Cover photo for David J. Klassen's Obituary
David J. Klassen Profile Photo

David J. Klassen

October 11, 1932 — May 23, 2024

Altona, MB

David J. Klassen

Peacefully, with Mary, his beloved wife at his side, on Thursday, May 23, 2024, David Klassen, age 91, was called home by his Lord and Saviour.

Dave, as most people called him, was deeply devoted to his family and will be sadly missed and forever cherished by Mary Kehler Klassen, his loving wife of 13 years, his five children and 19 grandchildren, Ken & Laura Klassen of Winnipeg (Amanda, Christopher & Bethany, and April & Tegan), Jim & Darlene Jackson of East St. Paul (Leigha & Eric, Jeremy & Stephanie, Evan & Renee, and David & Sydney), Wayne & Dianne Klassen of Selkirk (Darcy, Marisa, Stephanie, and Riley), Steve & Lisa Klassen of Newmarket, Ontario (Iliana & Nate, Veronica, and Luke), Tim & Cindy Heppner of Altona (Rebekah & Ian, Michelle, Adam & Kamden, and Kalli), his grandson, Cody & Laura Klassen of Emerson, as well as his 12 great-grandchildren (Avery, Erin, Sarah, Isaiah, Collins, James, Logan, Thomas, Arthur, Aliah, Ezra, & Audrey). Also, Dave’s 2 sisters (Trudy Hildebrand & Helen Sawatzky), and 3 brothers (John, Abe, & Martin Klassen). He will also be sadly missed by Mary’s family, her 6 children, John & Barb Kehler of Lowe Farm, Pete & Melinda Kehler, Sara & Bernie Bergen, and Darlene & Rod Bergman all of Plum Coulee, Esther & Larry Dueck of Pinawa, Janice & Greg Doerksen of Steinbach, her 20 grandchildren, and 32 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his loving wife Hilda, their son Michael, 1 sister, and 3 brothers. 

Dave was born on October 11, 1932, and grew up on a farm near Horndean, Manitoba. He was the 5th child of 10 children born to John and Helen Klassen. 

Dave told many stories about hard times growing up on the farm in the 1940's and 50’s. He braved all weather conditions travelling to a one-room schoolhouse in Horndean on horse and buggy, sometimes falling off the road due to heavy rain or snow. Here Dave attended school from Grade 1 until age 14 years when it was time to help on the farm, working on machinery and helping in the fields. In 1951, he said they still cut off the beet tops by hand and threw the beets onto the truck. When his family relocated, he and his brothers, known as a hardy crew, lead the entire herd of cattle, on foot and horseback, from Horndean to their new family farm in Halbstadt. Dave would chuckle at these memories and say, “Hard work never hurt anyone.” These stories also included much fun with his siblings, skiing with skies made from wooden barrels, skating with haphazard skates, and swimming. It seems that everyone in those days learned to swim by being thrown into the pond. 

Dave was baptized upon confession of his faith in Jesus Christ at the Sommerfeld village, Sommerfeld Mennonite Church in 1954. He actively served and loved his Lord and church family throughout his life serving as song leader, leading them in song and worshipping God with his beautiful strong voice, for 56 years. 

Dave was married to his sweetheart Hilda, on September 4, 1955. Dave and Hilda’s family farms were both in Halbstadt, and Hilda’s field ended where Dave’s began. Apparently, when hoeing sugar beets, there was time for “spatsearing” where the fields met.  Shortly after their marriage, they worked together at Eaton’s with Dave’s brother Henry. Comically, Dave and Henry added to the street entertainment by posing as mannequins in the Eaton’s display windows. Dave also worked on the Brandon area CPR railroad bridge crew before his heart called him to farming. In 1956 they lived in a small 2-room house on Dave’s mother’s yard which had an apple-crate cupboard and a wood-stove for cooking and heat. Dave shook his head while mentioning, “Mike’s bottle was frozen some mornings, but we survived.” In 1959 they moved to the Marais community and built a successful sugar beet and grain farm, proudly raising 6 children, and made endless happy memories together. In 1982 they started a new farm south of Altona. Dave and Hilda celebrated 51 blessed years of marriage before Hilda was called home to heaven on November 3, 2006. 

Dave walked by faith in God and trusted the Bible’s teaching. Unconcerned about the weather, he would say, “We have always gotten the crops off the field every other year and I trust we will get them off this year again.” 

Dave’s children will always treasure the way he brought joy into their lives. Every Sunday, he set work aside, making room for God and family. He enjoyed going to church and taking his family to visit their uncles and aunties. In summer he delighted his children with family camping road trips, picnics in the park, and enjoyed racing them while swimming. Winter was filled with board games, cribbage, reading, staying closely connected with his extended family and community, and serving as 4-H leader. Dave taught by example with kindness and patience. He included his children in the daily chores of the grain and animal farm, easing them into responsibility by working alongside them and encouraging them along the way. 

Dave loved his children and he adored his grandchildren! So often you would find him busy in his workshop building wooden toys. The grandchildren delighted in gifts of airplanes, benches, cradles, and piggybanks at Christmas time. During the farming months the grandchildren looked forward to the excitement of joining Grandpa on the tractor or combine. Dave also enjoyed cheering for his grandchildren at their various sports and music events. 

Dave always felt most useful when working. He would help with projects at his children’s homes and especially enjoyed working from the tractor, planting and digging potatoes, and driving the combine. Dave also shared the talented work of his hands by travelling to Seminole, Texas, as part of a Church building team and worked at the Mennonite Central Committee thrift shop, fixing whatever came in the door.

Dave enjoyed travelling with bus tours, and in 2010, on a bus tour to Alaska, he met Mary Kehler. So delighted were they in each other that they were married on August 6th, 2011; a truly blessed marriage for 13 years. Dave enjoyed the addition of Mary’s 6 loving children and their spouses and was adored by their 20 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren, who lovingly called him “Grandpa-Dave”. Dave and Mary sewed over a hundred blankets in their home and continued the gracious giving of their time and talents working happily together at the MCC thrift shop throughout their married life.

Dave was always healthy with strength and energy and it came suddenly for the family when, just a month and a half ago, his health declined. Then came the diagnosis of stage 4 cancer and rapid decline.

The family would like to thank the medical team at Boundary Trails Hospital where Dave spent the last week of his life. We want to thank the staff for treating Dave with an extra dose of kindness and gentleness as they met his comfort needs. 

Dave passed away peacefully with Mary at his side and was able to communicate his final words of love to Mary, his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren during the time he was in the hospital.

In the midst of our sorrow, we are filled with joy knowing that Dave is rejoicing in heaven with Jesus. 

Dave, Dad, Grandpa, and Great-grandpa: loving & kind, faithful & wise, strong & hardworking, our friend & teacher, we love you! As we said at your bedside, “Until we meet you again in your heavenly home, may you rest in peace in the arms of Jesus.”

II Timothy 4: 7 & 8 so appropriately reads:  

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

If friends desire, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba.

The funeral service for David J. Klassen will be held on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, at 2:00 p.m., at the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church, 62 -10th Avenue, N.W., Altona, Manitoba, with burial to follow at the Altona Cemetery.  Viewing will be at Wiebe Funeral Home Altona on Tuesday, May 28 from 1:00 - 6:00 p.m. and at the church prior to the service.


To view the live stream of the funeral service click on the video link below.
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Past Services

Viewing

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

1:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)

Wiebe Funeral Home Altona Ltd.

Box 308, 216 Centre Ave E, Altona, MB R0G 0

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Funeral Service

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Altona Sommerfeld Mennonite Church

62 10 Ave NE, Altona, MB R0G 0B1

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