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J. Harold Backenstoe


April 29, 2009


J. Harold Backenstoe, 92, of Riverside PA went to be with his Lord Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at Geisinger Medical Center Danville PA.  He was born December 14, 1916 in Mount Joy PA the son of the late J. Miles and Lillie M. Koons Backenstoe. 

He graduated in 1934 from Mount Joy High School.  Mr. Backenstoe earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster PA.   

During World War II, he was employed by Hercules Powder Company, Chattanooga, TN where he was a supervisor in the manufacturing of explosives at Volunteer Ordnance Works.  In 1946, he accepted a position with Merck and Company, Inc. in Rahway, NJ.

In 1951, he was transferred to the Merck Cherokee Plant in Riverside PA where he served as Manager of Quality Control until his early retirement in 1970.  He took employment with Bercon Packaging, Inc. in Berwick PA , retiring in 1982, after serving various capacities there. 

 He was preceded in death on October 3, 1992 by his wife of 50 years, Merriel Jean Nissly Backenstoe whom he married August 22, 1942.  He and Merriel Jean loved to travel and visited Canada, Mexico, South America, the Caribbean Islands, Iceland, several nations in Central Europe as well as all of the 50 United States. 

An active member of First Baptist Church Danville PA, he was a Bible School Teacher, Deacon, Bible School Superintendant, President of the Adult Fellowship Class.  He was the Chairman of the Finance Committee during the building program in 1977.  Mr. Backenstoe served as Secretary of the Missions Board and was a former member of the Chancel Choir for many years.  He was co-chairman of the recent Issachar Church Renovation Project and  served as chaplain of the “ARMS” Group (Active Retired Men in Service).   

Mr. Backenstoe was active in civic affairs which included serving as past President of a local chapter of the American Society for Quality Control.  He served as Secretary and then President of the Riverside School Authority.  He was also  past President and Treasurer of the Danville Lions Club and in 1999 was designated a Melvin Jones Fellow by Lions Clubs International for dedicated humanitarian services.  He served as an auditor for the Borough of Riverside for many years and was a past President and Director of the Backenstoss Family Association of America.

 A Scouter for over 55 years, he served the Columbia-Montour Council of the Boy Scouts of America in a variety of positions.  In 1963, he was given the Silver Beaver Award for distinguished service to boyhood.  In 1995, he was designated a James E. West fellow by the Council.  At the time of his death, he was a member of the Advisory Board.

 He is survived by one son Kenneth H. Backenstoe and his wife Joan of Walnutport PA

and one daughter Carol Jean Bence and her husband Dr. C. L. “Bud” and six grandchildren; Casey, Travis and Cody Backenstoe and Tamara, Aimee and Ryan Bence and his wife Aubrey.   He was preceded in death by one brother Ward Backenstoe and one sister Lillian Moore. 

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Celebration of Harold’s Life to be held Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 12:00 Noon  at First Baptist Church 20 Brookside Drive Danville PA with the Reverend Dr. Harry H. Wonderland officiating assisted by the Reverend Calvin R. Beveridge, pastor emeritus and the Reverend David J. Mouw, Associate Pastor.   Friends will be received from 10:30 until time of service at the church. 

Burial will be at 2:00 PM Friday, May 1, 2009 in Mount Joy Cemetery Mount Joy PA.  The family will provide flowers.  Memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church Missions Fund or Columbia- Montour Council, Boy Scouts of America 5 Audubon Court Bloomsburg PA  17815 or the Danville Lions Club PO Box 411 Danville PA 17821.  Arrangements are under the direction of Visneski Funeral Home, Inc. 10 W Mahoning Street Danville PA.  www.visneski.com

 


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