Marvin Backer passed away on Jan. 10 from complications of metastatic prostate cancer. He was born on Feb. 7, 1937, in Schenectady, New York, to Lena and Louis Backer. He spent his childhood years in Amsterdam, New York, earned his B.A. from Cornell, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
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Marv served in the Army Medical Service for ten years, completing his internship and residency at Walter Reed Hospital. He served in Army hospitals in Landstuhl and Munich, Germany. Living in Europe for three years instilled a life long love of travel. He completed his service at Letterman Hospital at the Presidio in San Francisco.
Leaving the Army in 1970, he began a private practice in psychology in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he met his wife, Susan. They were married in 1972. They moved to Bozeman in 1977 and lived for many years in Bear Canyon where the forest, trees, water and animals nurtured his spirit.
Marv was a wise and gentle counselor with deep compassion for his clients, family and friends alike. He had a lively intellectual life and continuing curiosity about human behavior. He was a creative and practical problem solver. A passionate gardener, he created beautiful spaces for contemplation, filled with flowers and vegetables. Planning the many trips he and Susan took over the years gave him almost as much enjoyment as the travel itself. He loved to cook and entertain, and stated many times that he didn't care about the details for his memorial service, just as long as good food and wine were offered.
He was a devoted member and leader in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman where he served as a lay leader, on many committees, and on the board.
He leaves behind his beloved wife of 43 years, Susan; his sister, Marlene Schain of Staten Island, brother and sister in law, Jeff and Kathy Bartsch of Billings, Montana, his niece Debra Lilley, nephews David (Ana) Schain, and Dan (Deena) Bartsch; great nephews, Dean and Drew Lilley, Mac and Emmit Bartsch, and great niece, Jordana Schain, as well as cousins and his beloved dogs, Abby and Lily.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 2 p.m. on Feb. 6 at the Dahl Funeral Home. Memorial donations may be made to the building fund of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman (UUFB), the Gallatin Valley Land Trust or the Nature Conservancy.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Jan. 17, 2016