The world lost one of its greatest laughs on Sunday, September 12th, 2021 when the legendary matriarch and neighborhood concierge, Virginia Babcock, passed away. Her loss was unexpected and her family is devastated. They thought she had lots more laps to swim and cookies to bake. She was 76. The Babcock family would also like to extend their condolences to Kohl’s department store for their loss.
The daughter of Wayne and Ruby Brooks, Virginia was born in Wichita, KS, on August 4, 1945. She graduated from Southeast High School in Wichita in 1963. She met her husband, Mike Babcock, on a blind date in 1972 and they married on August 4, 1973. He was Catholic and put the ketchup in the refrigerator, she was Protestant and put the ketchup in the cabinet. Shortly after being married, Mike became a ketchup in the cabinet Protestant. They were together for 47 years until his passing on July 29th, 2020.
Virginia was often considered to be the most jovial, sweetest woman by everyone who knew her. However, her brother knew a different story from childhood. He knew a sister who could be loving but wasn’t scared to put a broom handle in the spokes of his bicycle when he rode by.
John and Karen, her children, have lost their biggest champion. With a heart as big as hers, she was supposed to live forever. She was an excellent seamstress, fulfilling extravagant requests like John’s Headless Horseman costume and new outfits for Karen’s Barbies. 720 Harris was the homebase for all of John and Karen’s friends where the sound of the cookie jar lid was like a carillon ringing through the house. She also taught them that when you find a shirt you like, you should get two of them.
Burdened by brilliance, her wit and humor were legendary. She had a phenomenal cookie recipe that has yet to be replicated, even by those closest to her. The history of every house and building in Manhattan was at her instant recall as were highly complex terms that Dad’s doctors threw at her that she could recite like a nursery rhyme.
From her children to the proprietor of Knead Donuts in Long Beach, California, everyone felt seen and heard by her, never forgetting her smile and the way she made them feel like they were the most important person in the world. And though she had a big circle who loved and admired her, only a select few knew what was behind the quilted book cover. Loyal, steadfast and constant, she was the anchor for so many in her life. Spending time with her Sew/Soul/PEO sisters, cross stitching, painting, and beating her best friends at cards were some of her favorite activities. After decades of executing her husband's plans for vacations, which usually involved her having to make meals out of a styrofoam cooler, she began traveling in style. Even though she eschewed spices of all kinds, she loved trying new restaurants and learning all about new vacation spots. She was known to have cheesecake for breakfast on vacation because, why wait? The retirement community she selected in Denver, Colorado, in fact, reminded her of one of her favorite resorts in Hawaii.
She never met a to-do list she didn’t like and a completed task she couldn’t improve upon. Once, her daughter’s neighbor caught her using a weed whacker above her head to reach the top of a cedar tree. When the neighbor asked what she was doing, she replied that Karen couldn’t do it quite right, so she was just “touching it up”. When John was little, he had fond memories of decorating the Christmas tree with ornaments in a centralized area and then waking up to find them redistributed by mom so they would be more aesthetically pleasing.
Virginia is preceded in death by her parents, her husband Mike and her older sister Kathryn.
She will be forever remembered by her son, John (Linda), her daughter Karen, grandchildren, Jason, Marcie (Trevor), and Eric, her brother Bob (Arden), her great grandson Milo, and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Virginia’s family would like to invite family and friends to join them for a Celebration of Life at Sunset Zoo’s Nature Exploration Center in Manhattan, Kansas, on November 7th, come and go between 2:00 and 4:30. A private burial will be at the family cemetery in southeast Kansas. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Peace-Full (food) Pantry at Peace Lutheran Church, 2500 Kimball, Manhattan, Kansas, 66502. And they also want to remind you to spend your Kohl’s Cash before it expires!