“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:17-18).
Dad was born on Sept 12, 1932, to Henry and Maria Klassen. He was raised in a loving Christian home. He grew up in Rosenhoff (Riverside) near Morris, Man. He attended school there and in his teenage to early adulthood years worked for local grain farmers. Later he gained employment at Manitoba Sugar in Winnipeg.
Taking trips to distant relatives by train or by car was an important part of the Klassen family’s life. They made trips to Melville, Sask.; Hillsboro, Kansas; and Fresno, Calif., to name a few. One winter Dad was able to work as a mechanic for his Uncle Harry Friesen in Hillsboro. Uncle Harry led Dad to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. When Dad was 19 he lived for a year near Fresno, during which time he worked for Uncle Will Friesen’s large-scale dairy farm. Uncle Will helped Dad to rededicate his life to the Lord. His commitment to faith and serving God was firm and he lived his Christianity to the fullest. He was baptized upon the confession of his faith on May 24, 1954, and was accepted into membership at the Rosenort EM Church.
In 1956 he purchased a quarter section of land in the Washow Bay area of the Interlake in the district of Howardville near Mennville, Man. He moved his parents and their home to their new farmstead. In 1957 he met and married the love of his life, Erna Brandt. On April 18, 1959, their son Harold Allen was born. Two years later on April 10, 1961, their daughter Myrna Lynn was born, making the family complete.
Dad and Mom lived on that homestead until 1984. During those years Dad had an amazingly varied life. He farmed, worked in construction and building renovation, completed education upgrading, taught grades five to eight in one classroom at the Mennville School and was also the school principal for the grades one to 10 school. He went into hog farming, and also worked for Parks Branch in Hecla Provincial Park in maintenance as a supervisor.
In 1984 Dad and Mom sold the farm and moved to Blumenort. Dad worked for Hanover School Division as maintenance and grounds keeper until his retirement.
In 2009 Mom and Dad moved to Steinbach to Fernwood Place. In 2015, because of a to stroke and dementia, Dad went into the hospital and later in 2016 to Red River Valley Lodge in Morris, Man.
On March 16, 2018, with Mom by his side, he peacefully passed on to his heavenly home. He leaves to honour in memory his wife Erna (nee Brandt), daughter Myrna Lynn, grandson Alan, daughter-in-law Margaret and her sons Rick (Alejandra), Jason (Destiny), Mathew (Mallory) and their families.
He was predeceased by grandson Gary in 1990 and son Harold in 2016.
The family wishes to thank the nurses and staff at the Lodge for their excellent care; pastors Barry Plett and Darren Plett and retired pastor Peter Reimer for visits and spiritual care; the congregations of Blumenort EMC and the Open Door in Morris; as well as family and numerous friends for prayer support and especially practical help for Mom during this time. We also appreciate the service and accommodation of Birchwood Funeral Chapel.
Until we are reunited at the pearly gates, we will miss Dad, rejoice for his victory and freedom in glory, and continue to live out the legacy and example of abundant Christian living that he has left for us.
The viewing was held on Monday, March 19 at Birchwood Funeral Chapel. The memorial service for Dietrich was held on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 2 p.m. at Birchwood Funeral Chapel, Steinbach. The burial took place at the Blumenort EMC Cemetery.
If friends desire, donations in memory of Dick (Dietrich) Klassen may be made to the Mennonite Disaster Service.