Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

David Babcock

December 26, 1950 - September 22, 2023
Kalamazoo, MI


Life Story Celebration

Friday, October 6, 2023
4:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Visitation starting at 3 pm.

Driving Directions

Life Story Reception

Friday, October 6, 2023
5:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.

Driving Directions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

SCPA of Southwest Michigan
6955 West KL Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Web Site

Kalamazoo Humane Society
2272 River Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Dave Babcock lived by the lessons he learned early in life: work hard, take responsibility, and make a point to show kindness. Not one to be the center of attention, Dave rarely talked about himself, preferring that the focus was on others.

A lifelong educator and coach, he impacted the lives of many. Dave will be missed by all who knew and loved him and remembered for his generous, kind, and humble nature as well as his sense of humor and comedic timing.

Lifelong friends, Richard and Dorothy Babcock married in 1947 and welcomed their son, David, into their hearts and home on Dec. 26, 1950, in Springfield, Mich. To support their growing family, Richard worked as a mechanic for Clark Equipment and Dorothy was guidance secretary for Springfield Schools.

Dave attended local schools and enjoyed a childhood that was typical of the era. Time spent at his cousins’ cottage on Twin Lakes in Muskegon created many fond memories of swimming, skiing, and running around in the night. Camping in the UP at Van Riper State Park and Sunday lunch at his grandparents’ home were also memorable times in his childhood.

Baseball, football, and basketball played a big part in Dave’s life and where he excelled in high school. As a high school senior, Dave was surprised by a call from Detroit Tiger Jim Northrup urging him to attend Alma College to play baseball and football. Though he didn’t take this advice, that call meant the world to him.

In 2017, Dave was named a top-10 GOAT (greatest of all time) of Springfield’s football alum. When he learned of this honor, he simply grinned and shook his head.

Following high school graduation in 1969, Dave attended Western Michigan University where he was the catcher on the baseball team. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1973 yet returned twice more throughout his life to earn two master’s degrees.

Dave graduated from Western with more than just an education. While there, his coach Marv Sweitzer and wife Nancy introduced Dave to a young woman named Cynthia. The two hit it off and became a couple after their first date, watching the Burt Reynolds classic The Longest Yard at the movies.

Eventually, they married in 1979 and were thrilled to welcome three children, Ben, Holly, and Kristin into their family. Sadly, Cynthia passed away in 2006.

Baseball remained a lifelong passion for Dave. He continued his playing career for the Battle Creek Ferrari’s and lead many football and baseball teams throughout Portage Public Schools as well as serving as the varsity baseball coach at Portage Northern High School for many years.

Dave worked as an educator and took his role and image on the job seriously. He taught at Portage West Middle School, Portage North Middle School, and Portage Northern High School before being hired as Assistant Principal at Northwestern Middle School in Battle Creek. Eventually, he returned to Portage Central Middle School as Assistant Principal, then moved to the Principal role where he remained until his retirement in 2011.

A creature of habit, Dave spent Sunday nights shining his shoes, cutting his fingernails, and ironing his clothes to prepare for the week ahead. He always looked his business best in the halls of Portage Central Middle and the shine of his shoes could be seen a mile away.

In addition to his attention to detail, Dave was also attentive and supportive to those around him. There was a unique, attention-grabbing sound to his whistle that garnered the attention of his players and students, most of them still remember to this day. His kids always knew where to find him from the playing field after hearing that whistle.

After his wife Cynthia’s death in 2006, Dave was fortunate to find love again when he was connected with Julie Minger while their daughters were softball teammates. Dave and Julie were surprised to learn that they both worked for Portage Public Schools. Once Dave finally got up the nerve to ask Julie out for a walk at Bishop’s Bog, they found that they truly enjoyed each other’s company and were together from that day forward.

Dave was a good cook as long as you liked your food well done and heavily peppered! His three kids grew up smiling and syrup-drowning their way through his stacks of paper-thin, burnt pancakes, and would later laugh to themselves as he served them to his grandchildren.

Personally, his meal of choice was a good steak and a nice, cold Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

While Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” topped his reading list, Dave’s musical playlist included The Beatles, Eagles, Meatloaf, and the Rolling Stones.

In his younger days, Dave’s group of friends would play Name That Tune and everyone called dibs to have Dave on their team. He also served as an early version of Google, as he could name the title, artist, and, many times, the year a song was released. You couldn’t lose with Dave on your team!

A passionate Detroit Tigers fan, Dave was so upset when J.D. Martinez was traded that he took the Tigers sticker off his truck! Amazon’s Alexa was his nemesis as she never seemed to understand quite what he was asking. His solution was to ask the question again – loudly!

Whether interacting with frustrating artificial intelligence, spending time with his family, or gathering with friends, Dave’s comedic timing was a hit. His sense of humor and ability to know how to deliver a punchline were as unique and reassuring as his iconic whistle.

One of his favorite pastimes was going for a drive or walk with his faithful companion, Dash. Dave also enjoyed being a grandfather to his eight grandchildren, following their extracurriculars closely and always being the first volunteer to lend them an extra hand.

Dave was a loving son, husband, father, and grandfather who inspired his children to be the best that they could be. He always told them, “You can fly with the eagles, or you can fly with the sparrows.”

When asked what lesson he hoped to pass on to future generations, he replied, “Move slowly when you’re finding new friends.”

True to his quiet yet powerful presence, Dave’s family will honor his life and legacy by giving respect and dignity to others and always remembering the importance of family.

David Babcock, 72, of Kalamazoo, died Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. He is survived by his wife, Julie Minger; 3 children: Ben (Jasmine) Babcock, Holly (Jereme) Rowland, and Kristin (Greg) Graham; mother, Dorothy Babcock; 8 grandchildren; 2 stepchildren, Leann Dreher (Mathieu Bray) and Hilary Dreher (Alex Bell); as well as his trusty sidekick, Dash, his dog of 12 years. He was preceded in death by his father, Richard Babcock in 2019, and his first wife, Cynthia Babcock in 2006.

Cremation has taken place. Life Story Services will be Friday, Oct. 6, at 4 p.m. at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Visitation will begin one hour prior to the service and a reception with food, drinks, and stories will immediately follow the service in the Life Story Center.

Visit Dave’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to share your favorite memories and photos of Dave and to sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to SPCA of Southwest Michigan or the Kalamazoo Humane Society.