Memorial service will be held at 11:00AM on Friday December 16, 2022 at the Winkler Bergthaler Mennonite Church with a private interment for close family and friends at 10AM at Westridge Memorial Gardens. No public viewing. Donations may be made in Carol's memory to the BTHC Foundation designated to Cancer Care.

Carol Irene Klassen (nee Epp)
1954 ~ 2022

The year was 1954 and Christmas had come early for Alex and Mary Epp (Rempel). On December 11th, at Bethel Hospital in Winkler MB, they welcomed their fourth and final child; and true to the season named her Carol Irene. On December 11th 2022, on her 68th birthday, after many battles with cancer, her Lord and Saviour saw fit to call Carol home; where her courage and steadfast faith were rewarded and her healing made complete. She passed peacefully at Boundary Trails Health Centre with her family by her side. Carol is survived by two brothers; Al (Sharie) and Doug (Betty); her husband, Henry (Hank) Klassen; and their two sons; Jarryd, married to Cally (Isfeld), and their children, Carter and a daughter soon to make her arrival; and Jesse, married to Destiny (Toews), and their children, Charlotte, Eliana, and Paris. She was predeceased by her parents; one brother, Victor, and his wife Valerie; and several grandchildren born as angels, into the arms of the Father.

Carol’s childhood was a happy one. She proudly acknowledged the perks of having been the youngest child and only girl in her family. She shared many fond memories; of sitting at the piano with her Aunt Vega, visits with other beloved family and friends around the kitchen table, hours spent at play with her cousins Joanne, and Audrey, learning to bake buns with her dad – and how her mom cringed every time he grabbed a fistful of flour and flung it across the counter. Carol, or Bucky as she would later be called, graduated from Garden Valley Collegiate in 1972; that same year she was baptized upon the confession of her faith at the Winkler Bergthaler Mennonite Church, and was crowned Miss Winkler. After a year of study at University and a couple of years working alongside her mother in the sewing department at Triple E, she went on to find her calling. In 1975 she found a role as a dental assistant at Winkler Dental Clinic, then the practice of Dr. Bob Day; a job she was passionate about and excelled at. In later years she would join the staff at the C.W. Wiebe Medical Centre, where she also thrived; she enjoyed the atmosphere of the healthcare industry and found many friends amongst her fellow staff. Somewhere along the way, unbeknownst to her, a young man admired her from afar. Being 3 years his senior, Henry Klassen hadn’t yet shown up on her radar; but her long locks of light brown hair, her bright blue eyes that sparkled with laughter, her cheerleader uniform didn’t hurt either – neither did the fact that she owned her own car! (a 1970 Chevelle Malibu) – these things had Henry’s radar buzzing. This girl was the one! As luck would have it, Henry sprouted from a shaggy-haired shrimp to the tall, dark, and handsome man Carol would eventually marry. Though, she’d argue he never really asked; “So are we getting married, or what?” Having won her affections, on July 22nd, 1979, Carol became Mrs. Klassen. Carol and Hank spent much of their earlier years together at the local curling rink and travelling for bonspiels. After welcoming their children, Jarryd in 1983 and Jesse in 1986, they traded in bonspiels for family road trips and camping.

Together they built a beautiful life, creating many cherished memories together and as a family. Growing up with 3 brothers prepared Carol well for raising little men; the living room wrestling matches, backyard golf, driveway hockey, broken windows and dented drywall – none of these things phased her. She had a cheerful heart, a playful disposition, and much of who she became was wrapped up in her identity as MOM. For this reason, there are many others who know her as an honourary mom, former youth sponsor, or Auntie C; who know what a gift it is to be known and loved by Carol Klassen. When her own boys became men and left the nest, it was more bitter than sweet. Her heart was never whole until all her loved ones were under her roof. She often joked about building houses side by side on a quiet bay, but it was understood that in truth she would have considered it a dream come true. Although her love for her sons was great, Carol also adored her daughters-in-law, Cally and Destiny. The night Jesse and Destiny were engaged, they returned to an extended family gathering to share their news. Upon entering the house, Carol (who had the inside scoop on the evening’s events) rushed to greet the happy couple. Jesse, who stood by with open arms to receive his mother’s congratulatory embrace was instead nearly knocked over as Carol blew right past him, embracing Destiny instead; shouting, “I’ve finally got a girl!” When Jarryd and Cally were married in 2018, Carol never complained about their decision to settle in Abbotsford, B.C. She supported them and embraced Cally as her own, spending time daily texting with and FaceTiming her, as well as making as many trips as possible out west. Carol was committed to building their relationship, regardless of distance, and she was greatly blessed in its blossoming.

Carol’s most cherished promotion was that to the status of “Grandma”. She was known by this title by her favourite people; Charlotte, Eliana, Paris, Carter. Carol took great joy and pride in her grandchildren; reading them many, many books, hosting them for sleepovers and weekends at the camper, spoiling them with sweets and gifts, and singing them round after round of “You Are My Sunshine,” or as they called it “Grandma’s Song”—which no one else was allowed to sing. Carol never shied away from the messy parts of raising kids, even as a grandparent. She changed diapers, helped care for them when they were sick, fed them, took them outside to play in the puddles after it rained, and babysat often; even requesting to do so if it had been a while. She welcomed their help in the kitchen, in the garden, and cheered them on in all their achievements; whether it was potty training or ballet recitals.

The family would like to acknowledge Cally, who attended many of Carol’s medical appointments; employing her expertise as a nurse to advocate, educate, and help care for Carol through her illness. Given that Carol was the self-professed “worst patient” due to her stubborn nature, stubbornness that doubtlessly contributed to her past recoveries and remissions – Cally’s dedication is deserving of notice and her absence here at this time, while she prepares to welcome a new child, is felt deeply.   

To the many others who have shown support and generosity in various ways throughout Carol’s sickness and now as the family grieves her loss, thank you.

The family would also like to express their heartfelt appreciation to the many people on Carol’s medical team; particularly her oncologist; Dr. Anderson; Dr Dhala at BTHC; and Dr. Margie Hesom, for her past role in Carol’s care and continued involvement as confidant and friend. They would also like to thank the exceptional nurses who cared for Carol during her time in Palliative Care; Sarah, Heidi, and Tatjana.

Please consider making a donation in Carol’s memory to the BTHC Foundation, designated to Cancer Care.

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