Katharine Babinksi, Registered Nurse

June 28, 1922 - March 17, 2016

Katharine Topping Babinski, a lifelong resident of Sagaponack, died at her home, which was built by her father in 1909, on March 17. She was 93.

With roots dating to 1649, Mrs. Babinski was a descendant of the Thomas Topping who purchased much of the area. His son, John Topping, began Sagaponack’s early development and his headstone is the oldest recorded in the Sagaponack Cemetery. G. Clarence Topping, her grandfather, was a founder of the Bridgehampton National Bank. 

The daughter of Sadie and Robert Topping, Mrs. Babinski was born on June 28, 1922, in Southampton. She attended grade school in Sagaponack and graduated from Bridgehampton High School in 1940. A registered nurse, she trained at the Brooklyn Methodist Hospital School of Nursing after attending Green Mountain College in Vermont. Some of her fondest professional memories were about the time she spent working alongside Dr. David Edwards in East Hampton and Dr. Hugh Halsey in Southampton.

Mrs. Babinski’s future sister-in-law played matchmaker and in 1957 she married John P. Babinski, a potato farmer. They lived in Sagaponack, where they raised two daughters. Mr. Babinski died in 1998.

According to family members, Mrs. Babinski was feisty and had exacting standards. Caregiving was her passion, and over the years, she cared for many family members — including her mother, her husband, who had had a stroke, and for a brief period, a niece.

Mrs. Babinski had a short but ultimately successful list of wishes: wanting to see her grandson James graduate from Pierson High School and outliving her mother, who died at 92.

A lover of birds, Mrs. Babinski looked forward to the arrival every spring of barn swallows and catbirds, who would eat currants and raisins out of her hand. She entered the date of their arrival on a calendar every year and would say they never failed to show up on schedule. One of her daughters would call to say the catbirds had arrived in Pennsylvania so she could expect her Long Island catbirds a few days later.

Mrs. Babinski is survived by her daughters, Sara Babinski of Lancaster, Pa., and Alison Froehlich of Sagaponack. Her grandson, James Froehlich of Sagaponack, also survives her. A sister, Marie Topping Peterson, and a brother, Donald Topping, died before her. Her family wanted to thank Mrs. Babinski’s many caregivers, in particular Nachol, who looked after her for nearly four years.

A funeral service was held on Saturday afternoon at the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church, and Mrs. Babinski will be buried alongside her husband in the Sagaponack Cemetery. Donations have been suggested to the Roof Fund of the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 3038, Bridgehampton 11932, or to the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, N.Y. 14850.