Niagara Gazette

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January 20, 2014

HIGGS: Moving along to St. Mary of the Cataract

Niagara Gazette — Before we get deeply engrossed in the early days of St. Mary of the Cataract Church, a few words need to be said about Cal Babcock.

You met the Rev. Calvin Babcock during the past few weeks when he was pastor of St Paul’s Methodist Church. And while I did attend a few services at his church during the late 1960s when I lived on the 700 block of Cedar Avenue, I formally met him during my employment at the City of Niagara Falls as risk manager and assistant to the city manager during the mid-1980s. I called the City Missions to see if they would be interested in operating the refreshment stand in the city hall lobby and Cal, who the Mission’s director at the time, appeared in front of me one day. He eagerly accepted the chance as part of a training program.

When I changed jobs and went to Supreme Court at Third and Cedar, I called him again when the refreshment stand there became vacant and he rallied once again, providing food service at both locations for several years.

Following his retirement, he became a major part of the Niagara Beautification Commission accepting the challenge of chairman when the Chamber of Commerce decided to spin off the commission. Cal’s activities with the commission continue to this day as he simply finds a project that needs doing and does it. Of course, he has run amok now and then with those who question his authority but he continues undaunted in his quest to beautify the city. Even his wife Jan rolls her eyes occasionally when I tell her of his escapades. Good, bad or indifferent I for one appreciate the help he has given me in my community pocket park when he just shows up at my door with photos and receipts for repairs to our fence, purchase of mulch and the like. He has recently been helping with snow removal in his neighborhood I hear and so it goes on. Thanks Cal.

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