Cover photo for Larry Joe Backes's Obituary
1943 Larry 2024

Larry Joe Backes

March 25, 1943 — January 17, 2024

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-6 (NKJV)

On Wednesday, January 17, 2024 at the age of 80, Larry was delivered from a painful battle with stage 4 Leukemia and Lymphoma to join our Lord and Savior Jesus in Heaven. Larry was a hardworking, friendly, soft-spoken man who was dedicated to his family and enjoyed helping others. Born March 25, 1943 in Sterling, CO he was the son of the late Eldred “Bud” Joseph Backes and Susan Frances Backes. Larry grew up in Northeastern Colorado enjoying the outdoors hunting, fishing, and camping with his parents and brother Richard Backes. He passed on his love for the outdoors to his children and grandchildren creating wonderful memories throughout Colorado.

Larry attended Sterling High School graduating in 1961 and then in 1963 from Northeastern Junior College. He then moved to Fort Collins where he attended Colorado State University graduating in 1965 with a double major in Foreign Languages (German and French) and Mass Communication. While at CSU he was a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and met his future wife Patricia Irene McBee. After college Larry and Pat were married in Sterling on August 21, 1966. He went on to obtain his Master of Science in Secondary Education Organization from the University of Northern Colorado in 1972.

Larry loved teaching and spent 30 years passing his love of foreign languages on to German and French language high school students throughout Colorado. He spent several years taking high schoolers on tours to Germany, France, and throughout Western Europe. Larry picked up a love for the game of soccer from his lifelong best friend Burkhardt Melcher, a German exchange student at Sterling High School. He passed on his passion and knowledge of the beautiful game to countless players over the years coaching his children and countless other players starting at the youngest recreation teams and eventually obtaining his “C” level national license to coach both boys’ and girls’ varsity teams at Central High School in Grand Junction as well as several GJ Fire competitive teams.

After retirement from teaching, Larry obtained his CDL and drove semi-trucks, commercial motor coaches, water trucks, and tour buses for eight years. He then spent 15 years serving the Transportation Security Agency and retired as a Trainer and Supervisor. After retirement, he enjoyed volunteering at First United Methodist Church in Grand Junction as part of the greeting and security team.

Larry was preceded in death by his father Eldred Joseph Backes, mother Susan Frances Backes, son Baby Boy Backes, and grandson Ewan Jacob Backes. He is survived by his wife Patricia, brother Richard and sister-in law Ellen Backes, son Erik Backes, daughter-in-law Candis Backes, daughter Kirsten Liwanag, son-in-law Wil Liwanag, daughter Catherine Tilford, son-in-law Bruce Tilford, daughter Shauna Harris, son-in-law Josh Harris, and eleven grandchildren Leynie Backes (21), Robert Liwanag (21), Kayla Liwanag (18), Noah Harris (17), Elijah Harris (12), Michael Liwanag (12), Evey Backes (11), Judah Harris (10), Charlotte Tilford (9), Caden Backes (8), and Annabelle Tilford (5).

Larry’s Celebration of Life will be held Friday, February 9, 4:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Grand Junction at 522 White Avenue, Grand Junction, CO 81501. In lieu of flowers the family asks that you please consider making a memorial contribution in Larry’s name to First United Methodist Church in Grand Junction.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Larry Joe Backes, please visit our flower store.


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