Joseph Dale “Butch” Backus
Joseph Dale “Butch” Backus
On Tuesday, August 18, 2020, Joseph Dale “Butch” Backus passed away at the age of 79.

Dale was born on June 21, 1941 in Winnemucca, Nevada to Henry Eugene Backus and Dorothy Marguerite Haviland. 

He had two sisters; Vivian, who died at age 3, and Gloria Swanson.

Dale has a long heritage in Humboldt County.  His progenitors named Paradise Valley. 

His great-grandfather was the first Mayor of Winnemucca, a position his father later served in as well.  Many of his grandchildren are sixth generation Winnemucca natives, a fact that Dale was very proud of.  

Dale attended schools in Winnemucca, graduating from Humboldt High School in 1959.  

While at Humboldt High, Dale participated in Football, Basketball, and Track. 

He was a team captain on the undefeated Nevada State Champion Football team in 1958.

Following graduation, Dale attended the University of Nevada, Reno before enlisting in the United States Coast Guard.  Following his military service, Dale attended Boise State University before returning to Winnemucca.

During the summer of 1962, a beautiful young woman named Rita Jones caught Dale’s eye while working at the local movie theatre.  

After a day of boating at Rye Patch, Dale was smitten and their relationship began to blossom. 

They were married on August 24, 1963, in the backyard of their future first home on Bridge Street. They were later sealed in the Salt Lake City LDS Temple for time and all eternity on December 16, 1977.

Dale was employed with the State of Nevada Department of Transportation, retiring in 1996 as the Head Resident Engineer of the Winnemucca Office.

Dale and Rita were blessed with four children, Demarah, Kimberly, Lana, and Chad. 

Their life together for 53 years was filled with many boating trips, snowmobiling excursions, summers and winters in Cascade and McCall, Idaho, trips around the United States and the world, thousands of ball games and family dinners.

 Dale has been a fixture at Lowry High School and local athletic events for many years supporting his children and grandchildren in as many games and contests as he could possibly fit into his day.

At a very young age, Dale developed a tremendous love for his family and prayed that he could be with his family forever. 

He was so grateful when he learned how this was possible as part of the theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Being a faith-filled member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints brought Dale and Rita great joy. 

Dale served in many leadership positions, including Bishop and a member of the Winnemucca Stake Presidency. In 2007, Rita and Dale served as full-time missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the England Manchester Mission for 23 months. 

Upon his return from their mission, Dale was called as the Stake Patriarch for the Winnemucca Stake, a position he actively served in until his death.

Dale loved being in the outdoors with his friends and family.  

Hunting, boating, snowmobiling, traveling and supporting their children and grandchildren in their many activities always put a smile on Dale’s face.

Dale is survived by his children, Demarah (Pat) Gray, Kimberly (Mike) Snow, Lana (Toby) Melver, Chad (Mandy) Backus; his grandchildren, Madison (Matt) Jensen, McKenzie (Brady) Rupp, Ethan (Ashley) Gray, Christian (Alexis) Gray, and Garrett Gray; Sterling (Sydney) Snow, Olivia (Brandon) Winward, Cecily, Audrey, and Preston Snow; Abigail, Grace, and Mason Melver; Brooklyn, J.J., Emily, Britain, Jimmer, and Sophia Backus. 

His great-grandchildren Blake and Cooper Rupp and Lorraine Winward.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Henry Eugene and Dorothy Backus, his sisters Vivian and Gloria (Swanson), and his beloved wife, Rita. 

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, August 29, 2020 at 10:00 am at 2 Routson Park Drive in Winnemucca, Nevada.