OBITUARY: Audrey Nell (Cole) Babcock


Audrey Nell (Cole) Babcock, age 86, of Columbia TN passed away peacefully from natural causes on Saturday morning, November 26th with family by her side.

Audrey was born on March 11, 1936, in Hackleburg, AL to Oscar and Oma Cole as the fifth of eleven children.

Growing up on a farm in rural Alabama, she and her brothers and sisters enjoyed many different adventures and explorations in between times of hard work on the farm and in the household. The family often sang hymns and read the Bible together, and Audrey enjoyed these activities her entire life.

In high school, she played basketball and was salutatorian of her class. As a young woman, work took her through the northeast and into Canada. But her Mama and the South called her back.

On a blind date in Columbus, MS this beautiful, young lady from rural Alabama met a tall, handsome flight navigator from New York City, William (Bill) Joseph Babcock. Audrey and Bill married in 1961 and lived on multiple air force bases for the next 15 years. They were blessed with the arrival of children Melissa and Bill in Rapid City, SD. While her husband Bill was deployed for years in Vietnam, Audrey ran the house with 2 young children.

Later, the family was transferred to Hahn Air Force Base in Germany. While living in Germany, three more children were born – Brendan and then twins Brian and Andrea. After Bill retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel, the family settled on a small farm in Fayetteville, TN to be closer to Audrey’s family. There were many extended family Thanksgivings and other annual gatherings over the years that drew the family together.

Audrey was immensely proud of her children and their families; she joyfully welcomed eight grandchildren in as many years. Audrey lived her final years in Columbia, TN to interweave her life with those of her children and grandchildren. The Friday night dinners and multi-generation family vacations and celebrations over the last 20 years of her life are cherished memories.

Audrey had a curious creative mind and had a love of learning that she passed to her children. She was interested in biology and decided to go to college and graduated with honors at the age of 50, providing an example of never being too old in life to start and finish a goal.

Her Christian faith was her greatest joy as Audrey was a prayer warrior and had a true love for reading, studying, and discussing the Bible. She loved literature, painting, and music and wrote many poems and songs expressing her faith. She sang for many years in church choirs, both large and small.

She will always be remembered for her quirky sense of humor, her bright-eyed smile, and her pleasantness and grace in dealing with even the most difficult of situations. She loved dearly and was dearly loved; she is greatly missed.

Audrey was preceded in death by her husband, William J. Babcock; daughter Melissa Ann Moore.

She is survived by her children Bill Babcock (Amy), Brendan Babcock (Sharon), Brian Babcock (Becky), and Andrea Babcock, and grandchildren Anna Babcock, Joe Babcock, David Babcock, Olivia Babcock, Rylie Babcock, Joshua Babcock, Daniel Babcock, and John Babcock.

Of her parents and siblings, she was preceded in death by her father Oscar B. Cole and mother Oma Hamric Cole; sisters Ethel Cochran Isbell, Mary Sue Cole Melville, and Alma Hankins; brothers L.G. Cochran, Tom Cole and James Cole.

Survivors include Sisters Jennie Dannels of FL, Marga Paris (Clark) of FL and Debra Quarles (Rodney) of TN and sister in laws Catherine Cole of TN and Lula Cole of AL; brother Justus Cole (Gayle) of AL and brother-in-law Andy Melville of Utah.

She is also survived by many nieces and nephews that remember her with fondness and love.

A service will be held at 2 PM Friday, December 9, 2022, with visitation from 12 – 2 PM, at Heritage Funeral Home in Columbia, TN with her brother Justus Cole officiating. A private burial for the family will take place later in Fayetteville, TN where Audrey will be laid to rest next to her husband Bill.


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