World War II Veteran turns 103 years old

Cleo Backus

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — With Veteran’s Day right around the corner, tonight we are recognizing a local veteran on a very special day for her.

She sat down with our Rick Reitzel to mark that milestone, and this sports fanatic even left us with a bonus prediction about the World Series.

Today Cleo Backus turned 103-years-old. “I am a Buckeye to the core and always will be!.”

Not only a Buckeye graduate, she enlisted in the Navy before WW II and helped feed thousands of young soldiers, sailors and marines before and after deployment. After the war she taught nutrition at Otterbein University.

Do not make the mistake of asking her how 103 feels like.

“How it feels to be 103? I don’t know I just got here!”

Doing some quick math in my head I reminded her she was born 5 years after the Chicago Cubs won their last World Series.

Laughing, she said, “ you had to remind me of that didn’t you!”

Who is she backing in this World Series?

“I’m rooting for the Indians,” Backus said.

Even as a life-long Cincinnati Reds fan, she said she will always be an Ohio fan.

“But the Reds first then Cleveland second.”

Backus said she has lived a charmed life and ended our chat with these words of wisdom.

“You know for this little country kid I have had a wonderful life. Now I’ve had bumps in the road, but we all need bumps in the road to make us appreciate the smooth highway.”

Happy 103rd birthday Cleo Backus. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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