FLAGSTAFF, ARIZ. -- Paul J. Babbitt Sr., the father of Democratic presidential contender Bruce Babbitt, died yesterday at the age of 89, the family said.

Babbitt, whose health had been declining for several months, died at 4 p.m. at his home, a family member said.

Aides to Bruce Babbitt in New Hampshire said he would cancel his campaign appearances in that state today and his appearance at a debate in Boston tonight.

The elder Babbitt, who ended his involvement as a corporate officer and legal counsel to the Babbitt Brothers Trading Co. in the mid-1970s, enjoyed the distinction from 1978 to 1982 of being the father of two governing officials. While Bruce Babbitt governed the state, his brother, Paul J. Babbitt Jr., was mayor of Flagstaff.

The younger Paul Babbitt currently is chairman of the Coconino County Board of Supervisors.

Paul Babbitt Sr. was born May 21, 1898, in Flagstaff and attended high school in Los Angeles. He received a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University in Washington and a doctorate of law from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

From 1937 until 1945, he practiced law in Los Angeles, returning to Flagstaff after the death of a younger brother, James, to become legal counsel for the family-owned trading company.

Other survivors include his wife, Frances Perry; two other sons, Kenneth Babbitt of Flagstaff and Charles Babbitt of Phoenix; one daughter, Christine Babbitt of Berkeley, Calif.; and five grandchildren.

Services will be private, the family said.