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Candidate’s Father Dies in Flagstaff

January 25, 1988 GMT

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) _ Paul J. Babbitt Sr., the father of Democratic presidential candidate Bruce Babbitt, died Sunday at the age of 89, the family said.

Babbitt, who had been in declining health for several months, died at 4 p.m. at his home, a family member said.

Aides to Bruce Babbitt in New Hampshire said he would cancel his campaign appearances in that state Monday and his appearance at a debate in Boston on Monday night.

″He said the family comes first, and he will be returning early tomorrow morning from New Hampshire to Phoenix,″ said Mick McCurry, reached at a Bedford, N.H., hotel with the campaign.


The candidate had not been told what day the funeral would be, McCurry said. Babbitt was planning on an interruption of several days in his campaign schedule, McCurry said.

The elder Babbitt, who ended his involvement as a corporate officer and legal counsel to the Babbitt Brothers Trading Co. in the mid-1970s, enjoyed the distinction from 1978 to 1982 of being the father of Arizona’s governor and the mayor of one of its cities. While Bruce Babbitt governed the state, his brother, Paul J. Babbitt Jr., was mayor of Flagstaff.

The younger Paul Babbitt now is chairman of the Coconino County Board of Supervisors.

Paul Babbitt Sr. was born May 21, 1898, in Flagstaff and attended high school in Los Angeles. He and earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in Washington and a doctorate of law from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

From 1937 until 1945, he practiced law in Los Angeles, returning to Flagstaff after the death of a younger brother, James, to become legal counsel for the family-owned trading company.

Other survivors include his wife, Frances Perry; three sons, Kenneth and Paul Babbitt of Flagstaff and Charles Babbitt of Phoenix; one daughter, Christine Babbitt of Berkeley, Calif.; and five grandchildren.

Services will be private, the family said.