“Before you drift to sleep, think back on all the tales that you remember…”
Patsy Ann Babcock, 1924 – 2001
Tragically, the day Pat and Harold moved into the Village in 1997, Pat sustained an injury, which ultimately led to her death in 2001. While not well enough to appreciate the success and expansion of Camelot, she was always able to enjoy the plantings and flowers, many of which she personally purchased and planted; one of her last acts for Camelot was picking out the fountain that sits on a small green space in the Village. She took great delight in the little cherub pouring water from a broken vessel. During her illness Pat’s happiness was the presence of her husband and family. Thanks to the loving nursing of caretaker and friend Pat Miller, Patsy was able to stay at home with her husband of nearly 58 years. Always the loving mother, grandmother, sister and aunt she spoke to her loved ones with great joy and affection just hours before she passed. She died in Harold’s arms in their home in Camelot.
The residents of Camelot ran a beautiful memorial page in Pat’s memory, on OBP television, for a month following her death. Having been long time fans of the Lawrence Welk show, Harold and Pat had chosen to sponsor the program, in lieu of other media advertising. Before and after each Saturday evening episode of Lawrence Welk, Camelot Village was featured for over ten years. This sponsorship instigated many calls of appreciation, including live recognition for Harold at the Welk Resort in Branson, Missouri where he and his grandchildren visited after Pat’s death.
After his wife’s death, Harold took one of the remaining corner lots and developed a Memorial Garden which has been lovingly built, planted, and tended to over the years to include a fountain, fish pond, gazebo, walkways, and dozens of beautiful blooming plantings. The Memorial Garden features a paving stone walkway lined with bricks engraved with the names and dates of all the original homeowners in the Village. Many Camelot residents have added stones engraved with names of loved ones to our Garden floor. The Garden is one of the most popular features of Camelot.
Always close to her parents, Nell became more and more involved in the business of the Park as her mother’s health declined. After her death, Nell and Harold formed a partnership to run the business that continues as a tribute to the love they share for the mother, wife, and grandmother (“PaPa”) they so dearly remember. Pat’s grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and daughter remember her with great fondness and tenderness. They recall her as infinitely patient, kind, and cheerful.
Harold Chester Babcock, 1924 – 2013
After managing the Village for nearly 20 years, Harold continued to reside in the Village and observe the variety of comings and goings of family, residents, and projects until his death in the spring of 2013.
Twelve years after Pat died, the daughter Harold and Pat brought into this world, Nellie Jo, and to whom they left the legacy of their beloved Camelot, is now the author of her father’s obituary:
My father did not go gentle into that good night. He raged against anything that held him down, especially his own infirmity. He never believed for one minute that he was incapable of getting into his truck and hauling the garbage to the dump, mowing his 5 acres of lawn, taking his buddies out for coffee, designing his latest idea for Camelot, or heading up the freeway to see his family. He cried when friends and family died, he hated funerals, and did not appreciate the inconvenience of his own old age, although he would jokingly say, “But it beats the alternative!” I don’t believe he ever thought he would leave us. His optimism, good nature, kind humor, and big smile will always cloud any other memory of him. He loved to tease, no one was immune. It was a pleasure to be in his presence. He had a big heart and big gentle hands; he never hesitated to reach out in friendship or support. He loved to hold the babies and hug the children. And he would never hesitate to hold your hand. My Daddy held my hand when I was afraid of the dark; he held my hand to teach me to ride a bike and to get me safely across the street. He held my hand the day I married the father of my own children; he held my hand when he met each of those grandchildren. He held my hand on the day we lost my mother and I held his hand on the day that he died at home in Camelot.
Harold’s memorial service was held in the Camelot Recreation Hall (as Pat’s was) and the overflowing crowd was a testament to the love and respect of his community. Proud veteran that he was, the military gave Harold a “Final Salute” and gave to me the flag in his honor. There are now two loving bronze memorial plaques in the entryway from the residents of Camelot.
People often ask me if I’d be interested in selling Camelot. It feels as if they are asking me to sell my Mother and Father…No…I will do what I can to continue to fulfill their vision; to make Camelot a small corner of the world where older folks can strive to live happily ever after. Harold and Pat did. You can too!