Guy Babb can’t make the last Christmas Tree roundup of the year alongside his Boy Scout Troop, so his family is going in his place.

Babb, a prolific local Scoutmaster and educator, died Saturday at the age of 56. As head of Troop 120, Babb created the annual event where Scouts collect used Christmas trees. He was also, according to those who knew him, one of the best all-round educators local youth ever had.

“Here’s a man who puts educating, teaching the kids the ways of scouting, ahead of everything else,” said Rutland Fire Chief William Lovett, whose son was among Babb’s scouts. “The man lived for it and the results were incredible. ... I don’t know that somebody like him you can sum up in short words. To me, Guy is a teacher — simple, plain, right to the point. He thrives on making other people thrive.”

William Gillam, the district executive for the Boy Scouts of America covering Rutland, Addison and Bennington Counties — said Babb’s troop was known for producing a large number of Eagle Scouts, including all four of Babb’s sons.

“That’s a lot for one family, to have four Eagle Scouts,” Gillam said. “That’s a big deal. ... He would be your model scout leader, for sure. He challenged the kids. He wasn’t a controlling guy. He would make the kids make the decisions. Sometimes they would make mistakes, but that’s part of the program.”

Babb was also known for being front-and-center on the public service aspects of scouting, from cleaning up cemeteries to clearing brush around the Vermont Farmers Food Center to doing security at an annual pug rescue fundraiser in Killington, where the troop would camp for the night on the grounds, making sure nothing was stolen.

“It was a nice chance to relax with the kids, sitting around the campfire” said Fern Fryer, another Scout leader. “Dogs would come in the next day and that would be fun. We could always find the fun in everything we did.”

Babb also took his aptitude with kids into the classroom, applying workplace skills to the engineering program at Stafford Technical Center.

“He was a magnet for students,” said Lyle Jepson, who helped Babb get a teaching certificate through Vermont Adult Learning. “He had that personality that attracted young people because he was a real teacher. He brought meaning to the classroom. I suspect every student that left that classroom every day had their battery recharged and couldn’t wait to get back to the classroom.”

Jepson said Babb helped equip Stafford’s engineering lab with the sort of gear students would work with in the real world.

“They have real hands-on experiences now, thanks to him, that are true to life,” he said. “They’re going into the workforce with some pretty solid skills.”

Lovett said Babb started the Christmas tree roundup that became of the troop’s main fundraisers, offsetting the costs of memberships, uniforms, awards, programs like providing Christmas tree ornaments to nursing homes and sending scouts to camp. He said it was inspired by a similar event elsewhere.

“It was a fundraiser for a private school somewhere,” he said. “He thought, what better way to bring the kids to the community than do something as visible as this.”

Lovett said the final collection of the year is on Saturday and anyone in the city or nearby who needs a tree taken away should call 438-8721 and donate whatever they feel is appropriate.

“We’ve gotten checks,” Lovett said. “We’ve gotten cash. We’ve gotten bags of cookies.”

Lovett said Saturday is also Babb’s funeral and his family will be coming along with his Scouts on the pickups beforehand.

“We’re going to be basically hitting the street at 8 o’clock in the morning,” Lovett said. “We’re done in time for the kids to get cleaned up for the funeral.”


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City Reporter

Gordon has been a reporter for the Rutland Herald for nearly 20 years. A Castleton State College graduate, he's covered beats from the West county to the city, cops and courts and everything in between.

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