Richard Alexander Babillis


May 30, 1936-Nov. 20, 2017
Throughout his life, Dick Babillis was a complex man. Born a Gemini, it was his birthright to live his life shy of “typical.”
Gifted with a brilliant mind, he graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at age 20, started out in life as a space engineer, where he had the opportunity to serve as a project manager on the Voyager 1 project.
In his last years of life, Dick passionately provided volunteer technical support for Fernando Flores’ Linguistic Theory and Ontological Design online courses.
Dick struggled with alcoholism during his early adulthood, a disease that cost him dearly. But at age 34 he joined Alcoholics Anonymous and remained sober until his passing, 47 years later. He kept the AA chip in his pocket always in the event he came across another soul struggling with the disease who needed encouragement. He regarded his sobriety as one of his great accomplishments.
In his younger years, Dick was not an easy man by any means. He held very high, demanding standards for himself and his four children. He had very strong opinions about almost everything and, with his razor-sharp mind, drew conclusions far more quickly than those around him. At times, he could be very impatient as he waited for us to catch up. Not one to give or receive flattery easily, when he paid a compliment, the recipient knew beyond doubt that it was sincere. He was by nature a problem solver and was open to the most unconventional methods for resolving situations.
Although he left behind a legacy of significant accomplishments, it was his mindful, meaningful approach to his own life that directly impacted and improved the lives of many.
He loved his family with absolute love, and dedicated his life to clarifying his conversations and communication with those he loved.
After retirement to Pagosa Springs, he devoted himself to the local community and, over the years, mellowed out his rough edges.
He was a dedicated member of Pagosa Springs Rotary Club and advocated for the Paul Harris Fellow program, supporting families and changing lives locally and globally.
He was instrumental in the advancements made in local health care through Upper San Juan Health Service District, Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Foundation and the Pagosa Springs Medical Center.
Dick was the embodiment of community service and Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self.” He was passionate in his local volunteer work and made many significant contributions to several community organizations including Relay for Life, United Way, Salvation Army bell ringing, working as a court mediator and other charitable causes.
You could often find him cheerfully serving beer at local events and festivals. Participating in the fun and festivities at hot air balloon rallies brought Dick immense joy.
Believing strongly in education, Dick volunteered for the Archuleta County Education Center. He taught college courses and continuing education classes and invited students into his home to tutor them when they needed extra help.
His friends knew Dick as a one-of-a-kind, positive, happy, inspirational and giving man who connected with people in a deep, unique and caring way with a twinkle in his sparkling blue eyes and a smile on his warm, loving face. You could always count on Dick to be there, to willingly take a role or assignment, to finish what he said he would and to communicate effectively to the group. He was always willing to take on challenging projects and was a great collaborator.
His favorite quote and inspiration for living was this one by George Bernard Shaw: “… I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”
Dick left behind his vibrant wife and compatriot, Bonnie Masters, and three of his children: Richard, Ann Marie and Stephen Babillis; and seven grandchildren: Jason Warner, John Tlush, Ally Babillis, Alex Babillis, Willi Babillis, Lauren Babillis and Sigourney Young.
In his next great adventure, Dick will be joining his former wife, Julia Young (deceased 2010), his son Paul Alexander Babillis (deceased 1994) and his brother, Robert Babillis (deceased 2012).