Spirit of the Gift
Biography Project

Histories of the men and women behind WSU's endowed funds

Earl Richard Backus Music Scholarship

After settling a property covered with corn and surrounded by wheat, Margaret Metheny and her family lived a life of complete country ambience. Thinking back to the huge garden their family maintained every year, Mrs. Metheny recalled, "This was the best sweet potato land in the area." The school she attended, in Enterprise, Kan. consisted of only one room. Her father walked two miles to his job at the streetcar line. After school, she married John and continued sewing clothes for various businesses for the next 40 years. Before her passing in 1993, Mrs. Metheny established this scholarship in remembrance of her son, Earl Backus.

Earl Richard Backus was born December 1916, in Kansas. After completing the 11th grade, he undertook an interest in media, eventually submitting a "TV portfolio" to Wichita University. In 1943, Mr. Backus joined the military and served as a fighter pilot until 1946.  Rekindling his interest in music, he entered the recording business, eventually taking a vice president position with Universal Recording Company. Mr. Backus continued working there for several years before retiring. He passed away in 1990.


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