BOONVILLE, NY — Gerald Roger Backer, 80, longtime resident of Ava and West Leyden passed away suddenly on Monday, June 22, at Sunset Nursing & Rehabilitation Center where he was recovering from surgery.
Gerald was born Sept. 11, 1939, in Lowville, a son of Raymond and Estella Lisowski Backer. He grew up in the town of Ava, graduating from West Leyden Central School, with the Class of 1958.
Following high school Gerald enlisted with the U.S. Navy, where he was stationed at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Newport, RI from 1958 to 1962, going on to serve as a corpsman in the Navy, receiving the Good Conduct Medal.
He was married to Beverly Jean Sanders in 1963 in Albert Lea, Minnesota. The couple were married for 13 years. While in Minnesota, Gerald was employed for Streaters Store Fixtures and Universal Co-op Tire Distribution Center.
While employed at Universal, Gerald met Lou Ann Bassett, the couple married and shortly after moved back to New York State. Gerald and Lou Ann settled in West Leyden, where Gerald was then employed at Fort Drum, and at Adirondack Central School as a school bus driver. He retired in 2004 from Walmart Distribution Center, Marcy. Mrs. Backer passed away in 2017.
Gerald enjoyed carpentry, writing short stories, playing cards with friends and family, and loved birdwatching and wildlife.
He is survived by a son, Timothy A. Backer, North Syracuse, a daughter Trinity R. (Ross) Testa, New Hartford, grandchildren: Stefani Backer, North Syracuse, Samantha Testa, New Hartford, and Nathan Testa, New Hartford. He is also survived by his sister Nora Dutch (Doug Houghton) of West Leyden.
He was predeceased by his parents, wife Lou Ann, and brother-in-law Lynn Dutch.
Graveside services with military honors will be held 11 a.m. Friday, June 26, in Ava Cemetery, where Pastor Dan Tabolt will officiate. Calling hours will be held 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Trainor Funeral Home, Inc. 143 Schuyler St. Boonville.
It is respectfully requested that attendees of the services adhere to social distancing protocols and guidelines. Memorial contributions may be directed towards an organization of your choice in the development of Parkinson’s disease research and treatment.
For an online message of sympathy, please go to www.trainorfuneralhome.com.