Cover photo for James Edward Babcock's Obituary
1926 James 2022

James Edward Babcock

February 4, 1926 — December 3, 2022


James Edward Babcock was born in Elkins, Arkansas on February 4, 1926, to Marion Earl and Hattie Belle Robinson. He had two older sisters, Marian and Jessie, a younger sister, Betty as well as a brother Earl.

The family left Arkansas when Jim was one year old in a covered wagon headed for Winfield, Kansas. When Jim was almost four years old, the family moved to Bartlesville, Oklahoma for his dad’s employment on the pipeline.

From Bartlesville, the family moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma where they rented a farm, had cows, raised grain and cotton, and grew a garden for the family. Jim and his sisters learned to milk cows and work on the farm. He was milking cows at four years old.

Jim’s father fought in WWI and taught his son to march and handle weapons when he was a young boy. In February of 1944, Jim was drafted into the Army. The country was in the midst of WWII and after his basic training, Jim was assigned to Fort Riley, Kansas to help train officers.  He was at Fort Riley for six months then deployed to the Philippines with the 77th Infantry Division.

During the winter of 1945, Jim was stationed in Hokkaido, Japan, and put in charge of a Quartermaster outfit. He was also stationed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.  Jim remembered vividly when the end of the war as announced he was in Cebu, with other soldiers watching an outdoor movie on a large screen under a coconut tree. Suddenly the words, “The War is Over” came across the screen. There was wonderful shouting, rejoicing, and celebrating among the American troops. At the end of the war, Jim was assigned to the very northern section of the island to rid the Japanese soldiers from caves in which they were hiding.

Jim stayed in Japan for another six months. When he was discharged he and several friends went to Tokyo where he was told he was to fly home in two days. Afraid of flying, he opted for a ship instead which took ten to twelve days to reach California. It was the winter of 1945, he was glad to finally be on American soil and proud to have served the country he loved.

After the military, Jim returned to Kansas and took a job driving trucks and later in the oilfield making eighty-five cents an hour.  In 1953 he was transferred to Newcastle, Wyoming but lived in Custer, South Dakota where he met his future wife Betty Louise Sellers in a café where she was working as a waitress. Their friendship turned into a romance and they were married on December 9, 1953.

Jim often joked that he wouldn’t have moved so often if he had stayed in school and gotten an education but got kicked out of the fourth grade for not shaving.  Jim had certainly found himself a good wife that was willing to move often. In actuality, he never regretted not going to college. He loved his life in which he had accomplished much. People looked up to Jim and found him to have a positive attitude and one who could find humor in any of life’s situations.

Moving to the Four Corners region, he drilled wells for every major oil company in the area.  In 1963, Jim and Betty bought a ranch north of Aztec, New Mexico, and ran 200 head of cattle. In 1971 they bought the Hammond Farm in Bloomfield, New Mexico, and moved there the following year again running cattle and raising alfalfa and silage. Their next journey took them to Arlee, Montana where they purchased a 900-acre ranch raising cattle.

Jim leaves behind his wife Betty just days shy of 69 years, four children of whom he was very proud, Vicky, Rodney, Jim, and Diane, thirteen grandchildren, twenty-three great-grandchildren, and four great, great-grandchildren.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Edward Babcock, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Thursday, December 8, 2022

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Bethel Baptist Church, 201 Heiland Rd, Aztec, NM 87410

201 Heiland Road, Aztec, NM 87410

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