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Published: Sunday, 12/10/2006

Builder served in Pacific in WW II

Lawrence Babich, 86, a former construction superintendent who oversaw the building of Whitmer High School among other projects, died Friday in the Kingston Care Center, Sylvania, from complications of kidney failure.

As a construction superintendent for the MacKinnon Parker Co., formerly the Fred W. Entenman Co., he helped oversee the construction of Whitmer and several buildings at the University of Toledo.

Mr. Babich of West Toledo was a self-taught woodworker and carpenter, learning the building trade while working with the Civil Conservation Corps after high school, family members said.

"[The carpentry and woodworking skill] was something he did most of his life," his daughter, Kathleen Connell, said. "He built every home we ever lived in."

Mr. Babich was born in Ironwood, Mich., and met and married his wife, Lorelie, in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Stephen Babich, one of Mr. Babich's sons, said his parents were married for 58 years.

The couple were best friends and traveled together until she died in July, 2003, Stephen Babich said.

Mr. Babich served in the U.S. Army in the South Pacific during World War II. One of his war trophies played a prominent role in the couple's wedding.

"[Mrs. Babich] made her wedding dress from [Japanese] silk from parachutes from the war. He and other soldiers were fortunate enough to come upon this stuff. He would cut out the silk and send it home. [Mrs. Babich] went to a dressmaker and made her wedding dress from the silk," Stephen Babich said.

Ms. Connell said her father loved people and people felt comfortable around him.

"He enjoyed all kinds of people," Ms. Connell said.

"No matter what problem there was, he would always say, 'I can fix that.'•"

Surviving are his sons, Dennis, Calvin, and Stephen; daughters, Kathleen Connell, Frances Righi, and Angela Newlon; 12 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be after 3 p.m. tomorrow in the Walker Funeral Home.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Corpus Christi Catholic Church.

The family suggests tributes to the Ursuline Convent of the Sacred Heart.



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