“He’d push us to perform our best. He was the person who wanted the best out of life,” said the Rev. Paul W. Gardner Sr., the pastor of Williams Memorial CME Church.
Babcock, 101, died Wednesday. He was buried Monday at Hillcrest Memorial Park.
Gardner often reminded Babcock that auditions were not required for the church choir as they were for the Augusta Chorale, which he co-founded, and that “to sing joyfully for the Lord” was the most important thing.
“He’d say, ‘We have to be a little bit more than joyful. We have to be on the correct notes,’ ” Gardner said.
A native of Chester, S.C., Babcock served in the Navy, graduated from Paine College and received a master’s degree from New York University. He taught at Lucy C. Laney and Glenn Hills high schools before retiring in 1972.
In 1983, Babcock and Adrienne Walker founded the Augusta Chorale. Babcock sang tenor in the group until health complications stopped him from doing so at age 99.
Ellis Johnson, a former music director of the Augusta Chorale, said Babcock worked tirelessly to support the group through fundraising and recruiting. Babcock helped found the chorale because he appreciated quality music and wanted a music outlet besides the church choir, Johnson said.
“He was quiet but very powerful in his contributions to support the chorale and advance the success of the chorale,” he said.
Babcock was on time for every rehearsal and stayed to the very end, Johnson said.
As trustee of Williams CME Memorial, Babcock oversaw a major church renovation project, Gardner said. He served as chairman of the trustee board until he was 90.
“Once he left the leadership of the church, he still continued to work as best he could,” Gardner said.