Marilyn and Robert Babich
Robert “Bob” Babich was born in Elyria, Ohio, and Marilyn Barnett was born in Wooster, Ohio. They met as Ohio State undergraduates while participating in a WOSU dramatic radio broadcast. Bob and Marilyn married in 1943 before Bob left to serve as a First Lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II.
Marilyn continued her studies at Ohio State, graduating with distinction from the College of Education with a double major in education and speech and hearing therapy in 1945. After graduation, she worked at the Hillel Foundation and Bob returned to complete his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering in 1947 with support from a GI Bill scholarship.
Marilyn and Bob eventually moved to Marion, Ohio, in 1955 when Bob bought Marion Iron and Metal. In the following years, he expanded the business from a scrap metal yard to buying and selling government surplus to a combination Ace Hardware, sporting goods, and western wear store he named Depot Sales. At the same time, Marilyn and Bob were involved in a range of community service activities in Marion as well as raising two children, Beth and Ted, who would both follow in their parents’ footsteps by becoming Ohio State alumni.
Bob took great pride in the recognition he received from the President’s Club for his giving to Ohio State. His final gift was in the form of a bequest to benefit Ohio State’s Marion campus. For nearly 25 years, the Babich Honors Fund has supported programs on the Marion campus that nurture scholarly achievement among students. Among the resources for students that resulted from Bob Babich’s generosity are the Babich Honors Reading Room, which provides a quiet area for students to study on campus, and the Babich Writing Award, which celebrates the excellence of student writing in their academic coursework. Marion campus students from Caledonia, Cardington, Delaware, Galloway, Marion, Nevada, Prospect, Upper Sandusky, and Westerville have been among the most recent winners of a Babich Writing Award.