On the morning of Thursday, March 3, 2022, 11-year-old Annaliese “Anna” Charee Backner died after being run over by her school bus.
Anna was a 6th grader at Grand Valley Middle School in Parachute, Colorado. She was born in Lawton, OK, but had also lived in San Antonio, Colorado Springs, Reno, and southern, IN due to her parents’ military service. Though some kids may have struggled with making friends with so many moves, Anna’s outgoing spirit meant she got to make friends everywhere she went. She was blessed with “the gift of gab,” and could strike up an articulate conversation with anybody. Anna’s social fearlessness also meant that she shared her opinions loudly and proudly, and she was undaunted about standing out. She could steal the dance floor and leave others watching in awe at her uninhibited charisma. Anna was completely selfless when we welcomed her younger brother into the world a few years back. from the moment she learned she’d be a big sister, she was smitten and she often would say, “It was a blessing because it wasn’t love being divided, but multiplying“. She absolutely adored and was very enarmored with her older brother Ben. Our diva was a star, and she shone so brightly.
Anna’s glowing spirit was only matched by her intelligence and determination. From the early age of 7, she decided she was going to become an astrophysicist. Not an astronaut, mind you, but an astrophysicist. Those aspirations would have been on par with other kids who aspired to be cowboys, firefighters, or police officers – glorious in their own rights, but decidedly “too dangerous” by Anna’s standards. Rooted in self-awareness beyond her years, Anna wanted her feet firmly on the ground while she explored the mysteries of space, stars, and the universe. Now when we gaze into the night sky, we know she is with the stars that she loved so dearly.
She was welcomed with loving arms into her eternal life by her maternal grandmother Leah Charee Smith. She is survived by parents Leandra & Brandon Backner of Parachute, CO; siblings Leonidas Backner and Benjamin Bruce; grandparents Bruce and Yuki Backner of Carmel, IN; Ursula and Ed Cole of Jasper, IN; Robert and Juanita Smith of Madison, AL; many aunts and uncles: Sophie May, Nichole May, Andre and Heather Hamlet; Jarmine and Ashley Smith; DJ Smith; Kiyanna Smith; Makhi Smith; Tony and Tatyanna Ballad; Brian Backner; Lucy and Keith Johnson; Zach and Mary Cole as well as an abundance of other relatives, friends, and acquaintances she touched in her brief time with us.
To quote one of Anna’s favorite astrophysicists, Neil deGrasse Tyson, “Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us.” Though Annaliese may not be physically here with us anymore, she will live on in our hearts forever.
Special thanks to the community of Parachute, Colorado for their overwhelming support. The Backner family is grateful for all the prayers, well wishes, condolences, meals and donations on behalf of Annaliese.
To help honor the memory of Annaliese, please share memories, pictures, or experiences with her on the Brown’s Cremation and Funeral Service Tribute Wall. You can also order flowers for her service or plant a tree in Anna’s honor through their webpage. Donations to Anna’s parents can be made at https://gofund.me/46da7753 or by calling Alpine Bank at (970) 285-7100 and mentioning the Anna Backner Benefit (Account ending *9853). Thank you all for being part of Annaliese’s life.