Update: The funeral will be Wednesday, at 11 a.m., at the Kaiserslautern Hauptfriedhof.
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Heide Backfisch, a German who spent her entire career working for Stars and Stripes, died Nov. 7 after a long battle with cancer. She was 61.
Backfisch landed her first job with Stars and Stripes in Kaiserslautern when she was about 20, starting out as a clerk and typist, according to her brother, Erwin.
She worked in Stars and Stripes’ book store operations, where she stayed for 24 years, eventually overseeing distribution and accounting.
After the Army and Air Force Exchange Service took over the book stores in 1992, Backfisch became a circulation district manager for the newspaper’s Kaiserslautern sales office at Pulaski Barracks.
She remained in that position until her death, moving her office in August 2008 to Stripes’ new headquarters at Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern.
Erwin Backfisch said Stars and Stripes was his sister’s “whole life. She loved the job. She loved the people.”
Stars and Stripes’ circulation district manager Nate Jamison, who had worked with Backfisch since 2002, called her a great mentor, a consummate professional with superb attention to detail. He fondly recalled their frequent lunches at Popeye’s, where Backfisch always ordered “three piece spicy (chicken) with a Diet Coke.”
Circulation manager Dan Holland said Backfisch was a dedicated district manager who “maintained an excellent working relationship with all of her delivery personnel and colleagues.”
“She will be missed not only professionally, but personally,” Holland said.
Backfisch is survived by her brother, and a nephew, Marco.
Funeral arrangements are pending.