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BACKSTROM, Gage J., age 20

Died: Friday, July 5th, 2019

A Celebration of Life and private interment will be held at a later date in both Wisconsin and Virginia.

In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer memorials be given in memory of Gage that will be donated at a later date to several organizations close to Gage's heart.



Gage J. Backstrom, of Arlington, VA, died Friday, July 5, 2019 on the Chippewa Flowage. A native of Virginia, Gage spent a considerable part of his life here in Eau Claire and considered Wisconsin his second home. He passed in the place that he loved the most, doing what he loved the most.

Gage was born on December 23, 1998 to Kirsten (nee Leonard) and Chad Backstrom, both originally from Eau Claire. Gage was an accomplished high school athlete, competing at both the state and national level in wrestling and rowing. He was a Virginia State medalist in wrestling, named Arlington Wrestler of the Year, and received Washington, D.C. All-Metropolitan Honorable Mention as a rower. After graduating from the Washington Lee High School H-B Woodlawn Program, Gage attended Virginia Commonwealth University and was pursuing a degree in computer science.

Gage lived life fearlessly. There was no tree he would not climb, nor any bonfire he was not the first to build. A lover of animals, he had many pets in his lifetime and would rescue and rehabilitate any critter - except maybe squirrels. As a young boy, Gage loved playing with his sisters in the mountains of Virginia. He cherished hunting and fishing at Treeland Resorts with his family and close friends, his cousins in River Falls and Ellsworth, and his father in Virginia. Gage traveled extensively in his brief lifetime including trips to Canada, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Paris, Russia, Cuba, Mexico, Iceland, Greece, Turkey, as well as many places within the United States. He loved gardening and spent many hours pruning his bonsai and other trees. He was an artist, scientist, skateboarder, and movie and music aficionado.

Gage is survived by his mother, Kirsten; father, Chad (Charleen); sisters, Bridget, Emily and Syndey; grandparents, Marie Leonard and Gail (Tom) Roach; aunt, Kaileen Leonard (Glen Cullen); uncle, Josh (Denni) Backstrom; as well as many other family and friends in Wisconsin, Virginia and around the world.

He was preceded in death by his grandfather, James Leonard, whom he loved dearly.

Gage was loved by his family more than all things. 

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