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Michael Martin of Backus with his wife Kathy. Michael passed away July 8 due to complications following surgery. Submitted photo

Balloon launch planned in memory of Backus Cornfest volunteer

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A well known volunteer from rural Backus passed away July 8.

Michael Martin, known for his annual portrayal of Santa Claus, his devotion to the Backus Cornfest Committee and year-round involvement with the Hackensack Food Shelf, passed away from infection following open heart surgery.

Martin was an advocate for bear research near Ely, and he was recognized for his year-long resemblance to Santa Claus, as well as his annual appearances at public places as Santa Claus.

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