Wanda  Backer

Obituary of Wanda Ruth Backer

Wanda Ruth Collier Backer went to be with the Lord on May 17, 2020, at her home in Lake Havasu City, AZ. She was born on January 8,1936 in Knoxville, TN. She was the third child of Leland and Hazel Collier. She is survived by her husband, Ferrell Clyde Backer, Sr., of Lake Havasu City, and her 5 children, Edward Lynn Backer of Ontario, CA, Allen Linden Backer, of Lake Havasu City, AZ, Cynthia Ann Proffitt, of Chino, CA, Ferrell Clyde Backer, Jr., of Las Vegas, NV, and Brenda Rae Vallejo, of Washington, UT, as well as, 8 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. Services in honor of her life will be held on, May 23, 2020, at 11:00 am, at Lietz-Fraze Funeral Home in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Wanda Ruth Collier Backer was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and devoted child of God. She was born on January 8, 1936, in Knoxville, TN, to Hazel Agnes Terry, and Leland Collier. She was the third born and had 3 sisters, Zella Mae, Henrietta, Elizabeth, and one brother, Leland. Her family moved to Cleveland, Ohio in approximately 1940. Life for her was hard. She told stories of eating a lot of beans, potatoes and cornbread. Fresh fruit was a treat and she fondly remembered fruit and hard candy as her Christmas gifts. Her Dad, Leland, was drafted to serve in the Navy during the second World War. This was especially an anxious time for her as a little girl having her father away. Her family eventually moved to El Monte, CA. Wanda got a job as a waitress and that is where she met her sweetheart, Ferrell. Dad said that one time while at the restaurant he asked her if she had a boyfriend. She said, yes, and he told her to get rid of him. And she did! They married and lived in El Monte where Dad had a service station, Mick’s Service Center. Mom was a great helpmate and supported my Dad as his parts chaser. Street racing and the drags were a big part of their life in the early years of their marriage. My mother would go to the drags with dad and ran in the races and won most of the time, thanks to my Dad. However, her racing hobby came to a stop when a gear blew on her car while speeding down the track and scared my Dad and that’s when he told her it was time to let it go. Dad was always concerned that the flywheel cover would break and cause serious bodily injury. Dad always said that the “claimed” first lady of drag racing, Shirley Muldowney, had nothing on mom! A funny story my folks told was that my Dad decided he was going to stop my Mom from going anywhere while he was at his shop working. Thinking he was pulling a fast one on her, he pulled out the rotor so that her car would not start. My Mother did not let that detour her. She lifted the hood, checked out the engine and found the problem and went to the neighbor who had a rotor that would work. She installed the borrowed rotor and off she went. Dad learned, don’t underestimate my Mom. They eventually bought their first home in La Puente, CA, in 1959, where they raised their children. Mom went back to school and got her adult school diploma and trained as a nurses’ aide. She worked as an aide in the hospital and eventually a surgery tech. She also worked as an assistant in a doctor’s office. She loved helping people and found her niche in the medical field. While living in La Puente, there was a show called Queen for a Day. Those who are old enough to remember, it was a popular game show that originated in 1945 as a radio program and eventually made it to daytime television from 1956 until 1964. It was primarily designed to bring tears to the eyes and prizes to the winner. Our neighbor went on the show and won and she encouraged Mom to give it a try. Mom wanted to help her parents get a few necessities. Her Dad needed hearing aides and he loved wood working. Her Mother was wheel chair bound and needed a washer and dryer. Mom followed our neighbor’s lead and she too got tickets and went on the show. She was picked as one of 4 contestants and during her on air interview with the host, Jack Bailey, he asked her about her family and how many children she had. Mom burst into tears and was able to say she had five children. Mr. Bailey quickly responded that he would cry too if he had 5 kids. Mom won Queen for a Day and her parents got what she had asked for them. I clearly remember her coming home holding a beautiful huge bouquet of red roses that the winner gets when robed and crowned as queen! Dad absolutely adored Mom. When she worked for the hospital, she worked a swing shift. One time at Christmas, Dad decided to put up Christmas lights outside much to our delight. We as children, envisioned the traditional trimming of the house with beautifully colored lights. However, what my Dad envisioned, was much different. He got creative and put my Mom’s name on the front of the house which was quite a sight when she got home from work. Needless to say, she made sure he took it down. She loved camping, boating, water skiing, and fishing. She was a great skier and loved skiing with her kids. Dad was able to hook up 4 tow lines and she skied with my brother, Ferrell, my sister, Brenda, and a family friend. It was quite a sight to see 4 skiers being pulled down the Colorado River. When it came to fishing, mom always caught the first and the biggest! My Dad would brag about her being the best fisherman!!! Once, while fishing at Mountain Lakes in California, Mom hooked into a whopper fish. It was quite an ordeal pulling in that big boy. There was a man standing nearby who thought my Mom needed help and he tried to tighten her drag on the reel. Her son-in-law, Danny, stopped the man and told him, she knows what she is doing! She pulled in a 13 lb. catfish! What a gal!!! Besides loving the outdoors, she also loved to cook! She was the best southern cook and her fried chicken was second-to-none. She also made the best Mexican food. She also loved her four legged, tail waggers. Each and everyone was special to her. Mom fondly shared the story of how she was taught the truth by her beloved mother-in-law, Ermine Backer. Ermine found out that my mom, (who was not raised any organized religion), and my dad, (who was raised in The church of Christ where his father preached in El Paso), were occasionally attending a local denomination. Ermine resided in El Paso, TX, and she drove from El Paso to La Puente in her VW Bug with the intent of straightening my dad out and teaching my mother. My mother had a special place in her heart for her mother-in-law and was forever grateful for her part in opening mom’s eyes to the truth and being a wonderful mother to her son, Ferrell. Mom said that Ermine scolded dad and told him that, “he knew better,” (as only a loving mother could do). It was not long after that visit that Mom and Dad started attending The church of Christ in Baldwin Park, California where they both were baptized into Christ. As most of you know, my Dad, Ferrell, was her sole caregiver for a few years before he became ill with cancer. He was the perfect example of a christian man you read about in Ephesians 5:25, “ Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. He tirelessly and lovingly waited upon her and never did it begrudgingly. My Dad was one of the greatest blessings in my Mom’s life and she loved him deeply. Today, May 23, would have been their 67th wedding anniversary! In closing, there was nothing more that my mother wanted in this life than to see her kids, grandkids and great grandkids become a Christian and put God first in their lives. She loved the Lord and His church and I know she is in Paradise with no pain, no sickness and looking forward to the great reunion we will have on the other side of Jordan.
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Saturday
23
May

Funeral Service

11:00 am
Saturday, May 23, 2020
Lietz-Fraze Funeral Home & Crematory - Lake Havasu City
21 Riviera Blvd
Lake Havasu City, Arizona, United States
(928) 855-4949
Saturday
23
May

Graveside Service

12:00 pm
Saturday, May 23, 2020
Lake Havasu Memorial Gardens
1698 Deer Run Dr.
Lake Havasu City, Arizona, United States