SWAMPSCOTT – About a year ago, Lynn native Abraham “Abe” Babbitt and his wife, Frances, were able to greet and hold the newest member of their large family, great-grandson John Wesley Babbitt.
Abe Babbitt and his great-grandson were born roughly 99 years apart.
Then in March, restrictions on visitors to the Bertram House of Swampscott, the senior living community where the couple had lived since 2019, were put in place because of the pandemic.
On March 18, the couple celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary just as long-term care residences across the state were going into lockdown. That meant canceling their large party, though Bertram House threw a smaller one for them with residents and staff.
Then, on Oct. 7, Frances Babbitt died at age 95, a sad time for the family. Abe Babbitt’s 100th birthday milestone came on Oct. 30.
Despite the cold, snowy morning, Babbitt went out to greet Swampscott’s Big Blue fire truck as it swung by to wish him well, with a “Happy Birthday” banner on the side, sirens blaring, and lights flashing. Governor Charlie Baker, who also lives in Swampscott, sent over a formal citation.
After graduating from Lynn Classical High, Abe Babbitt went to work for General Electric, said his daughter, Ann Pendexter.
“He started out working in the machine shop and was very active in the union,” Pendexter said. Eventually, she said, her father became part of management in the personnel department, and retired in the mid-1980s.
During World War II, Abe served as a staff sergeant in the headquarters of the 11th Air Force of the Army Air Forces. He was stationed in Alaska, and was discharged in 1945.
Abe Babbitt and his wife belonged to Congregation Anshai Sfard in Lynn, where Babbitt served as the president and treasurer of the brotherhood. They later joined Congregation Shirat Hayam in Swampscott. Pendexter said they moved to town in 1963.