Longtime Laguna Beach Water Quality Department employee Bob Babcock, 65, died of natural causes Sept. 14.
"He was a cancer survivor, so [his death] came out of the blue," said David Shissler, Laguna's director of water quality. "It wasn't something that was anticipated and certainly it took everybody by surprise."
Babcock worked in the wastewater division for 22 years, helping the city deal with major emergencies, including power failures and sewage spills. Shissler said he was always there to help during dire situations.
"He was one of the more calming forces in our team," said Shissler, who struggled to find the right words. "It's a really tough job. It's a lot of work and he was looked on as one of our more respected colleagues. He helped us get through some really hard times in the last 10 years."
A memorial service for Babcock will be held Sunday at Tivoli Terrace at 11 a.m.
"It was his wish to have his memorial in Laguna Beach because he really loved the town," Shissler said.
Babcock is survived by his domestic partner, son, stepson and daughter.
—Anthony Clark Carpio