School 17

Gary L. Babcock

October 16, 1944 ~ June 18, 2022 (age 77)

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Gary Lee Babcock, longtime resident of the Yakima Valley was taken into the arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on June 18th, 2022, from Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital.

Gary was born October 16th, 1944, in Bellingham, Washington to Leon and Ellen (Waters) Babcock.  The son of an Army Lieutenant Colonel he had the opportunity to live in different parts of the world including Japan and Germany.  His father’s career also took him to various locations around the United States eventually returning them to Bellingham where he graduated from Bellingham High School in 1962. 

After completing high school, he attended Linfield College where he graduated with a Master of Education in 1966.  He was the first of his family to graduate from college.  In 1982, he attended Central Washington University to complete his Administrative Credentials in Education.

In 1966 he began his teaching career in Newburg, OR.  The next year he moved to Sunnyside, WA where he began teaching junior high history.  After a short move to teach history at the high school, he returned to the junior high as an administrator.  He would continue to serve in administration until 1993 when he became the director of Pride High School for alternative learning.  He guided at the helm for 14 years until his retirement after 42 years with the school district.  This initial retirement of one year was spent as a liaison to the high school.  The next year he exited retirement and accepted a position leading the Wapato Alternative High School where he guided that program for 8 years.  His last two years before his final retirement were spent mentoring the next generation of teachers at Heritage University.

During his formal educating years he was involved in a variety of extra activities.  While at Sunnyside High he coached both wrestling, track, and cross country.  He was a member of the Washington Association for Learning Alternatives (WALA) and served as both conference coordinator and president.  In the local community he was a member of the Kiwanis, also serving as president.  He was committed to his local church, Sunnyside United Methodist.  His service to the church included multiple appointments to the deacon board where he served faithfully.

While at Linfield college in the pool hall, he met Susan Marcum and nine months later, on November 25th, 1967, they married.  They would go on to have four children.  He found great enjoyment in reading history, crossword puzzles, fishing, golfing, and watching most any sport.  His favorite hobby however, was his grandkids, to which everything else took second place.  His life is marked by looking for the potential in people, hoping for that potential to be actualized, bountiful pride when potential was met, and a deep faith that God wanted the best for others.

Gary is survived by his wife Susan Babcock of Yakima, WA; daughter Allison Johnson (Jim) of Peyton, CO; daughter Erica Byers (Eric) of Poulsbo, WA; daughter Kenna Hazzard (Roger) of Sunnyside WA; son Ian Babcock (Aimee) of Shoreline, WA; ten grandchildren, Brandt Johnson, Asher Johnson, Keagan Byers, Corin Byers, Meara Byers, Asa Byers, Ryker Hazzard, Titus Hazzard, Sterling Hazzard, and Thea Babcock.

A memorial service will be held Friday, June 24th at 2 p.m. at Smith Funeral Home in Sunnyside.  Those wishing to honor Gary’s memory may contribute to Washington Association for Learning Alternatives scholarship fund, PO Box 822972, Vancouver, WA 98682. Those wishing to sign Gary’s online memorial book may do so at Smith Funeral Home is in care of arrangements.


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Memorial Service
June 24, 2022

2:00 PM
Smith Funeral Home
528 S. 8th St.
Sunnyside, WA 98944

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