WILLIAMSON: Born September 12, 1933 in Rushford, NY, Wes went to be with the Lord on January 16, 2022 at the age of 88. Residing in Williamson and formerly of Ontario, NY, Wes passed away peacefully Sunday at Rochester General Hospital after a 15 year battle with lung and heart issues. He was predeceased by his parents, the late George C. Backus and Carmaine Adelia Fleming; brother Murray “Toby” Backus; sister Beatrice (Fred) Dunham all from Rushford; granddaughter Sarah Kern of Newark and beloved nephew David Dunham.
He was the beloved husband of Susan “Kelsey” Backus with whom he shared 20 wonderful years. Wes, and his first wife, Mary Aker had four children, Pam Backus of Williamson, Lori Backus (Eric Stephens) of Spencer, Paul Backus of Williamson, and Dr. John Backus (Teri Erwin) of Henrietta. Wes also greatly enjoyed his stepchildren Kenneth “Corky” Kelsey (Wendy Warren) of Ontario and Robert Kelsey (Melinda Plakus) of Macedon who he treated as his own; grandchildren, Olivia Kern of Sodus, Hannah Stephens of Colorado Springs, Julia Stephens of Syracuse, Alicia Maxwell (Mark Orosz) of Boston, Rachel Backus (Christopher Webb) of Henrietta, Adam Backus (Laura) of East Rochester; step grandchildren, Clint Kelsey and Brooke Kelsey both of Ontario; great grandchildren: Natalie, Tristan, Lincoln, Samantha, Jonah, Adam, Antonio, Evan, and Adam Jr.
In Wes’ early years he used skills learned on the family farm in Rushford to work on the Zuber Farms as he loved all animals. He also worked at Perry Bowling Alley as a pin setter. After graduating in 1952 from Edison Tech in Rochester, he enlisted with the US Navy at San Antonio, Texas alongside his cousin Billy Wagner of Uvalde, Texas. Wes served proudly aboard the USS Pine Island (Currituck Class Seaplane Tender AV-12) as a Machinist Mate from 1952 to 1956. During the Korean conflict his unit was responsible for patrolling and protecting the Formosa Straights. Upon his return with an honorable discharge from service duties he enrolled at Rochester Institute of Technology and in parallel started his career at RG&E on May 26, 1958. Wes remained there for 35 years and loved every minute of it! Some of his positions included Fossil Plant Boiler Operator, Gina Station Control Operator, Head Control Operator, Shift Operator, Operation Supervisor, Staff Assistant to VP of Nuclear Operations, and Technical Assistant to the Operations Manager. In retirement, Wes continued his work in the nuclear industry by serving as a contractor of the NSARB for five years. Other loves during retirement included being the neighborhood grandfather, hosting picnics, pool parties, woodworking and watching his own grandchildren grow up. Wes enjoyed “snowbirding” in Frostproof, FL, bowling, cruises and traveling to Texas and Oklahoma to visit relatives. Wes was a member of the Williamson American Legion, Post 394. Friends wishing to make memorial contributions may do so in Wes’ memory to the American Legion or North Ontario United Methodist Church.
No prior calling hours. Interment will be privately held at Lake View Cemetery, Pultneyville, NY at a later date. A memorial service to celebrate the life of Wes, with military honors, will be held at 11AM, Saturday, February 12, 2022 at North Ontario United Methodist Church. 7200 Ontario Center Road, Ontario, NY. All are welcome to join us for lite refreshments following the service. To light a candle, leave a condolence, or to upload a photo please visit www.murphyfuneralservices.com.
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