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Published: Thursday, 7/31/2008

Longest-serving councilman departs Sylvania seat


He was a constant presence on Sylvania's City Council for more than three decades, serving 10 consecutive terms.

Now, newly retired from his dental practice, Dr. Read Backus, 74, has resigned to travel and spend time with his family. About 17 months remain in his term.

Dr. Backus and his wife, Dorie, just returned from a trip to Alaska, and the couple plans to continue traveling, he said.

"I think it's time," he said. "With kids and a dental practice and council, sometimes you don't get to go when you want to."

Dr. Backus, a native of Youngstown, moved to Sylvania in 1965. He was elected in 1971, taking office the following year.

During his long tenure, he oversaw growth and the eventual build-out of the city. He was instrumental in the establishment of the joint recreational district and the Sylvania Community Action Team's 24 Hour Relay Challenge, a fund-raiser to promote drug and alcohol- free lifestyles for youth, said his daughter, Barbara Sears.

Ms. Sears served alongside her father for 10 years as a City Council member. She now serves as a state representative.

"I can remember going to council meetings and community events with him," Ms. Sears said.

"I can remember him saying, growing up, that he wasn't a politician, he was a public servant."

Mayor Craig Stough describes Dr. Backus as civic-minded and knowledgeable, the longest-serving of any city staff orelected official. He kept a low profile, dedicating himself to community projects and serving on the safety committee.

"Read has always been very active in the community and visible within the community with Rotary and other organizations," the mayor said.

His retirement represents a loss for the council, in experience and leadership, president Keith Haddad said.

Applications will be accepted until noon Aug. 8. Interviews will be Aug. 11 before a committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Letters of interest and resumes should be mailed to Margie Lintner, clerk of council, 6730 Monroe St., Suite 201, Sylvania, OH 43560-1948 or e-mailed to city.clerk@cityofsylvania.com.

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