Rachelle (Wald) Backhaus

June 1, 1963 ~ December 25, 2021 (age 58)


Rachelle Tara (Wald) Backhaus (58), of New Salem, ND, began her celebration with Jesus in Heaven on Jesus’ birthday, December 25, 2021, passing from this earthly life at Sanford Medical Center, Bismarck, with her husband holding her hand.  Services will be held Thursday, December 30, at 11:00 AM CST at the New Salem Auditorium, New Salem, ND with Pastor Gaylen Lennick officiating.  Visitation will be from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, Wednesday, December 29, 2021, at the Word of Life Baptist Church in New Salem, ND.  Burial will be in the Otter Creek cemetery northwest of New Salem, ND.

Rachelle Tara (Wald) Backhaus was born June 1, 1963 to Milton and Sheila (Smith) Wald.  She grew up in Mandan and Bismarck, graduating from St Mary’s Central High School in Bismarck.  After graduation she worked at RCC Western Store.  It was at RCC, in December 1981, where she met her soon to be husband, Leigh Backhaus.  Their love story began when Leigh was shopping for Christmas gifts.  By July 23, 1982 they were married at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Bismarck, ND.  The officiant misspoke Rachelle’s name as Janet so for years people would tease them that they weren’t married. 

Leigh and Rachelle operated a dairy farm and then started the Cannonball Pit Stop convenience store in Cannonball, ND.  They ultimately made rural New Salem their home where they raised thoroughbred horses and their four sons. When their sons were young, they traveled to showdeos and horse races.  They were members of the Glen Ullin Saddle Club and founding members of the Dakota Territory Horse Racing Association.  As the boys grew older and the horse racing expanded, they all were involved in the family business, Backhaus and Sons Custom Fencing.

She loved to sing, dance and paint.  Her passion was her grandchildren.  She loved to watch their horses run on the track and traveled many miles with Leigh to the races. 

She had a passion for befriending people and would nightly go through many, many names in prayer over their lives. She would write their names on prayer maps and declare scripture while pleading the blood of Jesus over each person.

In June of 1989, Rachelle became ill. This was the beginning of a 32-year battle with Glomerulonephritis. She received a kidney from her sister, Jewel. Within six months, the Glomerulonephritis attacked the donated kidney.  She received another kidney donation and again the disease ruthlessly attacked the healthy kidney.  Throughout her journey with this rare kidney disease, she was hospitalized hundreds of times and always used these times as an opportunity to witness about her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to everyone she had contact with. She was a medical miracle, surviving longer than most physicians thought possible. She endured kidney dialysis three days a week for 28 years. Over time other serious conditions arose from long term dialysis, including recurring pancreatitis and later calciphylaxis.  It was calciphylaxis that caused her two amputations.   It was her will to survive, strong faith and love of her family that kept her alive. 

Thankful to have been blessed by her love are husband, Leigh; sons: Larin (Laura), Levi (Molly), Lawton (Kelsey) and Lexon; and an adopted son, Ernest Borntrager; eleven grandchildren; brother, Russell (Karla) Wald; sister, Jewel Wald; mother-in-law Phyllis Backhaus. 

Rachelle was preceded in death by her father, Milton Wald; mother, Sheila (Smith) Wald; father-in-law, Otto Backhaus. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred in Rachelle's memory to KNDR 104.7 FM, P.O 516, Mandan, ND 58554.

Arrangements conducted by Barbot Funeral Home, Beulah and Hazen.

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December 29, 2021

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Word of Life Baptist Church (New Salem)
208 E. Oak Ave.
New Salem, ND 58563

Funeral Service
December 30, 2021

11:00 AM
New Salem Auditorium
400 Main Ave.
New Salem, ND 58563

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