George A. Backholm

April 29, 1926 - April 9, 2014

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George Abner Backholm, age 87 of Lompoc, CA, formerly of the Sebeka-Menahga, MN area, peacefully entered eternal life on Wednesday evening, April 9, 2014 at the Comprehensive Care Center in Lompoc, CA.
George was born on April 29, 1926 to John and Ida (Hiltunen) Backholm on his grandparent’s farm, (John and Wilhelmina (Toivanen) Backholm) in Huntersville township of Wadena County, MN. As a boy he attended the Wadena County District 59E country school and went on to attend high school in Sebeka from where he graduated as Class Salutorian in 1944. While in high school, George was a standout athlete who represented Sebeka in the 1944 State High School track meet in three events. He entered the United States Navy in July of 1944 where he served as an electronics technician until his honorable discharge in June of 1946, serving for a brief time in China. Following his discharge, George went on to attend the University of Minnesota where he earned his degree in electrical engineering in 1950. He served in the United States Navy as an electronics technician for a brief time in China. He invested 27 years of his life in civil service working as an electrical engineer for the Department of Defense. His professional career was an interesting one. His work took him around the world and had him involved in designing sonar equipment, voice communication systems, satellite tracking systems, spacecraft specially designed to land on the moon, ballistic missiles, and tracking equipment for the Apollo space program, as well as many other significant projects. George retired from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in January of 1990.
George lived life to the fullest. He enjoyed ethnic and ballroom dance, genealogy, archeology, golf, downhill skiing and cricket. He was a member of the IEEE (electronics engineering society) and was a charter member of the founding chapter of the Santa Barbara County Archaeology Society.
Survivors include his brother, John (Beatrice) Backholm of Menahga; four nephews: Rodney (Debra) Phoenix, AZ, Steven of Walker, MN, Jeffrey (Michelle) of Rochester, MN and Gregory of Dilworth, MN; three nieces: Shari Peterson of Detroit Lakes,MN, Veronica Backholm of Minneapolis and Julie Backholm of San Diego, CA; as well as five grand nieces and five grand nephews.
George was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Floyd.
Funeral services will be held 11 AM Thursday, April 17, 2014 at the Cardini-Pearson Funeral Home in Menahga with the Reverend John Ramsbacher officiating. Special recorded musical tributes of “On EaglesWings”, “God Bless the USA” and “When I Get Where I’m Going” will be part of the service. His casket bearers will be: Jack Graba, Reino Karjalainen, Jerome Shimerhorn, Steve Backholm, Jeff Backholm, Tina Backholm, Alvin Immonen and Jerry Immonen. His honorary casket bearers will be his nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews. Interment will be made in the Green Valley Cemetery northwest of Menahga. The Guy L. McDermeit VFW Post #6206 of Menahga will provide military honors. Visitation will be held beginning one hour prior to the funeral service. A luncheon will be held at the Guy L. McDermeit VFW Post fellowship hall following the service.