Obituaries

Rayonia Allen Babel

September 5, 1935 - May 9, 2022

Babel, Rayonia

Rayonia Alleen Babel (nee Vaughn) A resident of St. Charles for more than 50 years before moving to Greenfields of Geneva, she died peacefully there on May 9, 2022 with (some of) her children by her side.  She is survived by four beloved children and their partners; Tom and Rebecca Babel, Carl Babel and Lisa Yee, Penny Babel and Curtis Shappee, and Heidi Babel Loose and Terry Gottsacker.  She was preceded in death by her fifth child, Krista Alleen Babel, dearly beloved and dearly missed and her parents, Hubert and Mabel Vaughn. Rayonia was–she liked to say–86 years, 8 months and 4 days old.

A passion for knowledge–gaining it and sharing it– was the defining force of her life.  Born in Herrin, Illinois in 1935, she began college at Milliken University in her hometown of Decatur. There she met and married Gerald Babel in 1953 (divorced 1973) and put her studies on hold to raise a family. In 1967, they moved to St. Charles, built the home in which Rayonia would reside for 53 years and completed her degree at Northern Illinois University: earning a BA in Education (70), an MA in Library Science (71) and her teacher certification.  In 1971, she joined the faculty of Aurora College, now Aurora University.  During her career at AU, she was the head of reference for the Philips Library and an associate professor, teaching both Children's Literature and Research.  In her nearly 30 years there, she was a teacher, mentor, advisor and friend to countless students, student organizations and faculty friends.  She received the university’s Melvin R. George Award and retired in 2000.

Following the way to early death of Krista, Rayonia helped to cofound Suicide Prevention Services in Batavia.  She served the organization for many years helping it to become the vital resource it is today.

Because of her great love of history and research, Ray was an active member of local organizations devoted to its preservation including Restorations of Kane County (Secretary), where she worked on the Beith and Durant Houses.  She took great pride in being a Daughter of the American Revolution and tracing the family history back to the early days of America settlement and its roots in Europe.  A member of the Kane County Genealogical Society, she spent many, many hours in the basement of the county courthouse, transcribing early death records to digital.  She was a member of the Charlemagne on the Fox Questers for more than 40 years.  She continued working as a librarian, at the Aurora Public library and as a volunteer at St. Charles public library.  She was also an avid craftswoman, especially of historical crafts.  An accomplished practitioner of many, including needlework, it was miniature-making that became her great love. “They're small,'' she said, “so I can practice all my crafts at once.”  She was a member of Wee-C.   She also believed in the civic life, and volunteered as a poll worker, was a precinct committeewoman for the Democrats of Kane County and a member of the Methodist Church.  She found community wherever she went, including at Greenfields.  Her children would like to take this opportunity to thank the many people there who made life nice for her, and who cared for her when she was ill.

Above all for Rayonia was her family.  In addition to her children, she was a loving, devoted, proud grandmother to eleven:  Ryan, Ashley, Samantha, Rebecca, Emily, Hannah, Erin, Erik, Zachary, Haley and McKenzie, and a proud, loving great-grandmother to another eleven:

Quinn, Reese, Blake, Callen, Anthony, Brookelynn, Brixon, Bentley, Brielle, Willow and Breyer. She is survived by her three siblings, Carolyn, Dallas, and Kay, her sister-in-law Clara Ann and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held on May 28, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at the Mill Creek campus of Chapelstreet Church in Batavia.  Visitation with family will precede the service in the lobby of the Church and begin at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be directed to Suicide Prevention Services, https://www.spsamerica.org/

Guest Book

  • Audrey McDaniels Stotko Ray was a very important part of my years at Aurora. We continued to be friends after I graduated. She was the smartest, sweetest person. Always positive and a great role model and friend