Brian Babb, a 2006 Windham High School graduate who raced at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, died Saturday. He was 25.
Babb, who had been ill in recent years, took his own life, his family said.
Babb had a lifelong passion for racing. His great-grandfather raced, as did two of his grandfathers and a slew of uncles and cousins. His sister, Lauren Babb, and longtime girlfriend, Katie Moran, also raced.
Babb grew up watching his family race at both Beech Ridge and at Oxford Plains Speedway. As a boy, he used to race go-karts around the rotary in Windham.
He had raced at Beech Ridge for the past three or four years and was a regular at its Thursday Night Thunder races. He competed in the Mad Bomber class with his own car, No. 13. His mother, Sandra Bushley of South Portland, said he won his first race in 2012. She said he loved the speed, excitement and the people.
“Racing was his biggest passion,” she said. “He was very competitive. He was an aggressive driver, but fair. He would race clean and respected other drivers that raced clean.”
Babb graduated from Windham High School in 2006 and attended Southern Maine Community College, according to his Facebook page.
He worked the past four years at Earl W. Noyes & Sons in Portland, installing office equipment. Guy Freeman, vice president of operations at Noyes, said Babb was a talented man and team player.
“He was very well liked and will be sorely missed,” Freeman said.
Babb was remembered by his family this week as feisty, determined, loyal and funny. He was the type of guy who liked to play practical jokes and enjoyed making people laugh. At the same time, Babb was sensitive and inquisitive. He enjoyed being with his family and had a love for history, museums, and World War II and Civil War memorabilia.
“We had a shared passion for history,” his mother said. “He loved to do those things with me.”
Babb’s sister said he was “hilarious. …I’ll miss his smile and his laugh,” she said. “He had these big bulging green eyes and horribly messy hair like a Brillo pad. … So many people liked him. He always had a lot of friends.”
More than 60 of his friends turned to Facebook to share their grief and memories of him.
About three years ago, Babb became ill. His mother described serious digestive problems, exhaustion, asthma and loss of appetite. She said he saw numerous doctors and specialists and had myriad tests, but got no definitive answers.
“Physically, he felt lousy every day,” his mother said. “No matter what we tried, he still felt nauseous.”
Babb took his own life on Saturday. His mother said he left a note that shed light in his decision. She said he didn’t want to be a burden to anyone.
“I’m stunned, really. I’m in shock,” his mother said. “I’m heartbroken. I’m crushed. He was the best son anyone could have.”
Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:firstname.lastname@example.org