Deceased August 20, 2016

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In Memory

Phillips Babcock '50 Phil died on Aug. 20, 2016, after a six-month struggle with lung cancer, prostate cancer, non-hodgkin’s lymphoma and diabetes. Luckily for him, his family and those who knew him, he had lived a full life filled with humor, good sense and wise contributions in many directions.

Phil was born in Plainfield, N.J., in July 1928 and grew up on Gifford Avenue in Jersey City. He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1946. A few years ago he re-connected with Lincoln High School and helped donate money and equipment to jump start a golf program at what is now an inner city high school.

In 1946 Phil entered Amherst College where he played on the tennis team and was a member of the Glee Club and Delta Upsilon fraternity, serving as president in 1949. He has always been an active Amherst alumni and attended many reunions both in the fall and spring. He served as co-president of the class of 1950 from 2010 to 2015. He and his longtime Williams College friend, Pete Ganyard, had a standing $1 bet on the Amherst-Williams football game. With Amherst being the winner last year, Phil went out a winner.

After graduating from Amherst, he had his first job in the CBS training program. In 1951 he entered the U.S. Army, taking basic training at Fort Dix and then OCS at Fort Benning. He was honorably discharged from the army in 1954 after having served as a rifle instructor at the Fort Benning Infantry School.

In 1954 he embarked on a 30-year career at NJ Bell, rising to treasurer, and at AT&T where he became assistant treasurer and director of Banking Relations. He was also responsible for managing the company’s pension fund. In 1984 he retired from AT&T and joined Callan Associates, where he served as executive vice president, retiring in 1996.

In 1957 he married Anne O’Brien. They met on the first tee at the Sebasco (Maine) Lodge, where the family later went on many vacations. Their son, John, was born in 1958. He has provided me with a lot of the information in this article. John was followed by Beth in 1959 and Rip in 1962. They now have six grandchildren. Phil and Anne loved to travel and went on many trips to Scotland and Ireland.

After college, Phil continued to play tennis as well as paddle tennis. He became president of the Park Lakes Tennis Club in Mountain Lakes, N.J. He took up golf when he was in his fifties and was a member of the Rockaway River Country Club for 34 years. He was the old curmudgeon who the new, perspective members had to play with to ensure they were “quality” and that they knew the rules and etiquette on the course. He was also a member of the New Jersey State Golf Association, where he served as treasurer, trustee and rules official. John was proud that he and his son Cory went to Scotland with Phil in 2015 for a golf outing.

Phil loved to sing and was a member of the University Glee Club of New York where he would see another of our classmates, Neil Gallagher. He could also play the piano by ear. He was a member of the Mountain Lakes Squadron, a trustee of the Lakeland YMCA and treasurer of the Morristown Neighborhood House.

After his wife, Anne, died in 2005, he reconnected with a high school sweetheart, Phyllis Toohey. Phil had seen the obituary of her husband in the New York Times and called her to say hello. Phyllis turned out to be very important to him in his later years. I spoke to Phyllis recently, and she said Phil was an honest, intelligent man. She also reported that he could complete the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle very quickly and she considered him a great “wordsmith.”

Phil is a classmate we will all miss a great deal.

Dave Sinclair ’50

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