Obituary for Michael Babiarz
November 28, 1955 – March 1, 2021
Michael Babiarz, wonderful husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend, left this earth far too soon and too suddenly.
The reasons we will miss him are many. First on the list: Those puns. Day, night and any time in between, there was always one ready to spill out and usually make you smile. He injected his unique sense of humor along with his hard work into everything he did – his biweekly Back 40 radio show on KVMR, volunteering at Loaves & Fishes, and his many jobs in restaurants, catering, and retail.
It was during his recent years at Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply that Michael was able to share his vast knowledge and joy in all things growing. And since he could coax a tropical plumeria to survive and thrive in his own beautiful, whimsical garden in the Sierra foothills – a feat that took a lot of know-how, patience and faith – he was really, really good at it.
Michael was treasured for the qualities that made him a good husband, friend, and family member. No matter the need, whether it be an ear or an arm or a strong back, he would always be among the first to be there, and he usually had a loaf of his famous sweet bread under his arm. He gladly shared the recipe but good luck making it taste just as delicious as he did.
It is said it takes a village to raise a child and Michael was part of many villages – you could usually find him with a niece or nephew perched happily on his shoulders or enfolded in one of Michael’s Air Bear Hugs. In later years, he was teaching them how to drive his mustang convertible.
Like too many, Michael deserved more time on this planet. More long (opinionated!) conversations well into the night. More road trips. More time spent honing his already considerable woodworking skills. More time at music festivals. More time in Elko (but maybe less time at the train station). And more time with all of us who loved him.
Still, we are grateful for every minute we had. Michael made the world better with his loyalty, generosity, humor, and kindness. And he absolutely made it a lot more fun.
He is survived by Jenny, his wife of 43 years; his mom, Trudy; a whole lot of siblings, nieces, and nephews; legions of folk and cowboy music fans and friends; and, of course, his truck (37 years and counting).
Michael would want this tribute to his life to end with his signature sign off on his radio show: “And when you’re out there on the highways and byways, be kind to one another and use those turn signals!”
We will, Michael. Happy trails.
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