Glendiva Backman was born during a terrible blizzard in the early morning of Jan. 19, 1923 on her parents' farm in Stony Brook Township in Grant County. Her parents were Iver Melaas and Tilla (Olsen Haugsrud) Melaas. She was baptized and confirmed at Rock Prairie Lutheran Church, Grant County. She received her education in country school District #70 ending in eighth grade, as was the custom for many farm kids. Her dream to become a grade school teacher was never realized, but she continued her education by reading newspapers and helping her children with their homework.
Glendiva worked on her parents' farm and later in Elbow Lake at Rowdy's Corner Café. On June 19, 1948, Glendiva was united in marriage to Mervin L. Backman. They made their first home in Elbow Lake in a house that was hand built by Mervin and his dad. They had three children, Robert, Richard and Michael. Between the 1950s and 1970s they moved several times throughout West Central Minnesota as required by Mervin's job with the Minnesota Highway Department.
At each house they occupied Glendiva loved to plant trees, bushes and, especially, lots of garden flowers. She cherished the occasional family trip to the North Shore, the Black Hills, Canada and, especially, Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge near Detroit Lakes. She loved the fresh air, the lakes, trees and untamed country areas.
They moved back to their hometown of Elbow Lake after Mervin retired in 1976 and later settled into their retirement home in Alexandria.
Glendiva was proud of her Norwegian heritage and had a life long passion for baking and was an excellent cook. She read the Bible daily and was an avid fan of her grandchildren's activities and accomplishments. Glendiva enjoyed visiting with family and friends and honored dozens of people each year by sending them birthday cards.
In 2003, health reasons lead her to move into the Knute Nelson Memorial Home in Alexandria. During the nine years at Knute Nelson she enjoyed visiting, attending church services, reading and activities. She considered many of the staff of Knute Nelson her dear friends.
Glendiva is survived by her children: Robert (Lynda) of Moorhead, Richard (Colleen) of Woodbury and Michael (Virginia) of Benson; grandchildren, Julie (Kelly) Krabbenhoft, Jill (Chad) Eddy, Ryan (Annie), Megan (Mark) Luckhardt, Daniel, Anna (Andrew) Motzko, Ahren; three great grand children, Steven, Noah and Elsie and cousin Sylvia Nedreau and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Mervin (1999) and her siblings; Alma Coleman, Hilda Straite, Inez Hellickson, Gea Hanson, Selma, Manton, Pearl Symonds, Mable Lindhom, Palmer, Johnny and Melvin.
A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011 at First Lutheran Church. Reverend John Peshek will officiate. Interment will follow in the Kinkead Cemetery in Alexandria. Casket bearers include Julie Krabbenhoft, Jill Eddy, Ryan Backman, Megan Luckhardt, Daniel Backman, Anna Motzko and, Ahren Backman. Visitation will be from 1 to 2 p.m Wednesday at the church. Arrangements are with Anderson Funeral Home, Alexandria.