BACK, John "Warren"
John "Warren" Back, a loving husband, father, and grandfather, formerly of Centerville, Ohio, passed away on July 13, 2022, at New Dawn Memory Care in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Warren passed away peacefully after his family had been at his side over the past several weeks. Warren was born November 15, 1936, in Gull Lake, Saskatchewan, to Joseph and Marion Back.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Rose and his brother, Edward Back. He is survived by his four children: David (Megan) Back of Lafayette, CO, Kelli (Ian) Brennan of Colorado Springs, CO, Nikki (Casey) Price of Broomfield, CO, and Jodi (Jeffry) Champagne of Colorado Springs, CO. Also surviving are his seven grandchildren: Nicholas and Holly Brennan, Katy Back, Zachary and Rachel Price, and Jackson and Mia Champagne. His family will miss his guidance, gentleness, devotion and smile.
Warren grew up in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, and was proud of his Canadian heritage. Growing up with very little, he had to help his dad with his painting business. He frequented the pool hall with his dad which explains why nobody could beat him at 8-ball. He played several sports as a true athlete. He excelled at many, but hockey was his passion. During the cold Canadian winters, he ice skated to school and played hockey on recess. A standout, he quickly moved up the ranks and headed to the United States to play Junior League hockey at 16. He was the youngest player to be recruited by the NHL at that time, playing one season with the Boston Bruins professional hockey team. He continued his professional hockey career playing for teams in the International Hockey League. He played in Louisville, Milwaukee, Muskegon, and in 1970, he retired as a player/coach for the Dayton Gems in Dayton, OH. All in all, he played in the IHL for nine years and amassed 441 points. He was a member of the first class inducted into the Dayton Hockey Hall of Fame. Warren's reputation as a hockey player was that of a gentleman both on and off the ice despite his stitches, scars, and missing teeth.
While playing for the Louisville Rebels in 1957, Warren met the love of his life, Mary Rose Schafroth. Soon after, he turned down a scholarship to play hockey at University of Denver in order to stay in Louisville with Mary Rose. The two married on September 3, 1960. Warren also turned down the head scouting position for the Boston Bruins when Mary Rose was pregnant with David so that he could be with his growing family. Family was always a priority to Warren, and the decision to prioritize family over career would continue to be a theme in his life.
While Warren played hockey, he drove a Coke truck and attended the University of Louisville in the off-season, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration ('69). It took Warren 12 years to get his undergraduate degree as he was playing hockey and working at the same time, but this was a testament to his commitment and perseverance. Upon retiring from hockey, Warren worked for Price Bros. Concrete Pipe Company, which relocated him to Michigan, then back to Ohio, where he retired as the Vice President of the Pressure Pipe Division. His kids fondly remember his competitive spirit off the ice as he made them stop on road trips to look at construction sites to confirm the pipe was that of his company's and not their competitors.
Warren and Mary Rose's marriage spanned over 60 years, blessing them with 4 children and 7 grandchildren. A loving husband and father, Warren was a rock for his family and his community, providing wisdom and endless, steadfast support. While living in Trotwood, Warren built a walkway behind their house so the neighborhood kids could cut through their yard and get to school faster. Living in Ohio for 37 years, he generously kept their pool clean and ready for all the neighborhood kids even after his own children had grown. He was known for great cannonballs, dolphin rides, and for reluctantly agreeing to set the pool's temperature at 90 when the grandkids arrived. Warren enjoyed woodworking and spending time in his shop after he retired. Whenever Mary Rose envisioned a project, Warren brought it to life. Whenever his children asked him to build something, he wasted no time getting started. Whether it was a teacher's bookshelf, a chest of drawers, a loft, American Girl doll trunks, Warren could build it. His grandchildren still cherish the special wooden boats he made with them each summer in his workshop.
Warren's family could always count on him. Warren was the sounding board and mentor for making life decisions such as new jobs, career changes, and financial decisions. He frequently helped his kids and their spouses with "How to" projects and was known to be a fun babysitter. He never liked the idea of his daughters traveling to Ohio with their children alone. Many times, Warren flew long distances just to help his children move or drive across the country. Warren was an excellent driver, with a perfect driving record. In the last few years, he loved accompanying his children on rides around town. He was a delightful copilot in the car as well as an impressive human GPS, always knowing the shortcuts and fastest routes.
Warren was a sports enthusiast, and a passionate fan of Cincinnati's professional teams. You could often find him with friends and family at a Bengals game or playing golf at Sycamore Creek with his single digit handicap. He enjoyed socializing with friends by attending his weekly Agonis luncheons with other broken down athletes or hanging out at Geez with his church buddies. Being from Canada, he made sure all of his kids knew how to ski and skate. He even created an ice rink in the pool each winter. His kids will never forget how quickly he could lace up their skates. It was almost magical.
Warren will be cremated per his final wishes. Griffin Funeral Companies of Colorado Springs, Colorado, are handling the cremation. A memorial service will be held at David's United Church of Christ in Kettering, Ohio, on Saturday, November 5, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. followed by a Celebration of Life in the adjacent Fellowship Hall. David's United Church of Christ Facebook page will be streaming the service for those unable to attend in person.