Reprinted in the Spring-Summer 1998 issue of Centenary Today
Trustee Sam W.L. Backus Dies at Age 100
SHREVEPORT, LA -- Sam W.L. Backus, a lifetime member of the Centenary College Board of Trustees, died Jan. 25, 1998, 20 days after his 100th birthday. Mr. Backus was born Jan.5, 1898 in Monroe, La., the son of Thomas and Loretta Backus. He passed away at Schumpert Medical Center after an extended illness.
Mr. Backus went to work at age 12 and worked until two months prior to his death. He started out as a messenger boy for T&P Railroad, was a salesman for Oilwell Supply and was associated with Mid Continent Supply, Superior Iron Works, Barnwell Drilling and Triangle Pump and Supply. He later formed Lartex Drilling.
After that he went into business with the late Jim Von Gonten, Sam Barnwell and T.B. Lanford. At the time of his death, he was president of Lanford Drilling.
He served on the Board of Directors of Citizen's National Bank and was a Master Mason and an El Karubah Shriner. He was an honorary member of Shreveport Country Club and a charter member of the Petroleum Club. He was a lifetime trustee of Centenary College.
He helped organize the Oil Man's Golf Tournament and played in every tournament for 50 years. The 50th tournament was named in his honor. He was a member of Caddo Pine Island Oil and Historical Society and Museum and was the recipient of the Oil Man's Roast in 1987.
Mr. Backus generously donated time and resources to the Louisiana Baptist Children's Home in Monroe for the past 50 years, having never missed a single Christmas for 50 years. His parents and his wife of 53 years, Ruth Carroll Backus, preceded him in death. Survivors include his wife, Millie Von Gonten Backus; stepchildren, Jeff Von Gonten, Jimmy Von Gonten and Cindy McGill; niece and husband, Marie and Gordon Hinton; nephews, Ronnie Anderson and Sammy Anderson of Vidor, Texas, and many beloved friends.
Memorials may be made to the Louisiana Baptist Children's Home, Monroe, La.; First United Methodist Church, Shreveport; Centenary College; Schumpert Grace Home, or Caddo Pine Island Historical Oil Museum, Oil City, La.
Among honorary pallbearers were Centenary President Kenneth L. Schwab and the trustees of Centenary College.
- 30 -