Dr Elizabeth M. Backus
Percival-Tompkins Funeral Home, Inc - Greenwood
330 Magnolia Avenue
Greenwood, SC
Dr. Elizabeth M. Backus, 95, former resident of Wesley Commons Assisted Living, transitioned to her eternal home to the care of her Lord and Savior on Thursday, October 14, 2021. Dr. Backus was born April 7, 1926 to the late James and Ida Backus in Greenwood, SC. As a child, she was baptized and attended Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Coronaca and Tabernacle Baptist Church in Greenwood. Dr. Backus attended public schools in Greenwood and graduated from Brewer High School. She attended South Carolina State College and received a B.S. Degree in Science upon graduation. She taught science at Finley High School in Chester, South Carolina for five years and then attended Atlanta University where she received a Masters Degree in Science. After graduation, she decided to enter medical school to pursue a career as a medical doctor. She enrolled in Meharry Medical School in Nashville, Tennessee and upon graduation received her M.D. degree. After interning at Meharry, she later went to Harlem Hospital in New York City and completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology. Afterwards, she moved from New York and began her private practice in Nashville, Tennessee, where she worked until her retirement. During her time in Nashville, she met and married Mr. Harold Ray, Sr., a hotel owner and entrepreneur. Dr. Backus has been recognized as an African American pioneer in her profession and a host of professional and civic organizations have recognized her for her professional and civic contributions during her career. While in Nashville, she was a long-time member of First Baptist Church Capitol Hill. She was a member of several civic and social organizations including Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. She was a pillar and mentor for many in her family. She has nieces, nephews, cousins, and others who were inspired by her achievements and who grew up under her constant advice and guidance to become doctors, lawyers, educators, preachers, and other respected community members. Through out her life she loved spending time with her family and friends. She will be greatly missed by all whose lives she touched.

She was preceded in death by five siblings and former husband. While she did not have any biological children of her own, she was a mother figure to many. Dr. Backus is survived by step-son Harold Ray, Jr.; nieces and nephews including Rose Mary Backus Davis Hamm (Leonard), Marietta Backus, James Backus, III (Miriam), Eugene Backus, Jr. (Tanya), and Rev. Furman M. Miller, Jr., Esq. (Janette); special cousins, Yvonne Burnett, Dr. Edmund Stevens (Lydia), Dr. Al Robinson (Alice), and Ralph McNabb; several grandnieces and grandnephews including Dr. Celeste S. Hentz and Riven Mack Davis, Jr., whom she mentored when they attended college in Nashville and Rev. Dr. DeQuincy M. Hentz, who predeceased her; two great grandnieces Ajah Hentz and Faith Ida Janet Miller whom she considered her granddaughters; long time personal assistant Barbara Jackson-McGowen, and classmate and lifelong friend Lilly Pearl Barthwell.

The family wishes to thank Wesley Commons Assisted Living and Rehab Hospital for the wonderful care she received during her stay there.

Graveside services will be held at 1 PM on Thursday at Evening Star Cemetery, 111 Memorial Lane, with Rev. Furman Miller officiating.

Condolences may be sent to the family at www.percivaltompkinsfh.com or via email at [email protected]

The family will receive friends at the Percival Tompkins Funeral Home Chapel on Wednesday evening from 6 to 7 pm. Please wear a mask during visitation.

Percival Tompkins Funeral Home is honored to serve the Backus family.

Published by The Index-Journal from Oct. 14 to Oct. 19, 2021.
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Funeral services provided by:
Percival-Tompkins Funeral Home, Inc - Greenwood
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10 Entries
My sincere condolences to the family. May the Lord grant you strength during this time.
Syl Anderson
October 20, 2021
Our hearts are saddened with the news of Cousin Elizabeth´s passing. She was a great lady and a wealth of knowledge who will be missed.
Aileen Jenkins for the Waller Family in California
October 20, 2021
My sincere condolences
Carolyn Ray
October 20, 2021
Sending My Condolences To The Family. May She Rest In Paradise. She's Now With Her Cousin "Butter Cup" & They're Both Watching Over Us All.
Katrina Robinson
October 19, 2021
I pray God will overshadow with His presence bringing comfort, strength, peace and love during this moment of grief and laying to rest ur family member for years. Thank you God for hearing my prayer for this family.
Gwendolyn Wiggleton
October 19, 2021
Elizabeth will as be remembered as a Female Medical Pioneer for the many women she inspired to go to the field of medicine. She led the way.
Taft Robinson
October 19, 2021
October 19, 2021
Eric and I are sending or heartfelt codolences to the Furman and th Backus Family. May you find comfort in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!!!
Eric and Cynthia Pinkett
October 18, 2021
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one and my friend. My sincere sympathy to each of you. Clara Elam, Nashville, TN
Clara Elam
October 16, 2021
My sincerest condolences to the family.
Rev. Beverly Weaver
October 15, 2021
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