Milton Vaughn Backman Jr.
1927 ~ 2016

Milton Vaughn Backman, Jr., died peacefully in his daughter’s home in Herriman, Utah, on February 6, 2016. He was eighty-eight years old. Milt, or “Mickey” to many of his friends, was professor emeritus of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University. He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on June 11, 1927, and grew up there and in Los Angeles and graduated from Salt Lake's East High School in 1945. He served during World War II as a Merchant Marine and during the Korean War in the U.S. Air Force. He served an LDS mission in South Africa. On his birthday in 1953 he married Kathleen McLatchy, also of Salt Lake City. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in History from the University of Utah, and a Ph.D, also in History, from the University of Pennsylvania in 1959. After teaching U.S. History for two years at West Texas State University he moved to Provo where he taught at Brigham Young University from 1960 to 1991. He primarily taught courses in U.S. History, Christian Religions, and LDS Church History.

Dr. Backman was the author of six books: American Religions and the Rise of Mormonism (1970); Joseph Smith’s First Vision (1971); Eyewitness Accounts of the Restoration (1986); Christian Churches of America (1983); The Heavens Resound: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio, 1830–1838 (1983); and People and Power of Nauvoo (2002). His writings also appear in other publications, including many articles and pamphlets and the Joseph Smith Papers.
After retiring from BYU he served several short-term LDS Missions in Nauvoo, Illinois, and in 1994 helped to organize the BYU Semester Program there where he served as director for three semesters. He later served two additional LDS Missions with his second wife, Sharon Richey, in Nauvoo and Kirtland, Ohio.

Milt travelled throughout the world. He led numerous tours with BYU Travel Study and participated in many BYU Education Weeks. He was an avid fan of BYU sports. He even attended a BYU basketball game the week before his death.

Milt is predeceased by three wives, Kathleen McLatchy, Sharon Richey and Ramona Church; a daughter, Karen; his parents, Milton Vaughn Backman, Sr., and Florence Viola Peterson; a sister Karen; a step-son Joseph Richey; and a sister Bette Esch. He is survived by a daughter, Kris Denison (Neil) of Herriman; a son, Mike (Steve Swayne) of Quechee, Vermont; five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren: Jessica Vrabec (John) and their children, Ruby and Kaylynn, of Driggs, Idaho; Heather Harmon (Brent) and their children, Rylieann Bruin and Ayden, of Tooele, Utah; Jamie Christensen (Ryan) and their children, Benton and Tayson, of Herriman; Dane Denison of Logan, Utah; Alexis Blackham (Corie) of Eagle Mountain, Utah; and stepchildren Kristine Smith (Steve) of Fresno, California; Roberta Richey of Alpine, Utah; Thomas Richey of American Fork; Jon Richey (Janet) of Porterville, California; Mark Richey (Kristen) of Redlands, California; Lisa Roubicek (Mike) of Fresno; Suzie Fitts (Stewart) of Las Vegas, Nevada; David Richey of American Fork; and James Richey (Heather) of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Fifty-four step-grandchildren and twenty-eight step-great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 10:00 am at the Manila LDS Chapel, 1320 West 3540 North, Pleasant Grove, Utah. Family and friends may call Friday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Warenski Funeral Home, 1776 North 900 East, American Fork, Utah, and again on Saturday morning at the church from 8:30 to 9:30 am prior to services. Interment will be at East Lawn Memorial Hills Cemetery, Provo, Utah. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Church Missionary Fund.

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