Classics professor Charles Babcock, a former chair of the department here at Ohio State, passed away Friday in Columbus at the age of 88.
Babcock, who previously taught at Cornell and Penn, came to Ohio State in 1966 and spent three decades on the faculty, including two tours as department chair and a term as dean of the College of Humanities. A California native and World War II veteran, he earned his degrees from Berkeley, where he developed wide interests in classical Latin literature.
Charles was best known for his love of the city of Rome, a love which he shared with many students through his associations with the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies and the American Academy in Rome. Undergraduates and graduate students alike cherished his thoughtful instruction and gentlemanly presence.
I was fortunate to know Charles both as a student and, many years later, as a colleague. I first met him more than 30 years ago when I was still in high school, and he graciously agreed — even though he was serving as chair of the classics department — to direct me in an independent study reading Tacitus' Agricola. This was my first college-level Latin course, and his patient explanations of history, grammar and syntax set me on a lifelong path enjoying the richness of Latin literature and ancient history.
Charles is survived by Mary, his wife of 57 years; three children and three grandchildren. An online condolence book is available at the website of Cook & Son - Pallay Funeral Home in Columbus. A memorial service is being planned for the spring.