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Posted: October 27, 2021

Obituary of Keith Morley Backman


MARCH 7, 1930 – OCTOBER 17, 2021

Keith will be achingly missed and lovingly remembered by his wife, Jan, his daughter, Michele (Rolf) Weintz, his son, Mark (Elana) Backman, his grandsons, Geoff (Jess), Corey (Cass), Taylor (Leah), his great grandsons, Kaden and Wesson, his sister, Laurel (Murray) Hoke as well as extended family and friends.

Dad practiced medicine for over 40 years and during that time delivered more than 300 babies, a privilege which brought him lifelong joy and fulfillment. He cared for people during their final days, including his younger brother, Baden, who died of colon cancer on July 16, 1996. Between those mileposts, dad did rounds at the hospital, held regular office hours, performed minor surgeries, spent many evenings and weekends on call and yes, made house calls, carrying his black medical bag wherever he was beckoned.

Dad was also an accomplished carpenter and woodworker.  He built a beautiful home for his family in Coaldale, Alberta and another – an octagonal house with a spiral staircase up the middle – in Kimberley, B. C. He used oak, walnut and mahogany to create exquisitely designed and finished furniture, including dining room tables, chairs, coffee and end tables, book cases, wall units and cedar chests. He also crafted smaller items such as jewellery boxes, trays, cutting boards, egg cups, trivets and coasters.

Dad enjoyed many outdoor activities over the years, including hockey (as a goaltender) during his university years, camping, hiking, backpacking, sailing, canoeing, downhill and cross country skiing, golfing and gardening. He built a travel trailer in the early 1960s and later made his own cedar strip canoe.

On July 17, 1993, dad married the love of his life, Janet Ann. She brought joy, affection, love, warmth and inclusiveness to the entire Backman family and continues to be adored and appreciated for these generous gifts.

A leisurely walk with Jan and their sweet little dog, Herkey, winning or losing a couple of quarters while shooting a game of pool with friends, watching the progress of construction on the other side of Rotary Drive, playing bridge with long time buddies, feeding squirrels in the back yard, an icy cold beer on a hot summer afternoon – all these simple pleasures brought dad happiness and contentment.

Dad enjoyed music, a trait passed down from his very musical mother, Alice. He played the violin as a child, dabbled with harmonicas in later years and taught himself to play the guitar. He had an impressive collection of old records and CDs and loved to play them at a very high volume (to the chagrin of Jan and possibly nearby neighbours). Dad loved to sing and continued to do so even in his final days. He specifically asked that his farewell to family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and former patients include the following song verse. If you know the melody, perhaps you’ll sing rather than read it to yourself:

So long, it’s been good to know you.

So long, it’s been good to know you.

So long, it’s been good to know you.

It’s a long time since I’ve been home,

And I’ve gotta be driftin’ along.

A celebration of dad’s life will take place next summer when, hopefully, Covid restrictions will be relaxed, the weather will be conducive to an outdoor gathering and travel will be easier.

Given dad’s long career in medicine, anyone wishing to make a donation in his name might consider a medical facility, foundation or cause of their choice.

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