Meriden - Gladys Randall Backus, 95, wife of the late Joel Waterman Backus, passed away peacefully at MidState Medical Center after a brief illness. Born in Pittsford, Vermont in 1913, she was the daughter of the late George and Pruchia (Kelley) Randall. Gladys was a nursing student at the Meriden Hospital when she met her future husband and together they established a large, chaotic but loving family around their five sons. The consummate homemaker, Gladys managed a busy household in which hospitality and generosity reigned and where it was often difficult to distinguish neighbors and friends from family and in-laws. That warmth and hospitality extended into the kitchen of the First United Methodist Church where Gladys was a fixture for more than 40 years. Leading a devoted cadre of women parishioners, they prepared family-style Church dinners for evangelical and civic organizations alike. Her down-home Yankee palate for culinary delights manifested itself in groaning boards of pot roast, Thanksgiving-style turkey and chicken 'n biscuits. In addition, she served in the canteen of Red Cross bloodmobiles for 30 years, serving sandwiches, juice and her patented 'peanut-butter squares' to blood donors. She is survived by two sons and their wives, Kent N. and Karen (Soltes) Backus; and Scott E. and Lori (Lampros) Backus, fourteen grandchildren, Deborah, David, Paul, Heather, Derek, Daniel, Randall, Kurt, Timothy, Amy, Casey, Kirby, Wes an Emily, twenty-four great-grandchildren and two former daughters-in-law, Karen Azzolina and Lisa Mongillo. She was predeceased by three sons and two of their wives, Joel S. Backus, Ronald A. Backus and his wife Beverly(Markowski), and Bruce R. Backus and his wife Virginia (Sehl) as well as two grandchildren, Kevin ('Moose') and Melissa. A funeral service will be held on Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 11:00am at the First United Methodist Church, 159 East Main St., Meriden. The Rev. Eric Henderson will officiate. Interment will follow at Walnut Grove Cemetery, Meriden. Relatives and friends may call at the Beecher & Bennett-Flatow Funeral Home, 48 Cook Ave., Meriden on Wednesday (TODAY) from 6-9pm. In lieu of flowers donations in Glady's memory may be made to the American Red Cross, 144 So.Main St., Wallingford, CT 06492.

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  1. I had never met Gladys but was very good friends with her son, Kent Backus of Springtown, Texas. It was an honor to read about her. She reminds me of Kent in that she was a loving, giving and popular figure among those who knew her. Her volunteer work was remarkable as was her relationship with her family, friends and those she came in contact with. I’m sure God had already prepared a place for her to continue her generous service in heaven. God Bless Gladys and the entire Backus Family Bob Montgomery – Arlington, Texas

  2. Kent, I’m very sorry to hear of your mother passing. Clearly, you have inherited your passionate love of life and entertaining from her. God bless, Ranson & Christiana

  3. Our deepest sympathy to all the family. Gladys was a wonderful Mom and wife. We so enjoyed getting to know her and listen to her stories. Heaven will be a better place with her there. God bless you all. Love, Richard and Mary Layne

  4. Scott and Famliy; My condolences on the passing of your Mother. As time goes by you will always have the wonderful memories.

  5. So sorry to hear this news, but Gladys lived a long and wonderful life and was lucky to be surrounded by wonderful sons and grandchildren until the end. Our thoughts are with you and your families.

  6. There are very few people that you meet in your life that can always bring a smile to your face when you think about them. Gramma Backus was one of a kind in my heart, that always made me feel welcome and glad to be apart of her family. We will miss her dearly and rejoice knowing that the Lord is enjoying her presence right now.

  7. I am sincerely saddened to hear of the passing of Gladys Backus. I know how difficult this must be for your family. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

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