Harold L. Backus, 83, of Royalton Township passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at Rose Arbor Hospice Residence in Kalamazoo, MI surrounded by his family.
Funeral services will be held 11 AM Monday, June 20, 2016 at Pike Funeral Home, Boyd Chapel, 9191 Red Arrow Hwy., Bridgman with Rev. Thomas R. Brazinsky officiating. Burial will be in Ruggles Cemetery, Baroda. Friends may meet with the family from 2- 4 PM Sunday at the funeral home. As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be given to Rose Arbor Hospice Residence, 5473 Croyden Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49009. A live stream of the funeral service may be seen below at 11 AM Monday.
Harold was born April 1, 1933 in Buchanan the son of the late Rheinhold and Hattie (Skala) Backus. He served his country in the US Army, stationed in Austria. Upon his return home, Harold joined local 531 I.B.E.W. Union. As an electrician, he traveled in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois and wired a many a building for friends and family. On September 22, 1962 he married Nancy Jane Zandarski. They shared 46 years together raising two daughters until her death in 2008.
Harold was known to his family as “Hetz”. Hetz enjoyed walking on the beach, gardening, reading, photography, hunting, fishing, shopping at Big Lots, playing the lottery, bird watching, and making (and drinking) wine. He enjoyed going to garage sales where he found many treasures that filled his garages literally living by the motto “one man’s junk is another’s treasure”. His family knew that if they couldn’t find what they needed, uncle Hetz would surely have it!
He particularly liked airplanes and for many years made an annual summer trip to the Air Venture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, which he often did with his brother-in-law Maurice.
As well as “going up north” where he owned “the three keg camp” with his brother Mike and brother-in-law Richard. Together they shared many good hunting and fishing times with family and friends.
Family and friends were utmost importance in his life. In retirement, he spent time visiting both, and enjoyed trading stories with his good friend Bob Saroni and sharing a glass of wine with brother-in-law Julius.
He was most proud of the accomplishments of his two granddaughters, Anna and Audrey, and looked forward to their weekly visits to his farm. Most recently he was able to enjoy their company full time as he recuperated for a few months in Kalamazoo. They will truly miss their grandpa!
Hetz had a simple life blessed with a large loving family. He was an honest, kind, gentle, strong hardworking man who always put his family’s needs above his own. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
Survivors include: his daughters; Jackie (Rob) Buck of Kalamazoo and Vickie Backus of Bozeman, Montana; two granddaughters; Anna and Audrey Buck; sisters: Bonnie (Richard) Weich of Baroda, Charlotte Schmaltz of Bridgman, Barbara (Lester) Sebasty of St. Joseph, Carol (Maurice) McMichael of Lansing; brothers: Arnold (Ann) Backus of Buchanan, Mike (Betty) Backus of Buchanan, Warren (Sandy) Backus of Buchanan; sister-in-law: Stella Adent of Bradenton, Florida; brothers-in-law: Harold Freehling of Baroda and Julius Zandarski of St. Joseph; grandcats: Bea and Nelson of Bozeman, Montana, and granddog Rachel of Kalamazoo.
Harold was preceded in death by his wife: Nancy; Mother: Hattie Backus; father: Rheinhold Backus; sisters: Elaine Bell, Wilma Freehling, Alice Shirley; brother-in-law: Arlyn Schmaltz; and beloved one-eyed dog: Rusty.
Sunday June 19, 2016 , 2 - 4 PM at Pike Funeral Home, Boyd Chapel
Monday June 20, 2016 , 11 AM at Pike Funeral Home, Boyd Chapel
Monday June 20, 2016 at Ruggles Cemetery