Donald A. Backus



Donald A. Backus, 88, formerly of Island Branch Rd., and a resident at Samaritan Keep Home, Watertown, NY, died Friday morning November 17, 2017 at Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown, NY.


Born on October 9, 1929 in the Town of Fowler, he was the son of the late John H. and Louetta Lacy Backus. He was educated in local schools.


He joined the United States Army January 9, 1947, served in Korea and was honorably discharged November 4, 1949.


He married Joyce Barton of LaFargeville on October 11, 1951 at the Methodist parsonage in LaFargeville with Rev. Robert Mallabar officiating. The marriage ended in divorce. A marriage to Rose Smith also ended in divorce.


Mr. Backus was employed as a tractor trailer driver by John Austin, Richville and Groveton Paper Company, Natural Dam, was a self employed salesman, selling nuts, bolts and tools to farmers for 15 years and at the same time was a part time bus driver for LaForty Bus Lines, Oxbow, for 8 years. He then worked for Gouverneur Central School working in grounds and maintenance and as a bus driver until his retirement in the early 1990's.


He enjoyed playing the mandolin, guitar and banjo and was a life member of the Black River Fiddlers Association, Thousand Island Blue Grass Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars, Gouverneur.


Survivors include his companion of 30+ years, Alice Phelps; two sons and a daughter-in-law, Brian and Nanette Backus, Theresa, Douglas Backus, LaFargeville; three daughters and a son-in-law, Brenda Wainwright, Gouverneur, Judy Tubolino, LaFargeville, Tammy and Jamie McEathron, Gouverneur; twelve grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; one great-great granddaughter; two sisters, Marlene Quarry and Mavis Cole, both of Gouverneur.


His parents, grandson Scott Backus, three brothers, Roland, Douglas and John Backus, Jr., three sisters, Elaine Morrisey, Thelma Chapin and Madeline Closs and a son-in-law, Larry Tubolino all died before him.


A gathering in memory of Donald will be at a later date. Arrangements are with Frederick Bros. Funeral Home, Theresa, NY and condolences may be made online at