Ken Babcock Featured On 2024 Old Timers' Festival Button

To hundreds of Fairview alumni, he will always be "Mr." Babcock. To the community, he has been a staunch supporter of everything Fairview. He is being recognized for that dedication by the Fairview Old Timers' Reunion and Summer Festival committee by being chosen as this year's button honoree.

Babcock was recruited to teach 5th grade by then Fairview Superintendent Joe Kojancek, while still doing his student teaching at Valley City College. "There was a huge shortage of teachers in 1963," Babcock explained. "Plus, he offered $3500 a year, $3600 if I would coach 5th and 6th grade basketball. That was more than I could make in eastern North Dakota, and the superintendent would find us housing," he added. After careful consideration, he and his new wife, Carolyn, relocated from southeastern North Dakota with the solemn promise to each other that they would only stay one year.

After that first year, they discussed it again with Babcock concerned about his resume if he left after only one year. They agreed to one more year but only with better housing. There was not too much discussion after that as they got to know people. The Babcocks purchased their home in 1967, which has always been a favorite trick or treat stop.

Babcock retired after 36 years in the Fairview School system. He taught 5th grade for the first three years, then social studies and P.E. to 7th and 8th graders for the last 33. He also coached mostly 8th grade basketball for a long time. He's also sure most of his students will remember him singing "Check-up Time".

Originally in the old part of the school, which no longer exists, Ken's first 5th grade classroom was right across from the lunch room, a position he credits with putting on a few pounds! After 1 1/2 years, they moved to the new elementary wing.

A favorite memory Babcocks shared, involved their first trip across the Snowden Bridge with Harold and Charlene Helland to celebrate his first paycheck, and being terrified that they were going to be hit by an oncoming train. "We entertained lots of others after that," Babcock said, laughing.

In addition to teaching, Babcock served on City Council for eight years and was a member of the Montana Education Association, and Fairview Lions and Jaycees until both clubs disbanded. He also served on the Zion Lutheran Church council and was president of the Athletic Club for a time. He is still an Elks Club member.

Ken and Carolyn have been married for 61 years and raised three children in Fairview. "They got a good education in Fairview. They've done well," Ken said proudly.

Lynn received her education degree from Eastern Montana College in Billings, taught for two years in Warwick, ND, then returned to Fairview where she taught at Eastside for 16 years, retired from Westside after 18 more, and recently won election to the school board. She is married to Del Shelmerdine and together they have one daughter, Cattie, and twin sons, Cody and Kyle. By the way, they all graduated from good ol' Fairview High School.

Lori also received her teaching degree from Eastern Montana College, taught for three years in Chester, MT, got married to Greg Adkins and is starting her 33rd year teaching in Kalispell. She and Greg have two sons; Brock who is married to Natalie and resides in Denver, CO, and Mac who will be a sophomore at the University of Arizona this fall.

Steve earned an education degree from Minot State College but it didn't take him long subbing in the Kalispell area to decide teaching was not for him. He went on to earn his law degree from Grand Forks and is now the head of the Billings Office of Federal Public Defenders. Steve and his wife, Kimberly, have one son, Charlie, and one daughter, Josie. Steve still proudly answers that he's from Fairview even though he hasn't lived there since graduating in 1993!

Last New Year's Eve, Ken and Carolyn became great grandparents for the first time, a huge highlight in their lives! Lynn and Dell's daughter Cattie and her husband Mark Dunaway, Billings, MT, became proud parents to a baby girl, McKenzie Cole.

As you can see, to Ken and Carolyn, family is everything and that is what Fairview has always been to both of Babcock is very humble about receiving the button honor. "It's been great. There are so many good memories," he said of his years in Fairview. "I've had so much support from Carolyn. She held the family together." "I was along for all the fun!" Carolyn said.

Please join in recognizing Babcock for his years of service during the program at the gazebo after the Grand Parade Saturday, July 20.


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