David Babbott died peacefully Sunday August 23 at the University of Vermont Medical Center surrounded by loving family. He was 87.
David was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 19, 1927 to Dr. Frank L. Babbott and Elizabeth French Babbott. He completed his early education in Brooklyn and at the Millbrook School. In 1946, he was inducted into the U.S. Army in and served at Fort Richardson, Alaska. David entered Amherst College in 1947, graduated cum laude in 1951 and then received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1955. He completed his graduate medical education at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, CT and at New England Medical Center in Boston, MA. Following three years spent practicing internal medicine in Hartford, he served as Assistant Director of Medical Education at Hartford Hospital, beginning what would become a career-long focus on the art of teaching patient care.
The family moved to Vermont in 1967 when Dr. Babbott was appointed Assistant Dean and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. From 1971 to 1993 he was on the full-time faculty in the Department of Medicine and was Director of Medical Education for eighteen years. He served as a role model, mentor, and advocate for hundreds of medical students, residents, and junior colleagues as they flowed through the Department of Medicine. He was notorious for his keen wit, his enthusiasm for puns, and his astonishing collection of plaid and multi-colored pants. What his former students, colleagues, and hospital employees will also remember was his warmth, excellent listening skills, insightful questions, and deep commitment to their personal and professional growth.
He loved his work, and his affection for those in the Department of Medicine and at the Medical Center was reciprocated. On the occasion of his retirement as Professor Emeritus of the Department of Medicine in 1993, the Medical Residents' Library was named and endowed in his honor.
An enthusiastic and active member of the American College of Physicians, David was elected to Fellowship in 1964, served as Governor of the Vermont Chapter from 1991 until 1995, and was named Laureate of the Vermont Chapter in 1996. He was appointed by the ACP to numerous national committees, commissions, and federally funded undergraduate medical education projects.
Known by his family as ‘Dave’, ‘Grandave’, or ‘Dado’, he is survived by his wife of sixty-three years, Meredith, of Shelburne, four children, and twelve grandchildren: son David and wife Nancy of Shelburne and their three sons, David and his wife Libby, John, and Benjamin; son Frank and his wife Aimée of Hinesburg, their daughter Vivienne, their son Ziggy, and her sons Joey and Charlie; daughter Katherine and her husband Thomas Ward of Weston, MA and their children, Owen, Clara, and Miller; and son Arthur, his son Miles, and his wife Heather of Flagstaff, AZ and their daughter Lila. Surviving siblings are Dr. Edward Babbott of Basking Ridge, NJ, and Dr. Elizabeth B. Conant of Buffalo, NY. His son Richard, brother Dr. Frank Babbott, and sister Lydia Paddon predeceased him.
David was nourished by his involvement in many activities. He was a volunteer at King Street Youth Center, a Board Member of the Lake Champlain Land Trust, a Board Member of Patient Choices Vermont, a Founding Committee Member of Wake Robin, and a faithful and devoted parishioner at St. Andrews Episcopal Church. He was an enthusiastic golfer and regularly enjoyed meeting fellow golfers on adjacent fairways following errant shots. He was kind and caring, he cherished the support of his family, colleagues, and friends, and he treasured the privilege to have been a physician.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial contribution to: The King Street Youth Center, PO Box 1615, Burlington, VT 05402; The David Babbott M.D. Caring and Seeing Award at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, 89 Beaumont Ave, Burlington, VT 05405; or The Lake Champlain Land Trust, One Main St, Suite 205, Burlington, VT 05401.
A memorial service will be held September 26th at 10:00 a.m. at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 1063 Prim Road, Colchester, VT.
Arrangements are in the care of Stephen C. Gregory and Son Cremation Services.