Cover photo for Zelma Backhaus's Obituary
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1940 Zelma 2023

Zelma Backhaus

February 25, 1940 — September 25, 2023


Zelma Augusta Levon Backhaus, 83, Bismarck, went home to her Lord Jesus on September 25, 2023 at Good Samaritan Society - St. Vincent's in Bismarck, ND.

Funeral services will be held in a private ceremony at the Wishek City Cemetery in Wishek, North Dakota.

Zelma was born on February 25, 1940, in Wishek, ND to William and Emma (Dockter) Backhaus. Her father often traveled for work and her mother stayed home to raise the children. Zelma was one of ten children, ages spanned eleven years. Zelma was a free spirit from birth and she said, “I often spoke my mind, and that got me into a lot of trouble growing up.” She was as thick as thieves with her older sister Pricilla and younger sister Celia. Together they would find themselves getting into trouble, and of course, Celia would blame it on Zelma. Eventually, Zelma left home and ventured out into the world. She gave birth to Kurt in 1958, Mark in 1960, and Gayla in 1962. She worked all her life from various jobs at restaurants to providing technical phone support for an IT company.

Zelma’s life journey would have her travel to many places around the country. However, she returned to North Dakota, her state of birth. She was very proud of her German heritage. Quilting was a passion that was passed down from generation to generation. She made many quilts for her children and grandchildren. She passed down her quilting tradition to some of her granddaughters.

Zelma is survived by her sons, Kurt Olson, and Larry Mark Wong (Susan), and daughter Gayla Taylor (Jack); her eight grandchildren, Durant, Ryan, Chelsie, Erika, Elizabeth, Shayla, Kayla, and Jacki; seventeen great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild, and sister, Loretta Munk.

She was preceded in death by her parents, William, and Emma; her siblings, Erma, Clifton, Robert, Florence, Pricilla, Raymond, Celia, and Louise, and her great-granddaughter, Heavenly Angel.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Zelma Backhaus, please visit our flower store.


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