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John A. Backensto, age 59, of Muskegon, went to be with his Lord on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 after a long battle with cancer.

The son of John & Beverly (Mayette) Backensto, he was born on July 25, 1957 in Muskegon.

He was a Millwright and was employed by CWC Textron in Muskegon for the past 18 years.  John was a car enthusiast and enjoyed working on his collection of cars. He was also a die-hard and vocal sports fan of Nascar ,with his favorite driver being Jeff Gordon, and MSU football. 
John was preceded in death by his parents; and sister, Denise Olsen. He is survived by his wife of 17 years, Mary (Vanderstelt) Backensto; daughter, Lauren Gradisher; step children, Melissa Tibbitts, and Daniel Tibbitts; three grandchildren, Kobe Gradisher, Alicia Gradisher and Blake Dean; sisters, Kim (Lloyd) Parker, and Kathy Wimpee; brothers, Jeff (Vicki) Backensto, and Rick Backensto.
John asked that there will be no services. 

Honoring his wishes, cremation will take place. To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign John’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit: 

Arrangements are entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids.


Let the family know you care by sharing this tribute.


  1. sandy Vanderstelt on July 14, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    You will be missed John but never forgotten. We will see you again someday!

  2. Tammy Backensto on July 14, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    You will be forever missed. Gone but never forgotten.

  3. Donald camp on July 14, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Although he liked Msu John was one he’ll of a great guy gonna miss him a brother an a dear friend

  4. Beverly Vanderstelt on July 14, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    John will be greatly missed. He is at peace with the Lord and will never be forgotten.

  5. Nina JamesGregory on July 14, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    My sincerest condolences to you and your family. Im Tyshon Masseys Family… But, I still care. God bless!

  6. Anita on July 14, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    Also I want to thank him for giving my mother my sister!! Although I have never met you, I thank you!

  7. Molly Goodrich (Barnes) on July 14, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    My thoughts are with the whole family during this time of grief. He was my dad’s best friend and best man at his wedding. Kenny Barnes. There were lots of stories. And I’m sure some I never heard.

  8. Michelle Wilde on July 14, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    It has been many years since I have seen John but was so sorry to hear of his passing. My condolences to all of his family, including his oldest daughter, Kristy, who I’ve been blessed to know since her birth.

  9. Robin Ackley-Chase on July 15, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    So sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

  10. Kathryn Lombard-thomas on July 18, 2017 at 5:50 am

    I knew John when he was 15 or 16 in Germany he was a great guy always funny and had a smile on his face. My thoughts are with you and your family

  11. Blake Dean on December 27, 2017 at 10:36 am

    i loved how he always took care of me kinda like a son

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