John Babbitt, the international sales manager for Smoker Craft, died earlier this month at his home in Indianapolis. He was 69.
A graduate of the University of Maine and the Thunderbird International School of Management in Glendale, Ariz., Babbitt handled international sales for Smoker Craft for the past 14 years and was a well-known and highly respected member of the company’s global sales team.
Born in Austria, Babbitt initially followed in his father’s footsteps and answered the call to military service, serving as a tank commander in the U.S. Army. Afterward he began a lifelong career in the recreational boating industry, starting with Starcraft in the early 1970s as the company’s export manager.
Babbitt’s international experience led him to form his own company with partner Ed Cheikh in the early 1980s, representing Jeanneau in the United States while also promoting a number of American boat brands in overseas markets.
After further experience with Mariah, he returned to the Smoker Craft family for good in 2002, assuming responsibility for international sales.
Although he was married three times, Babbitt did not leave any children.
“John will always be remembered for his warmth and generosity,” the company said in a statement. “He was truly a larger-than-life personality who took no greater delight than sharing his intense love of travel, fine dining and French wines at every opportunity. He will be sorely missed.”