Audrey Elizabeth Backlund, a resident of Turlock her entire life, passed away peacefully on Thursday, September 3, at the age of 93.
Audrey was born in Turlock to William and Hildur Anderson. As a child and young adult, she had close relatives that lived in San Francisco which meant frequent trips and adventures to the bay area. She graduated from Turlock High School in 1945. Her first jobs were at the local movie theater, Woolworths, and Carr’s Cleaners where she met her future husband, Melvin Backlund. After dating a little over a year, they married and Audrey eventually became a homemaker, raising three children.
Audrey was always involved in her children’s activities, including Sunday School, Brownies, and Cub Scouts. When her son became a Little League baseball player, she became a huge baseball fan, listening to the Giants on the radio and following her son’s baseball playing days. The family always had a dog as a pet and Audrey would became very attached to them. The last dog she cared for was a shelter dog, and Audrey was especially fond of her.
After the children had grown a little older, she went back to work for Head Start as a teacher’s aide. She loved working with the young children and would share stories of them at the dinner table. She volunteered for Meals on Wheels and was part of a group of ladies who started a “THS class of 45” breakfast club, which continued for several decades and grew in size . . . because everyone was invited. In her later years, she enjoyed being part of a Wednesday morning coffee group of close friends.
A woman of faith, Audrey was a member of the First United Methodist Church and was the Membership Secretary for many years in addition to being an active member of the United Methodist Women. She adored making salads for special occasions, enjoyed going to the coast, camping at New Brighton and Sea Cliff State Parks, and day trips to Monterey.
No one was a stranger to Audrey, and she made everyone feel welcome. After moving to Paramount Senior Living, she was so proud when they made her an “Honorary Greeter” because she was always greeting the new residents. As she leaves us, we remember her favorite songs that demonstrate the way she lived her life—“Let There Be Peace on Earth” and “What a Wonderful World.”
Audrey was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Melvin Backlund, and her brother Bob Anderson. She is survived by her daughter Sandy (Dan) Bettencourt of Denair, son Bob (Nancy) Backlund of Turlock, daughter Diane (Bob) Gillispie of Modesto, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
A graveside service for family and close friends will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, September 11, 2020, at Turlock Memorial Park, 575 N. Soderquist Rd., Turlock. Guests are requested to wear a mask and to observe social distancing.
Memorial donations can be made in Audrey’s honor to the First United Methodist Church, 1660 Arbor Way, Turlock, CA 95380.