Compassionate, sensitive trustee ‘extremely committed’
AN outspoken, long-serving Winnipeg school trustee who decided in September not to run for re-election has died unexpectedly.
Mike Babinsky, 56, died in hospital Thursday, sources confirmed.
Babinsky served for 23 years as the Winnipeg School Division’s trustee in Ward 8, after being elected to six consecutive terms.
“We were saddened to learn of Mike Babinsky’s sudden passing,” the school board’s new chairman, Chris Broughton, told the Free Press Friday.
“Our thoughts are with Mike’s family, friends, and community.”
Babinsky is survived by his wife, Andrea, five children and 10 grandchildren. He is predeceased by his son, Isaac.
In an interview with the Free Press in September, Babinsky talked about his decision not to seek re-election on Oct. 24.
“These last 23 years in politics have been an incredible experience, but the time has come for me to move on,” he said at the time.
Babinsky, who was first elected in 1995, was known for speaking out when he supported or disagreed with board decisions or members. He was censured four times during his WSD career.
He left his mark, said Broughton, who was vice-chairman for Babinsky’s last term.
“His work to enhance education in the Winnipeg School Division will be felt for generations,” Broughton said.
“He was extremely committed to public education. He definitely had a larger-than-life personality. He was also an extraordinarily sensitive individual who had a lot of compassion for his community and working for those who came before the board.”
A spokesman for the family said Babinsky had been in the hospital for more than a week before he died.
His funeral will be held Thursday at 1 p.m., at Cropo Funeral Chapel.