The passing of The Montana Taxidermist.
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Taxidermy.Net Forum  |  General Discussions  |  The Taxidermy Industry  |  Topic: The passing of The Montana Taxidermist. « previous next »
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DManning
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« on: October 25, 2016, 03:00:11 PM »

As many of you are aware, the taxidermy world recently lost a giant in the industry. Bruce Babcock, The Montana Taxidermist, passed away October 22nd, after a 2 year battle with brain cancer.

Bruce was a founding member of the Montana Taxidermy Guild in the early 80's that later became the Montana Taxidermist Association. His love for the art of taxidermy was apparent. His work speaks for itself.

We will miss his story telling, his jokes and the twinkle in his eyes.

So long, Bruce. You were more than a colleague. You were a friend.

A memorial to celebrate Bruce's life will be held at The Canvas Church, Thursday October 27th at 3pm in Kalispell.

A support page has been established at Go Fund Me to assist the family with the significant expenses that are often incurred during serious illness and beyond. If you can help, here's the link: https://www.gofundme.com/2vsq5av4
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John Bellucci
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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2016, 01:33:18 AM »

Sorry to hear of Bruce's passing ... He was a BIG name in some of the early Taxidermy Magazines.  My condolences to all his friends and family.
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Joe Kish
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2016, 05:44:46 PM »

You got it right Dale. Bruce was also a man of great character and integrity. Humane to animals too. I have nothing but good memories of Bruce, our friend and colleague.
   The first time I visited Bruce, he invited me to the house for a cup of coffee, a hospitable gesture I wasnt expecting.  Upon entering I noticed a small fluffy white mutt, which upon seeing me bolted from the kitchen in terror, its toenails slipping on the floor in its haste to hide in another room.  Bruce explained that the dog was terrified of everyone other than family.  He said he was throwing some trash in a dumpster one day and he heard something alive in it which made him curious.  When he looked in he saw it was that little dog.  He said it didnt look at him or respond to his voice.  He said the dog was shaking uncontrollably on the edge of a catatonic state.  Obviously someone had thrown the dog in the dumpster and he said he didnt need or want the dog but he couldnt not rescue it, which he did. Not knowing what else to do with the dog, Bruce and his family just kept it fed and protected in the house until it eventually trusted him to handle it.  It took a few weeks for the little pooch to warm up to its new family.   It lived out its life thereafter with the Babcocks, but remained forever afraid of those it didnt know. 

Then there was the time Ron Jenkins shop burned down in Augusta. Bruce along with Mel Kastella, Ralph Swang and a gang of other members of the MTA went up there to clear the slab of rubble so Ron could rebuild on it. It was a fine thing considering Ron was everyones competitor except me.  After a few hours of working in the hot soot and charcoaled remains, Bruce noticed we were all as black as crows from head to foot and started cracking jokes, like Didnt your mother ever teach you to wash behind your ears once in awhile?  One of the men answered, Whos this pot calling the kettle black?  That triggered the levity which continued the rest of the day as everyone worked together.  If Bruce had a dark side, it was only on the outside and lasted only for two days while helping a friend in need.
I never had to call Bruce whenever hed take in an animal that he thought I would want to measure for sculpting purposes. He knew what a model maker was looking for. Even though I lived 300 miles from Kalispell and would take six or seven hours to get to Bruces place, he would usually hold off skinning even for a day or two to accommodate me.  Among the Montana bighorns, bears and mulies I measured at his shop, there was an exceptional male mt. lion. That specimen provided me with measurements and a skeleton for a 180lb cat and model, the top size range in my charts. 

We all must play the cards were dealt in life even when we draw a painful hand like Bruce did near the end. Nevertheless the man played his cards with honesty, charm and good humor.  Let me join you Dale and the rest of Bruces friends in extending our love and sympathy to Trish, and the rest of his family and friends.  He may be gone from our sight, but not from our hearts and minds. -  Amen
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Bill Yox
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2016, 11:00:52 PM »

Sorry to hear the news. I recall a raccoon mount he once did, that was very popular in our trade magazines.
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Kathy Blomquist
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« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2016, 04:07:23 PM »

http://flatheadbeacon.com/2016/11/10/the-animal-artist/
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Ken Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2016, 10:32:03 AM »

Thank you, Kathy. That was very nice.
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