Klassen, John J.

John J

John J. Klassen

1923 – 2006

Klassen J John.jpgJohn J. Klassen was born on June 4, 1923 to John F. and Helena Klassen in the village of Blumenfeld.  This is where he received his schooling and worked on his father’s farm during World War II.  After the war, he and a neighbor friend started a small business buying used farm equipment in North Dakota and selling it locally.

He also worked at numerous places in Winnipeg (Ross Fruit, Brett Young, etc.)  Then he started baling flax straw and trucking it to Howard Smith paper board plant in Winnipeg where he soon began to work full time in the winter.  When the plant moved to Morden and changed its name to Domtar Fine Papers, he stayed with it and eventually became the plant general manager.  What he enjoyed most was traveling the country-side meeting the people and buying the straw.

When the plant closed in 1982, he kept on buying for Kimberly-Clark and also for Ecusta.  It always seemed he had the farmers’ names and also their land numbers in his head.  He thrived on hard work and people.   Honesty and openness was priority number one in all his dealings.

On July 2, 1977 he married widow, Tobea Retz with whom he shared 26 years of his life.  They became members of the Morden Westside Community Church and in the church Senior’s Group he found much spiritual encouragement and enrichment.

John thoroughly enjoyed his three step-daughters and with Tobea, made frequent trips to visit them out of province.

After his retirement they were able to spend part of their winters in Weslaco, Texas.  This was always a highlight for them.

For most of his life, he was a healthy man but a muscle disease (Myasthenia Gravis) slowed him down in the late eighties but he recovered remarkably well.

In the year 2000, he fell victim to Alzheimer’s disease and with the loss of driving privileges and the death of Tobea in 2003, the dementia increased and he was admitted to Boundary Trails Health Centre in April of 2004 where he remained until January of 2005 when he was transferred to Salem Home.  He gradually adapted to the change and it seemed to become his home.

After a brief illness on April 29 he went to be with his Lord at 4:00 a.m. on April 30.  He reached the age of 82 years, 10 months and 26 days just 35 days short of his 83rd birthday.

He was predeceased by his parents John F. and Helena Klassen (1966) and his wife Tobea (2003).

He is survived by one sister Helen and husband Pete Rempel of Winkler, one brother Peter J. and wife Eva of Winkler also two nephews and their wives, 1 niece and 2 great nieces; 3 step-daughters and their families.

Funeral service was held on Wednesday May 3, 2006 at Westside Community Church at 2:00 pm with Rev. David Friesen and Rev. Wayne Banman officiating.  Interment followed at Blumenfeld Cemetery.

We will certainly miss John but we are thankful for his release.

We would like to express our thanks to all those who visited John in Salem.  Special thanks for the excellent care received on Evergreen and also to the doctors and nurses at BTHC for their efforts on April 30.  May God bless you for it.  Also special thanks to Wiebe Funeral Home for their kind and efficient service.  The Klassen Family.

Donations may be made in John’s memory to the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba Box 119 Winkler, MB R6W 4A4.

Wiebe Funeral Home, Winkler in care of arrangements.