Life Story / Obituary
Sandra Jean Babbitt passed away at her home on August 1, 2021, with her devoted husband Steve at her side. She was 79 years old.
Sandy was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on November 5, 1941. Devotion to family was a hallmark of her life. Having long dreamed of raising a daughter, fate cursed Sandy with three sons, whom she loved unconditionally despite their mismatched chromosomes. This setback proved to be temporary when, in 1973, Sandy read a Detroit Free Press story about a family's adoption of an orphan girl from Vietnam. Never one to be bashful, Sandy contacted the family to find out how they did it. In the small window that existed until the fall of Saigon, Sandy adopted two Vietnamese girls. At the time, she knew nothing about the second except gender and an estimated age. While in transit to Michigan, the girl was held over in San Francisco, too sick to continue. Sandy flew out to meet the severely disabled child, where doctors offered her the chance to choose another. Sandy declined. "There was no way we were going to put her in another institution when she'd survived and come all that way," she later explained. "We were going to take her home and love her." That she did, and in 1985, not quite satisfied with the international flavor of her family, Sandy adopted a girl from Dominican Republic.
Although she came of age before the social changes of the 1960s and was closer to Elvis than the Beatles, Sandy quietly advanced women's equality in her own life. She trained in radiology and had a career as an X-ray technician at hospitals in Lapeer and Holland, Michigan. In an era when working women gave their paychecks to their husbands, Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman" (1972) inspired Sandy to open her own checking account, and, "Keep a little something back for myself." This small step eventually led Sandy to courageously forge a new life for herself and her children. She spent the 80s selflessly working and single-parenting her older kids successfully into adulthood. In 1989, Sandy made room in her life for romance when she met Stephen Babbitt at a dance. They were married for 29 years.
Despite a lifetime of debilitating illness, Sandy's dedication to family remained steadfast. She provided essential care for her late mother and stayed close to her siblings. She forged relationships with all of her grandchildren and was an important role model in their lives. Eschewing a life of materialism, Sandy was happiest in her country home with Steve at her side, birds at her feeders, and a book in her hands. She had a sharp wit and was a talented writer. Sandy's compassion for the needy naturally extended to animals. She never met a stray dog or cat she didn't want to adopt, and they instinctively gravitated to her doorstep. The neighborhood wildlife especially mourns her loss.
Sandy is survived by her husband Steve; by her children, Jeffrey (Amy), Shawn (Amy), Rebecca (David), Gregory (Rebecca), and Jessy (Brian); and by 10 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her daughter Mary Kim.
A memorial service will be 11:00 am, Tuesday, August 10, 2021 at Dykstra Funeral Homes-Mulder Chapel, 188 West 32nd Street in Holland. Inurnment will be in Pilgrim Home Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 10-11 am prior to the service at the funeral home. Memorial Contributions may be given to Harbor Humane Society, 14345 Bagley Street, West Olive, MI 49460.