June 13th, 1914 – Sept. 14th, 2008
Erna Klassen was one of 6 children born to Jacob and Katharina Claassen on June 13th, 1914 in Millerowa, Russia. The Claassen family emigrated to Irapuato, Mexico in 1925. Soon after, when Canada re-opened it’s doors to Russian immigrants again, the family joined many of their relatives who had already settled in North Kildonan (Winnipeg) Manitoba.
As the oldest daughter, Erna began working outside the home, sewing, cooking, cleaning and nannying to assist with the family income during those difficult years in their new country. In 1942 she married Jack (J.D.) Klassen, her favourite skating partner. They had 4 children and began a new life by moving to Chilliwack BC where Erna and Jack ran a raspberry patch, a corner store, a dairy farm, and a motel business together. In their retirement years, they pulled up roots and moved to Clearbrook. During these years most winter months were spent in Palm Springs, California where friends, children and grand-children recall many happy memories.
Erna was a “behind the scenes” lady. Even close friends were not aware of the hours she spent at the Abbotsford MCC, volunteering MANY hours at the store and at home – sewing, knitting, and crochetting baby blankets and more to be sent overseas. We had to move quickly to grab an afghan or a winter scarf and hat before she donated “yet another one” to the needy. We will remember that all through her Christian life she never ceased to pray for each family member, by name.
Erna is survived by one sister, Susanne (Lynch) in California; 4 children – Rick (Marylin) Klassen, Dorothy (Rich) Cummings, Sue (Len) Epp, Betti (Ernie) Krahn, 10 grand- children – Mike (Dee) Klassen, Melanie (Keith) Butt, Sandra (Leith) Handley, Wendy (Casey) Haley, Susan (Josh) Lepin, Jason (Melanie) Epp, Joel (Gina) Epp, Andrew (Jenny) Krahn, Rich (Meg) Krahn and Rob Krahn; also 10 great grandchildren enriched her life.
Erna leaves behind a legacy of rich friendships and close family for which she was ever grateful to her Heavenly Father. The family wishes to thank Dr. John Chan, staff at Tabor Court and Abbotsford Regional Hospital, and Fraser Health Community Care nurses for their tireless tending to mom’s health concerns over the past few years.
Thank you to all her friends and family for “loving her into glory”. Our lives are richer and fuller because of your love to our mom.
Memorial Service to be held at Bakerview M.B. Church on Thursday, September 18th at 2:30 p.m. Reception to follow in Church Fellowship Hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations to MCC would be appreciated.