Womens Racquetball

Cyril J. “Zeke” Backes Obituary

Cyril J. Backes, 93, of Green Bay, passed away peacefully at his home Friday, June 10, 2022. He was born on July 24, 1928 in New London, WI; one of 11 children of the late William and Mary Backes. After graduating from New London High School, he enlisted in the army and served overseas in Japan at the end of World War II. After completing his two years of service, he pursued a career in business, working as an accountant at several different companies, where he met his future wife, Mary Louise Rebman. They married in November 1952 and had three daughters and one son: Nancy, Cynthia, Mary and Stephen. Cyril was a dedicated, hardworking, and self-reliant man who was offered and accepted a position at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he worked as a corporate administrator for 10 years. In 1968, he was selected by Chancellor Edward Weidner, the founding Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, to head the Department of Business Services and Physical Plant, where he became one early corporate administrators who helped build and expand the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay’s four-year campus on its current site. Over the years, Cyril gained promotions to eventually become Chancellor of Tax and Administrative Services. Cyril has been described by Chancellor Weidner as “one of the most helpful permanent members of senior administration with an ability to present views contrary to my known preferences in pleasant yet compelling authority.” I often find that he is right! Mr. Backes is innovative in his suggestions and the quality of his work is impeccable. Cyril retired in the early 1990s. Cyril was an avid sportsman, he was an accomplished golfer achieving a few “hole-in-ones” over the years, including one in which he received a trophy at Shorewood Golf Course in 1993. He also loved tennis, racquetball, swimming, water skiing and was an amazing fisherman. He and his wife, Mary Lou, loved UWGB basketball, especially women’s – they attended every home game. In 2014, they were recognized on center court as “the game’s season ticket holder”. He also loved card games and was amazing at bridge. In his later years, he treasured his Friday afternoon Sheepshead sessions with his nephews and friends. Cyril loved his family, friends and neighbors, was also extremely devoted to his religion and wanted you to be nice to everyone. Cyril was also an encyclopedia of “dad” jokes, and always managed to make everyone smile. Cyril is survived by his four children: Nancy (Greg) Thome of Pleasanton, CA; Cynthia (Dr. David) Olsen, of Appleton, WI; Mary (Peter) Utic of Green Bay, WI; and Stephen (Deb) Backes of Green Bay, WI. He is survived by 10 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife, Mary Lou, and all of his siblings except one: Rita Denissen. In lieu of flowers, please donate to stjude.org or your favorite charity. Visitations for Cyril to celebrate his life will be Friday, June 17, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. at Resurrection Catholic Church (333 Hilltop Dr. Green Bay) with a Christian burial mass at 11 a.m. with Father Robert Karuhn officiating. . Military honors will follow, the entombment will take place at the Catholic mausoleum of Allouez, Allouez. Cotter Funeral and Cremation Services helps the family.

Posted on June 14, 2022

Published in Green Bay Press Gazette, The Post Crescent