Joanne Clara (Heltzel) Babcock went home to Jesus on Wednesday, October 6th, 2021 while surrounded by her family. She was 79 years old. Joanne was born to Ralph and Lucille Heltzel on September 27, 1942 in Portland, Oregon, the second child and younger sister to Leonald “Lonnie” Heltzel. Her parents divorced in 1952, and her mother remarried Jack Dinges in 1953 when she was eleven years old. As a child, she spent a lot of time with her cousins and her older brother. When she was fifteen her foster sister Debbie came to live with them. She adored being an older sister to sixteen-month-old Debbie. She liked dolls and often talked about the paper dolls she played with as a child. She also remembered that when times were lean, and they often were, she would stand in front of the fireplace with her blanket open to the heat, then quickly close it around her and run upstairs to crawl into bed so she would be warm. She graduated from Jefferson High School in 1960, and worked as a telephone operator and a receptionist before meeting the love of her life on New Year’s Eve 1963 at a gas station in downtown Portland. She married Charles Boyd Babcock nine months later, on September 4, 1964, Together they moved several times (Salt Lake City, Kalispell, Mt, and Denver, Co) before settling in his hometown of Casper, Wyoming. Between 1967 and 1972, she gave birth to three daughters who became her life’s treasure and focus. She was a loving and caring mother who always put her children first.
As her family grew, she was the rock at its center. She raised her daughters and helped her husband maintain his growing rental property business. She was a woman of deep faith. She and her family joined Highland Park Community Church in the early 1980s and she remained a part of that church family for the rest of her life. She always had a special place in her heart for animals of all kinds; from giving strays a home to feeding the birds and squirrels in her yard, which became a sort of sanctuary for local critters. She was incredibly fond of her granddaughter Taylor’s dog, Kota, who was by her side in the last months of her life. She was also well known for her love of shopping and being able to find the very best bargains and make the most of whatever amount she had. She was very proud of her large and varied collection of Santa Claus dolls. She especially loved the Oregon Coast and always cherished her visits back to Portland and her time spent there. The ocean was her own sanctuary.
Once her children were grown, she enthusiastically embraced the role of grandma to her six grandchildren who she loved with all her heart. She also loved to travel and she and her husband often spent time in Estes Park, Colorado. It was one of her favorite places. In addition to traveling locally, they were able to travel to Italy, Ireland and to Hawaii and many places in the United States. She was delighted with their trip to New England in the Fall, when the foliage was especially beautiful. It had been a long time dream of hers to go there.
She was preceded in death by her father Ralph Heltzel, her stepfather, Jack Dinges, her mother Lucille Dinges, and her brother Leonald Heltzel. She is survived by her husband of 59 years, Charles Babcock, her foster sister Debbie (Bernie) Hauck, her three daughters Angela Geiger, Deana Babcock, and Brenda (Patrick) Christensen, her six grandchildren, and several cousins, nieces and nephews.
The family has held a private service.
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