Elizabeth Lawson Backus, beloved wife, mother, grandmother,
sister and friend, passed away peacefully on February 3,
2013, after courageously battling diabetes through much
of her life. Her husband and daughter, along with other
family members, were at her side.
Joanne was born July 18, 1947, in Brooklyn, New York. She
was the first of five children born to Mennell V. Lawson
and Thelma Elizabeth Swenson. As a child, she acquired a
love for music and learned to play the piano and organ.
She excelled at both and loved sharing her talent throughout
After high school, Joanne moved to Provo, Utah, where she
attended B.Y.U. In 1966, she married Merrill Finlayson.
Although they later divorced, they remained proud parents
of their two beautiful daughters, Meg and Becca Finlayson.
On July 2, 1987, Joanne married D. Craig Backus of Orem,
Utah. Joanne and Craig made their home in Orem, where they
became active members of the Orem Community Church. Joanne
enjoyed playing the organ and participating in many congregational
activities. She was recognized for her Christ-like willingness
to serve others and did so by volunteering for many church
projects. This selflessness also blessed her family and
friends and permeated her favorite pastime, being with those
she loved. Only second to spending time with loved ones,
was her passion for reading. She recently began carrying
a large library on her kindle, which was always in her possession.
At the time of her passing, Joanne worked as a clerk for
the Utah State Juvenile Court in Orem. She was a dedicated
employee for more than 30 years, during which time she influenced
many lives and acquired numerous devoted friends.
She is survived by her husband Craig; daughter Meg (Daren
Warnick); grandchildren, Jordan, Jenna and Jace Winger,
Jayden, Channing, Jesse, Gavin and Jenikah; siblings, Kathy
O’hara, Maxine Priest, and Dave Lawson (Elizabeth);
sister-in-law Kathy Backus; brother-in-law; Scot Backus
aunt Edel (Ernie) Bodamer; 3 step-children Kimberli, K.C.
(Jill) and Klint, numerous nieces and nephews; and her beloved
cat, Igor. Joanne was preceded in death by her daughter
Becca; her parents, her sister Randi and her sister-in-law
Family and friends are invited to participate in a celebration
of Joanne’s life on Saturday, February 9, 2013, from
1pm-3pm at the Orem Community Church, 130 North 400 East,
Orem, Utah. Lunch will be provided.
The family would like to extend a heart-felt, Thank You,
to all those who expressed concern and offered help over
the past two weeks.