David Backstrom

Obituary of David Michael Backstrom

David was born in Aberdeen, Washington, on June 25, 1952, to Bob and Betty Backstrom.  He grew up in Montesano, Washington, with siblings Lori and Mark and many lifetime friends.  He graduated from Montesano High School in 1970.  He received his AA from Grays Harbor Community College before attending Washington State University, where he earned his BS in Forestry (“Go Cougs!”).  He worked his entire professional career of 40 years for Simpson Timber Company/Green Diamond Resource Co.

David met his wife, Laurel Andvik, while skiing at White Pass with friends.  They were married April 10, 1976, in Seattle and settled in Olympia, building a loving home they’ve lived in since.  They raised three children, Erik, Leif, and Heidi (along with numerous pets).

David was an outdoorsman at heart and a natural athlete.  He enjoyed many sports, but his all-time favorite was golf.  He made a hole-in-one at Mystic Dunes Golf Club in Orlando.  He always looked forward to playing rounds with his dad, in-laws, sons, and many close friends.  He played local courses and loved to play when he travelled to Hawaii, Arizona, Florida, California, and Oregon.  David also enjoyed watersports, such as fishing and boating at family cabins on Lake Nahwatzel and Herron Island.

After he retired, David found time to enjoy another of his great talents, woodworking.  While he always enjoyed building things, he now had time to work with a lathe to create pens, seam rippers, shavers and ice cream scoop handles.  He built a desk and a toy box for grandkids, finished the home basement, and the interior of the summer cabin.  He was able to build, fix or create a variety of things and was incredibly generous with his time, helping others to do the same (especially projects with his oldest).

David and Laurel always looked forward to their travels.  Trips through western to Canada, Sunriver, Vegas, Grand Canyon, Mexico, and a big trip to Europe (Germany, France, Austria, Belgium) with the kids made some great memories.  Trips to Seaside and Long Beach with the kids and grandkids were a highlight.  Couples’ cruises to the Panama Canal and the Baltic Sea with extra time in Denmark, family homesteads in Norway, a visit to relatives in Sweden and Iceland were bucket list trips.  On their last trip to Hawaii in February, David began to experience difficulty with speech and finding words. After coming home, he was diagnosed with a rare brain disease that had no treatment.  A month later, he passed away on April 3, 2023.

David was a man who found meaning in the service of others, generously giving his time to people he loved.  He served on the maintenance committee at church for many years and, since retirement, has been active with the Olympia West Lions, working at the Food Bank, Thurston County Fair booth, LERC (glasses), and box apple sales as fundraisers.

David is survived by his wife, Laurel; sons, Erik (Christie), Leif (Daryle); daughter, Heidi (David Crawford); grandchildren, Dylan, Klara, Logan, Greta and Olle; mom, Betty; sister, Lori (Craig); brother, Mark (Susan); sister-in-law, Tove (Doug); brother-in-law, Brian (Laura); two aunts, and many nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his father, Bob.

The family wishes to give special thanks to all the wonderful people that God placed in our lives at just the right times to help us through this journey.  Each of you are so very appreciated and loved.

Thank you to Green Diamond Resources for donating seedlings for all of us to plant in David’s honor.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, April 15, 2023, 12:00 p.m. at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 1601 North St., Olympia, WA 98501.

Donations in David’s memory may be made to cjdfoundation.org in Memory of David Backstrom to help further research into the disease that took him too soon.

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