Obituary of Delores (‘Dee’) Louise Backus
Soli Deo Gloria!
Delores Louise Backus (nee Rusch) Dee was called from this life to her heavenly home on Sunday, August 25th, at the age of 64.
Dee was born on October 27, 1948, at her family’s home in the Town of Jackson, Wisconsin, to Elmer R. Rusch and Mabel L. Rusch (nee Liesener). Shortly after, Delores (“Dee”) was welcomed into the family of God through the divine promises connected to Christian baptism on November 14, 1948. Her relatives, Paul Liesener, Amalia Rusch and Doris Liesener were present as sponsors.
As a young adult, Dee gave a public profession of her trust in Jesus the Savior through the rite of Confirmation at Trinity Lutheran Church in Waukesha, WI, on April 15, 1962. Her memory verse was 1 Corinthians 6:20, “You are not your own, you were bought with a price. Therefore, honor God.”
Dee spent her childhood school years as a student in Waukesha, where she attended a Christian elementary school operated by Calvary & Trinity churches. Next, she attended Wisconsin Lutheran High School in Milwaukee, WI. When her family relocated to Green Bay, Dee finished high school at Fox Valley Lutheran High school, boarding in Appleton. Upon graduation she attended Milwaukee Lutheran Teacher’s College (the predecessor to Wisconsin Lutheran College) and then Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota. She graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education.
Dee had a heart for children, and invested herself in them during her professional teaching year at St. Andrew’s Lutheran School in St. Paul Park, MN, where she taught 1st and 2nd grade. Throughout the years she also held various part-time jobs, including: waitress, telephone directory assistance operator, and salesperson at the JC Penny’s men’s department.
In 1972 she was joined in Christian marriage to Andrew R. Backus of Watertown, WI. They were married at Trinity Lutheran Church in Waukesha on August 12. God blessed their marriage with “two-and-a-half-dozen children” – two girls, and half-dozen boys.
Dee spent many of her years as wife of a pastor and as a loving and active mother. She and Andrew first lived in Appleton, WI, during his training year as vicar,where they were blessed with their first child, Andy, then moved to Jackson to the home of Dee’s Grandma Liesener. In 1974 she made her home in rural Stillwater, MN, and from 1980-1995 lived in rural Johnson MN, the home of a large garden and the birthplace of the youngest of her eight children, Laura. In 1995, she moved with her husband and family to rural Hemlock, MI, where she also cared for her mother, Mabel for several years.
Upon the retirement of her husband, Dee made her home in Fredonia, WI until 2013. In 2012 she was diagnosed with the cancer that took her to her true home in heaven. Many thanks to the doctors, nurses, therapists and other staff at the various Aurora health facilities in Port Washington and Grafton, to the caregivers at St. Luke’s Hospital and Zilber Hospice. You have been wonderful – even friends!
Dee’s goals in life were to know her Savior and his Word better, to focus on eternal life and to help others do the same. She poured her love and wisdom into her family, raising them with strong friendships and a love for music.
In her quiet moments, Dee enjoyed writing prose and poetry. Her kitchen was always active, as she was constantly baking, cooking, canning & freezing. As is evident from her family size, Dee loved children. As they grew up and had families of their own, Dee would send out weekly handwritten, homemade photo postcards to her many grandchildren. Together with Andrew, Dee loved the sound of bluegrass music, and they took the family on many vacations to folk music festivals. She especially enjoyed moments around the campfire as her own children later sang and played those same songs.
Dee had the heart of a joyful servant, and regularly volunteered in her church and community as a substitute teacher, leader of ladies’ groups, Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teacher, evangelist, pregnancy counselor, unofficial pastor’s secretary, choir member, and church picnic organizer. She found joy in serving, and also in encouraging others in person and in writing.
Delores was the wife of Rev. Em. Andrew R. Backus. Mother of Andy (Shelley) Backus, Robert (Rebecca) Backus, Rev. James (Jessica) Backus, Rev. John (Rachel) Backus, Sarah (Rev. Ben ) Kuerth, Steve Backus, Rev. David (Greta) Backus and Laura (Rev. Jacob) Hoff. Grandmother of Jonah, Micah, Daniel, Adam, Benjamin, Julia, Asher, David, Lucy, Abel, Annemarie, Elizabeth, Mary, Micaiah, Judah, Justus, Eve, Anna, Abigail, Lydia, Sophia, Gideon, and Molly. Daughter of Mabel (nee Liesener) Rusch. Sister of James Rusch, Darlene (Richard) Harris, Dennis (Marilee) Rusch and Sally (Jim) Gregory. She was also survived by nieces, nephews and many dear special friends and members of her faith community.
She was preceded in death by her father, Elmer, her brother, Milton, a special sister-in-law Carol Rusch, her father-in-law Robert Backus, her mother-in-law Esther (formerly Maxwell, nee Person) Backus.
Visitation is at Heritage Funeral Home in New Berlin, WI, on Thursday, August 29, from 3 to 7 pm and Friday at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 623 Congress St., Newburg, WI. from 10 to 11 am followed by the Funeral Service at 11:00 am. Interment to follow at St. John’s Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Scholarship Fund appreciated.
To God be the glory for this Christian life!