Klassen, Helena

Helena Klassen (nee Peters)

October 12, 1921 – February 20, 2016

Helen Klassen sqOn Saturday February 20, 2016 at Salem Home in Winkler, MB, Helen Klassen aged 94 years went to her eternal rest. Undoubtedly, Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother’s longevity resulted in large part from her love, determination and interest.

We were loved; that was never in question. In the days when her children were growing up, it was not so common to use terms of endearment to show children love but it was in the way Mother had concern for us and our well being that we experienced her love. She liked to dress us well, bundle us up to play outside in the snowdrifts and provide us with utensils to construct ice cream cones with the sand in the sandbox. I never heard her complain about us bringing sand, dirt or snow into the house after an afternoon of play.

Mom loved her garden. She cared for her plants with utmost attention and surely although she would never have moved her lips, chatted with them silently. When water was scarce, she would carry buckets of dishwater to her thirsty garden which in turn, rewarded her with gorgeous and delicious vegetables.

When it came to cooking and baking, mom was an expert. Her perfectionism and very keen sense of taste and smell produced amazing results. Unfortunately, perfectionism as is its nature, also resulted for her in the feeling that there was always room for just a little more improvement. The buns could have been a just a little higher, the cake just a little lighter, the roast just a little more tender and the soup just a little more flavorful.

In the animal world, mom’s favorites were the birds. She had researched their appearance and habits and songs and when a bird appeared that she did not recognize, off she’d be to her bird books. She reveled in their song, their flight and their industriousness. Come to think of it, her soul likely identified with the little birds in a desire to fly freely and song beautiful songs.

As for determination, let it not be said that mom’s lessened over the years. Following dad’s death and inter he late years, she left us sometimes clenching our teeth with dread of a mishap occurring when she shovelled snow and swept her driveway even at a time when her mobility was already compromised. She would say, “Daut jing me schen.” The reason for her shovelling was not solely because she liked the activity but because she did not know when the person hired to do the job would appear and wanted it done NOW.

When she built structures upon which she climbed to fasten her Christmas bells to the ceiling, we could year after year, admonish her and forbid her to do it yet she would only after the bells were already hung confess she had done it again.

Driving her car gave mom a lot of independence and when her driver’s license was issued with the restriction of driving within a small radius of Winkler, she was not too disappointed as she could still manage her appointments, banking and grocery shopping on her own. We wondered how we could help her make the transition from driving to being driven. Prior to her 90th birthday, she was determined to get groceries by herself, she sat behind the wheel and slowly made her way along the roads. Luckily, no mishap occurred before she voluntarily conceded to being chauffeured around.

Mom showed interest in many areas and one could not detect that her formal education had ended with grade eight. Growing up, I don’t remember mom reading novels but she had her cookbooks, her bird books and she enjoyed magazines and learned from observation. Her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are scattered across Manitoba, Alberta, BC and Oregon and when someone in the family planned a trip, she consulted her atlas to learn where they were headed. Always concerned for her family’s well being, she checked weather patterns in our respective areas for dangerous weather and warned us against storms, avalanches, floods, etc. Mom could have written a series of books on laundry tips, cooking tips, baking tips, sewing tips, gardening tips all of which she had learned either first hand from books, from observation or from others. In her later years, the interest in learning did not lessen; her mind remained sharp and many interesting topics were covered in conversation.

And so came to an end a long life. Difficulties, of which she experienced her good share, have not been discussed here. It is not necessary. We wish to honour our mother, grandmother and great grandmother for her strengths and achievements and then commit her to a peaceful rest in her heavenly home.

Sadly missed along life’s way

Quietly remembered everyday.

No longer in my life to share,

But in my heart

You are always there.

She leaves to mourn her passing two daughters and sons-in-law, Amanda and Michael Geist, Rosanna and David Wilson and son-in-law, Henry Rempel and Anneliese Baerg as well as her grandchildren. Joshua Wilson, Brenlee Rempel, Garret and Karen Rempel whose family consists of Caleb, Zachary, Ethan, Tate, Vance and Piper. We all loved grandma and great grandma so much! She is also survived by four sisters, two brothers and their families. She was predeceased by her husband, J.K. Klassen on May 26, 2000, her daughter, Helen on February 9, 1992 as well as six sisters and one brother.

Memorial service at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday February 25, 2016 at the Winkler Bergthaler Mennonite Church with a private interment prior at the Blumenort Cemetery.

Wiebe Funeral Home, Winkler

In care of arrangements