Lawrence "Larry"'s Story

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Lawrence "Larry" Edward Backus of Fairfield Glade, TN, passed away peacefully on Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, at the age of 76. Lawrence is survived by his wife, Nancy L. Backus; children, Doug (Tracy), Kathy (Howard Kent), Allen (Melissa), Mark (Christie) and Karen (John Jones); brother, Richard T. Backus; grandchildren, Kayla, Colin, Justin, Jordan, Alexandra, Paige, Cody, Loren, Madeline, Audrey and Nathaniel; nieces, Rene Howard and Robyn Peak; nephew, Ryan Backus; and two great-grandchildren. Larry was preceded in death by his dear parents, Birney and Anna Backus of Cincinnati.
Although Larry and Nancy were friends at Western Hills High School in Cincinnati, Larry met his first wife, Karen M. Krueck, while attending the University of Cincinnati. They wed shortly after graduation and that union produced a son, Douglas S. Backus of Cincinnati, and daughter, Kathleen M. Backus, DVM of Salt Lake City, UT. Larry's first marriage ended in divorce and he became a single father of two teenagers. Three years later he was reintroduced to Nancy by a mutual friend. They wed a year later and were happily married for almost 27 years. Their new partnership became a blended family of five children, eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, plus another expected next March.
Larry's greatest joy was in Nancy and their children and grandchildren as well as their many dear friends. Larry had grown up in the Methodist Church and was a firm believer in his Christian faith.
His first career lasted 30 years in Cincinnati as he helped develop the footwear business for what would later become the mid-western division of Macy's. He pioneered direct footwear buying from Europe and the Far East for the John Shillito Department Store and later the Lazarus division of Federated Department Stores that grew to 48 stores in five states. Larry particularly enjoyed traveling to Europe and the Far East on buying trips and shared the culture with his wife and children which fostered their love of travel.
He retired as a merchandising executive after 30 years and began a new career in insurance and investments, initially with Northwestern Mutual and later New England Insurance. He managed his own insurance/investment business via Backus Financial Services after a serious heart attack in 1992. A year of recovery later he became president of the newly formed Heritage Green Homeowners Association. Always creating, he was editor, publisher and writer for the Heritage Green Newsletter. Larry was asked to run for Deerfield Township Trustee and refused repeatedly, until he was coaxed to be merely one of nine primary candidates. He was elected as trustee with the most votes and served five years, including two as president. He was instrumental in forming the citizen committee structure of the township that eventually led to the purchase and development of the townships park system. He also wrote and edited the township newsletter.
Nancy and Larry retired to Fairfield Glade, TN, in 2002. They mutually designed their new home and were fortunate to have John Mast, bishop of the Mennonite Church, agree to be their builder. Larry's idea of retirement was the same hectic schedule he had always maintained but with personal choice of activities. This included years of writing the Abacus Column for the Glade Sun, and serving on numerous boards including the Fairfield Glade Resident Homeowners, Friends of the Library, United Fund of Cumberland County and the Dimpled Globe Awards that developed based on his Glade Sun columns. He was also a trustee of the national health plan for retirees of Federated-Allied Department Stores, the 1990 pre-bankruptcy name of Macy's for 20 years. Larry was a recently published author with his first collection of Abacus Columns titled "A Holiday Collection."
A celebration of life memorial service will be held on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 2 p.m. at the Fairfield Glade United Methodist Church. His burial service will be in Cincinnati, OH, on Friday, Dec. 9, at 2 p.m. in the Chapel at Arlington Memorial Gardens located at 2145 Compton Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45231.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Hospice of Cumberland County Tennessee or the Fairfield Glade United Methodist Church.
Bilbrey Funeral Home, Inc. (www.bilbreyfh.com) was in charge of the arrangements.
Published on November 29, 2016
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