with him.

    We love you and we’re here for you!

    - Cheryl & John Reed

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