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Remembering Tanya Babcock in Wayland

The Wayland Book Club dedicates a Little Library in honor of a friend who passed away last year. PHOTOS BY JASMINE WILLIS

By Jasmine Willis

WAYLAND — A local book club held a dedication in memory of one of their members who passed away.

Tanya Babcock, 46, of Wayland passed away on June 1, 2019. It left a community heartbroken and looking for a way to honor her memory. Babcock was involved in her community. She wanted to see it grow and come alive again. She was part of the Wayland Rotary Club, Wayland Book Club, and Gunlocke Senior Marketing Manager. She was also a former employee at the Evening Tribune in Hornell.

Tanya Babcock touched a lot of hearts and wanted her community to be a better place. PHOTO PROVIDED

Babcock enjoyed many things in her lifetime. She loved reading Toni Morrison with her book club ladies. She loved traveling, reading, and writing. She took morning walks with her book club ladies on Saturdays to enjoy the community. She left behind her legacy with her husband Kerry and two children Brin and John Sanford. She now rests at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Wayland.

On Oct. 14 the Wayland Book Club held a dedication ceremony to unveil a Little FREE Library in honor of Tanya Babcock. Members Marleen Mark, Paula Quanz, Anita Eck, Char Kreiley, Paula Fox, Dawn Kiesl, Anne Bastine, Diane Bergvall, Bev Lawrence, Sheri Waltman Kramer, Bridget Quibell, Gail Cali, Linda Martello, and Bonnie Sick all thought very fondly of Babcock.

Little Free Library in memory of Tanya Babcock in Wayland. PHOTOS BY JASMINE WILLIS

Fox is the last original member of the first Wayland Book Club that started with mothers and daughters about 15 years ago. A few years later the book club got back on its feet with a whole new outlook that involved anyone who wanted to be part of a sisterhood.

“I first knew Tanya as a mother, since our daughters were friends in middle school. Her daughter was the only kid I ever met who read as much as my kid did. It was years later that Anne (Bastine) invited our friend Tanya to book club. I didn’t think I knew this person, but I walked into book club and it was Brin’s mom,” she said. “It was a great way to reconnect through book club and through walking together on Saturdays. She was a lovely person, and a very positive person. She was a lovely mom, a great friend, a big reader, and a huge community supporter. She wanted to always do something tied to the community and books.”

Bastine gave a nice dedication to her friend. This Little Free Library will honor Tanya's memory forever. PHOTOS BY JASMINE WILLIS

Bastine talked about how much Babcock meant to her and the community as well.

“Tanya and I were in three things at the same time. Rotary, Book Club, and our walking group on Saturday mornings. She spoke very little of any issues she had health wise. She always had a huge zest for life. She loved doing things with her daughter. She was somebody we all admired so much. She was an incredible rotary member. She was very involved and enthusiastic,” she said. “She and I sold tickets for a raffle once in front of Smitty’s. It is not a fun job to do that, but it gave us a chance to talk and get to know one another. That is my biggest memory of talking with her and getting to know about some of her issues with her heart. She downplayed all of her health issues, so when she passed it was such a huge shock to all of us. She is so missed. We will now have a great great memory every time we go past this Little Library. Whenever we get a book or give a book I think Tanya will be smiling down on us.”

Little Free Library is located in the grassy alley next to Wayland Town Court. PHOTOS BY JASMINE WILLIS

Fox added the Little Library came from a kit at the Little FREE Library Organization. Now the Little FREE Library has it’s own charter number with a dedication plaque to Tanya Babcock. It will be on the map with all the other Little FREE Libraries in the world.

Kiesl’s husband, Jerry Kiesl, is a woodworker out of Gunlocke. He helped the club chose the right kit from the Little FREE Library Organization. He installed it a week ago after the Wayland Village Board approved it for the location and community. The Little FREE Library is located in the grass alley next to Wayland Town Court.

The Wayland Book Club would like to place a bench by the library at some point dedicated to Tanya. PHOTOS BY JASMINE WILLIS

Mark added that Babcock always encouraged her daughter Brin to read and write. Brin studied and was an intern at the Wayland Gunlocke Library. She would go on to work there part-time. Now she is in the city working at a library. Brin would also come to the book club and enjoyed the group of ladies that impacted her mother’s life so much.

Kiesl said her daughter, Fox’s daughter, and Brin were all friends who read books together. She found is a great joy to connect again with both of them in book club.

“All of our daughters were such great friends. It was such a great joy to connect with her again in book club. We had so many conversations about books,” she said. “When the time came to do something for Tanya’s memory we all thought about it for a long time. We all decided on this Little FREE Library idea. Once we got it all planned, and the location, and the kit my husband volunteered to install it. We were all so happy to do something as a book club for her memory.”

Share a book. Give a book. Remember Tanya Babcock. PHOTOS BY JASMINE WILLIS

Wayland Book Club still meets at one of the member’s homes. They have been doing it outside since Covid 19 happened. Now that it is getting to colder months they will think of another avenue. The walking group still meets at Simply Autumn’s at 8 a.m. every Saturday to do about a three-mile walk around town.

Anyone who wishes to donate a book or take a book can do so at any time. The Tanya Babcock Little FREE Library is always open. It is a bright beacon in the community just like she was.

Tanya spent her life wanting to change the world. And she really did. She is greatly missed. PHOTO PROVIDED

For more information on Little Free Library visit Take a book. Share a book.

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