John Babcock Will

August 21, 1933 – October 4, 2022

John Babcock Will was born in Omaha on August 21, 1933 to August Will and Doris Babcock.  He and older sister Nancy grew up on an acreage located just north of the city limits and known by the family as Willhaven. John often recounted tales of his childhood, most involving the long hours and numerous back-braking chores required of a “farm boy.”

John graduated from Omaha’s North High School in 1951. He attended Colgate University in Hamilton, New York,  graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude in 1955. His academic achievements earned him a full scholarship to  attend Harvard University Law School, from which he graduated in 1958. He returned to Omaha and was employed by the legal department of the Northern Natural Gas Company. John would in fact spend his entire legal career as a corporate attorney for Northern Natural, retiring as General Consul in 1986. John successfully argued natural gas law before many courts, including the United States Supreme Court.

All his life, John was an enthusiastic user of libraries and a voracious reader. He especially loved non-fiction. He would try his hand at almost any hobby.  He painted in acrylics. He baked bread, long before that was a thing. He taught himself to needlepoint and eventually became extremely accomplished in very fine needlepoint and counted cross-stitch. From kits, he assembled models of cars, planes, and boats, capping that career with an impressively detailed model of the RMS Titanic. He loved working jigsaw puzzles, playing cards, and winning trivia games. He built his own  horseshoe pit and used to throw shoes until dusk. He loved to travel, enjoying many summer vacations fishing in Minnesota and traveling in the US and Europe with his wife Ann. John learned golf and played as long as his eyesight allowed. He enjoyed the companionship of his fellow golfers as much as (and probably more than) the game itself.  Almost every place he lived, John planted and lovingly tended a rose garden.

Most of all, John valued family. He is predeceased by both parents, his sister Nancy Hamlin, and his two sons, Eric John Will and Evan Morgan Will. He is survived by his wife, Ann Will; daughter Elaine Kuncio (husband Gerald) of Sewickley, Pennsylvania;  daughter-in-law Elaine Howard (Houston); two grandchildren,  Alice Gao Min Kuncio (Pittsburgh), and Carson Howard Will (Houston); step-children and step-grandchildren.

John Will touched the lives of many people. He corrected much of their grammar. He will be missed by all.

FUNERAL SERVICE: Friday, October 7, 2022, 11AM, at West Center Chapel.

Family Interment at Resurrection Cemetery.

To view a live broadcast of the Service, please visit and click the “View Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.

Memorials are suggested to E.P.S. or Omaha Food Bank.


  • Frank and Joan Ryan Posted October 5, 2022 5:42 pm

    We are so very sorry to hear of John’s passing. He was such a gentleman and loved life. He will be missed by many.

  • Patty Cullop Pack Posted October 5, 2022 7:14 pm

    Ann, I am certain that all the wonderful memories that you and John shared and created over the years are chiseled and will be cherished forever in your heart…my thoughts and prayers for you and your entire family. Love you lots

    Patty Cullop Pack

  • Steve Brown Posted October 5, 2022 7:49 pm

    I will always remember John Will for his vast curiosity and his unquenchable thirst for knowledge…
    A very smart guy. At his best moments, he was always a seeker and sought to understand – rather than to be understood. We had breakfast and lunch now and then, and would trade books, and our conversations were often about ideas and history and change. We are all gonna miss you, John.

  • Roger & Sande Howard Posted October 6, 2022 10:25 am

    John was an inspiration to us all. He will be sorely missed. Condolences to everyone in the family.

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