Tim Babcock

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Timothy Milford "Tim" Babcock

In office
January 25, 1962 – January 6, 1969
Preceded by Donald Grant Nutter
Succeeded by Forrest Howard Anderson

22nd Lieutenant Governor of Montana
In office
January 2, 1961 – January 25, 1962
Governor Donald Nutter
Preceded by Paul Cannon
Succeeded by David James (acting for Tim James)

Montana State Representative
In office

Born October 27, 1919
Littlefork, Minnesota
Died April 7, 2015 (aged 95)
Helena, Montana
Resting place Forestvale Cemetery in Helena
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Betty Ruth Lee Babcock (married 1941-2013, her death)
Children Marla Kay Babcock Fillinger (deceased)

Lorna Babcock Kuney

Alma mater Dawson County (Montana) High School
Occupation Businessman
Religion United Methodist

Military Service
Service/branch United States Army
Unit Infantry
Battles/wars European Theater of Operations: Battle of the Bulge in World War II
Awards Bronze Star

Timothy Milford Babcock, known as Tim Babcock (October 27, 1919   April 7, 2015), was the 16th governor of his adopted state of Montana. A Republican, he served from 1962 to 1969.


Babcock was born in rural Littlefork in Koochiching County in northern Minnesota, the son of Erwin Babcock and the former Olive Rinehart.[1] He later moved to Glendive in Dawson County in eastern Montana, and graduated in 1939 from Dawson County High School.[2]

In 1941, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Babcock wed his high school sweetheart, the former Betty Ruth Lee (1922-2013), and the couple lived in Miles City until his election as lieutenant governor when they moved to the capital city of Helena. Betty Babcock was native of Iowa who was reared by an uncle and aunt after the death of her mother when she was two years of age. She published The First Lady's Cookbook, which helped to fund several state projects. She was a member of the 1972 state constitutional convention and was a state representative for one year in 1974. She was the chairman of the Montana Capitol Restoration Foundation and worked with the Montana Historical Society.[3]

The Babcocks were United Methodists and had two daughters, one of whom, Marla Kay Fillinger, died of injuries sustained in an automobile accident in 1985 at the age of thirty-seven. The other daughter is Lorna Kuney of Helena.[4]

In 1944, he enlisted in the United States Army as an infantryman and served in the European Theater of Operations during World War II.[5] He fought at Elsenborn Ridge as part of the Battle of the Bulge. He later took part in the capture of Remagen Bridge and received a Bronze Star for valor.[6]


Babcock served three terms in the Montana House of Representatives prior to his 1960 election as lieutenant governor, when Vice President Richard M. Nixon carried Montana against Senator John F. Kennedy. He succeeded to the governorship in 1962 upon the death by airplane crash of Governor Donald Nutter, who served only one year and three weeks. During his tenure, Babcock proposed a three-percent sales tax to support the state government. In 1964, Babcock endorsed Barry Goldwater of Arizona for the Republican presidential nomination, one of only three of the then sixteen Republican governors. Babcock was joined by Governors Henry Bellmon of Oklahoma and Paul Fannin of Arizona. Goldwater was decisively defeated by the Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, who also won Montana's then four electoral votes.[7]

Babcock narrowly won a full term in 1964 against the Democrat Roland R. Renne (1905-1989), the former president of Montana State University in Bozeman, then Montana State College. From 1964 to 1965, he a member of the National Governors' Conference Executive Committee, and from 1966 to 1967 he chaired the Western Governors' Conference.

In 1966, Governor Babcock ran unsuccessfully against then incumbent United States Senator Lee Warren Metcalf (1911-1978), a Democrat who improved his showing from his previous Senate race in 1960.

When Babcock ran for re-election in 1968, he faced a primary challenge from his lieutenant governor, Ted James. Babcock defeated James but then lost the general election to the Democrat state Attorney General Forrest Howard Anderson (1913-1989, who bucked the Nixon tide in Montana that year..

Later years

President Nixon appointed Babcock to the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere. On eleven occasions from 1956 to 1996, he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention and served on the National Republican Committee from 1997 to 2000. He was an executive for the American financier Armand Hammer.[5]

In 1978, Babcock and his wife, along with Linda Grosskopf, wrote a book: Challenges: Above & Beyond.[8]

In 1969, the Babcocks purchased the Hauser Mansion in Helena, which was built for Governor Samuel Thomas Hauser (1833-1914) and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Lewis and Clark County.[9]

Babcock died in Helena at the age of ninety-five, two years after the passing of his wife Betty. The couple and their daughter Marla are interred at Forestvale Cemetery in Helena.[5]


  1. Tim Milford Babcock | Obituaries (April 9, 2015). Retrieved on 2017-06-07.
  2. Tim M. Babcock. Soylent Communications. Retrieved on October 12, 2012.
  3. Betty Ruth Lee Babcock (1922-2013) - Find A Grave Memorial, accessed July 27, 2021.
  4. Marla Kay Babcock Fillinger (1947-1985) - Find A Grave Memorial, accessed July 27, 2021.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Timothy Milford “Tim” Babcock (1919-2015) - Find A Grave Memorial, accessed July 27, 2021.
  6. Curt Synness (January 28, 2005). Local Vets Remember Battle of Bulge on Its Anniversary. Helena Independent Record. Retrieved on July 27, 2021.
  7. Thomas Payne, "The 1964 Election in Montana," The Western Political Quarterly Vol. 18, Issu32, June 1965, pp. 491–494.
  8. CHALLENGES Above and Beyond: Babcock, Tim; Babcock, Betty; Grosskopf, Linda: 9781607250692: Amazon.com: Books, accessed July 27, 2021.
  9. National Register of Historic Places Inventory--Nomination Form: Hauser Mansion. United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved on July 27, 2021.