Former longtime Durango resident Angelina Anna Babey died Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, in Truth or Consequences, N.M. She was 92. She lived in Durango for 87 years.
Known as “Lena,” she was born to John and Caterina “Katie” (Sartori) Baudino on Oct. 22, 1920, in Durango. Her parents were both Italian immigrants who settled in Durango in the early 20th century, and her daughters Kay Niemann and Carla Urban memorialized the family story in the book Salone Italiano.
Mrs. Babey graduated from Durango High School in 1937.
After a few months of study at Barnes Business College in Denver, Mrs. Babey took a job at First National Bank of Durango.
She possessed a talent for the business skills of her day – typing, shorthand and running an office – her family said.
In 1940, she married Peter Babey in Silverton, and the couple immediately moved in above her family’s saloon in the 500 block of Main Avenue.
While raising her daughters, Mrs. Babey worked part time at the Weidman Sawmill, where she helped put out one of the largest payrolls in the Durango area. She also helped her sister, Frances Wegher, with the office work at Wegher’s Food Store, a popular grocery.
The sisters were both active members of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority. Mrs. Babey directed the Beta Sigma Phi chorus, a choral group that often was asked to perform at local ceremonies and events.
She eventually went to work for Durango School District 9-R as secretary at Miller Junior High School, moving over to Durango High School before finishing her career at Mason Elementary School.
“One of her greatest attributes was the interest and love she gave each student,” her family said. Former students would greet her wherever she went.
“Lena will be remembered for her warm, outgoing personality and her fun-loving spirit,” her family said. “She shared her singing talent, and from the time she was 11 years old until she was 84, she sang in the choir at St. Columba Catholic Church. She enjoyed being with people, playing bridge with friends and celebrating with family.”
Mrs. Babey was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, Peter Babey.
She is survived by her daughters Kay Niemann of Westlake Village, Calif., and Carla Urban of Elephant Butte, N.M.; three grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, at St. Columba Catholic Church, 1800 East Second Ave., in Durango. The Rev. James Koenigsfeld will be the celebrant. Burial will take place at Greenmount Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the St. Columba Church Choir, 1800 East Second Ave., Durango, CO 81301.