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Couple's generosity benefits Dubuque community

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Edward & Shirlely Babka, 2015 TH Media First Citizen Award recipients Edward & Shirlely Babka, 2015 TH Media First Citizen Award recipients
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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Edward Babka moved to Dubuque at time when the community wasn't doing well.

"UD was having a lot of problems financially, I think most small colleges were...and employment was not that great either.  A lot of empty buildings,  and so forth.  Things weren't the greatest in 1969," he said. 

That year, he relocated his growing newspaper from Illinois called the Antique Trader, which he started in his basement.  It was filled mostly with classified ads catering to antique collectors.

"When I sold it, it had about 80,000 subscribers,  and was running about 120 pages a week," he added.

And together, Ed and his wife Shirley, have shared their success with the Dubuque community by making substantial financial contributions over the years.

The efforts they care most about are health and education.

"UD, most of their students are first time college students, which I think is very good. I think that's a good place to put surplus money," mentioned Ed.

Because of their many charitable contributions in Dubuque, several buildings actually bear their last name, including Finley Hospital's Babka Wellness Center, also the Babka Bookstore at University of Dubuque.

While the Babka's are honored to be named the 2015 TH Media First Citizen Award recipients -- they remain modest.  "I never liked to be front and center...I just...have never really liked that," said Ed.

A public reception for Ed and Shirley Babka will be held Monday, January 11th at the Diamond Joe Casino in Dubuque from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Harbor Room.  The program begins at 6 p.m. It's free to attend. 

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