Rev. Joe R. Babb died on Friday, April 25. At 84, it was still too soon.
Joe was a Baptist minister to the core. A graduate of Furman University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, he served as pastor of four different churches: Wayside Baptist Mission in Startex, SC; Cameron Baptist in Cameron, NC; North Henderson Baptist in Henderson, NC; and Morningside Baptist in Asheville, NC.
For many people, Joe’s most memorable work was as a director of missions, a position in which he excelled because of his interest in people, his friendly demeanor, and the way he encouraged churches to major on their common mission rather than what might divide them. Over the years, Joe served the Cullom Baptist Association around Henderson, the Tennessee River Association in the Bryson City area, and the Cheoah Association surrounding Robbinsville, all in North Carolina.
Joe brought that same “we’re in it together” attitude to his role as a member of the Biblical Recorder board of directors, where he served multiple terms including several years as chair of the board at a time when we were doing our best to encourage cooperation and good will among churches of varying theological stripes in the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
Any number of pastors, both old and young, think of Joe as a mentor and guide. Moderate Baptists in particular will remember him as a courageous and motivated friend who helped to build and encourage a network of pastors and other Cooperative Baptist Fellowship-minded folk in Western North Carolina.
And many others will remember Joe because he was an all-around super guy: a devoted husband/father/grandfather, an avid wood turner, and a good friend to neighbors and strangers alike — whether face-to-face or on Facebook.
Good and dependable folk like Joe Babb don’t come along enough, and I’m one of thousands who are grateful for his influence in our lives.
Rest in peace and celebrate with joy, Joe. You did good.