Barbara Babby

Barbara Marybel Babby

Monday, November 5th, 1945 - Saturday, April 4th, 2020
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Today, April 4th 2020, Barbara Babby passed peacefully from this world into heaven. We are grateful that today also marks the end of a 10-year battle with early onset Alzheimer’s. For 10 years, it has looked like she was on the losing end of that battle, but today she won. Barbara is now whole and celebrating with her Savior.

Barbara was born on November 5, 1945 near Houghton College in New York State where her father, Dr. James Robertson, was a professor. The family moved within a year and Barbara grew up in Kentucky and talking to her for a few minutes would easily confirm that. She held onto her accent, her love of horses and southern roots her entire life. While her father was a seminary professor at Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, her mother Pauline was a Middle School English teacher. She and her brother Jimmy grew up around incredible theologians and thinkers. This upbringing taught her to value education and a good debate!

When she was 21, Barbara met Steve Babby, a new student at Asbury Theological Seminary. They were engaged 3 months after they met and married for 51 years. Barbara graduated from Asbury University in 1967. After their wedding on April 13, 1968, they lived in Wilmore while Steve finished his degree and Barbara taught Middle School English. Barbara was a natural when it came to teaching English. She had a gift for writing and her passion for making life fun made her a favorite with her students.

Upon graduation from Asbury Theological Seminary, Steve and Barbara moved to San Diego in June 1969 where Steve joined pastoral staff at his home church Skyline Wesleyan Church in Lemon Grove (relocated now to La Mesa). For 51 years, Barbara served alongside Steve at Skyline (7 years full-time and 23 years part-time) and 39 years when he served as full-time district superintendent of our Pacific Southwest District of The Wesleyan. Because Steve’s job involved being at different churches most Sundays, Barbara (and their girls, Robin and Laurel) often traveled together and entertained the pastor’s families and congregations. Where Steve could explain the budgets and encourage the pastors, Barbara found a spot for herself building relationships and supporting the pastor’s families.

Over the years, Barbara taught Spanish at Spring Valley Junior High, was a substitute teacher and also supervised student teachers for San Diego State University. Barbara would often laugh at the Kentucky accented Spanish that she taught so many middle schoolers.

Barbara was an active member of Skyline Church for over 50 years – volunteering in many ministries, being a Sunday school teacher and mentoring countless young women. She also enjoyed speaking at special events and retreats. Her incredible writing and editing skills allowed her to edit books for authors and many newsletters and talks for Steve. Once she said to him of his newsletter, “this is horrible” and Steve responded “I know, but I also know that whatever I write, you will rewrite anyway.” She laughed as this was so true.

While the girls were growing up, Barbara stayed at home and devoted herself to raising them. She was very careful to raise Robin and Laurel to understand their faith. While Steve traveled frequently for work, she stabilized life at home.

The girls remember in high school having an older lady from the church over for breakfast. Barbara prayed over the food and that we would all “have fun all day long.” The guest laughed and said they’d never heard anyone pray for fun. The girls smiled, because they had never NOT heard that prayer from their mom.

That story tells so much about Barbara. She made every event more exciting. She loved a good story… especially if she was telling it.

Every morning started the same way. Barbara would sit in bed (with the coffee and donut or toast Steve brought her) reading her Bible, Oswald Chambers and journaling for about an hour.

Barbara’s sassy, Southern roots showed up in her accent and her Southern style. She always looked pulled together! You needed to be dressed to leave the house… none of this nonsense with sweatpants. And her favorite advice…“for the love of all things girls put some lipstick on. You never know who you’ll see.” This was her approach to life, be ready for anything and pull it together!

Barbara was game for most anything – smiling, laughing and keeping people talking. Barbara was an excellent artist and painter, but Steve and Barbara’s favorite hobby was traveling. They traveled to over 40 countries for pleasure and ministry, and were particularly at home in Italy and France. They also attended many Padre games together. Although Steve learned the hard way one year never to plan to attend Opening Day on their anniversary again.

Barbara without a doubt loved being a grandmother and was adored by her grandchildren. She had seven grandchildren: Grant, Brady, Kate and Jack Small; and Noelle, Trevor and Claire Nicol. When the first grandchild was born, Barbara designed a bracelet to wear that held a different charm for each family member with their name on the front and the Bible verse she prayed over them engraved on the back. Robin and Laurel have those charms to wear and use them to pray over their families - just as their mother modeled.

We will all miss laughing with Barbara. She knew how to keep life fun and irreverent in the very best ways.

Because of the Covid-19 virus, the memorial service will be delayed until the summer months.
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Service Details

  • Interment

    Singing Hills Memorial Park
    2800 Dehesa Rd.
    El Cajon, California 92019
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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