Verna Backsen

Obituary of Verna Menette Backsen



Verna, 95, passed away peacefully due to complications from COVID-19 on December 19, 2020.


Born in Youngtown, ND to John and Elizabeth (Rusch) Klusmann, Verna was the second youngest child of 8.  After 6th grade the family moved to New Salem, ND, where she graduated from high school followed by work as a bookkeeper and bank teller.


She and Clyde "Swede" Backsen married in 1948.  In 1952 they moved to Gladstone, OR.  They would later live in Pedee, Salem, Canby, Carlton, and Woodburn areas of Oregon.  She and Swede always worked side by side whether running their motels or working their farms.  Driving the trucks to deliver crops to the canneries was one of many jobs she had while farming.   


One of Verna's greatest enjoyments came from her involvement with the communities where she lived.  From PTA and school activities, to holding various positions at Local, County and State levels for the Oregon State Extension Homemakers Council.  Later, after a diagnosis of Macular Degeneration, she became a leader of the Woodburn Low Vision Support Group for 10 years.


Faith was always at the center of Verna's life.  Wherever they lived, she would become involved with a church as an organist and choir director.  At the Hubbard UCC Church, where she was an organist for 29 years, she also participated as a Deacon, Treasurer, member of the Women's Fellowship and choir.


Verna is survived by son Keith; daughter Joan; daughter-in-law Kristen;  granddaughters Alexandra & Rachel.


Due to COVID restrictions, no service is planned.  She will be placed alongside Swede at Willamette National Cemetery.  Memorials may be made in her name to the Oregon Commission for the Blind; 780 Commercial St SE #200; Salem, OR 97301 or to the United Church of Christ Central Pacific Conference; PO Box 22588; Portland, OR  97269.    

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