Alfred (Al) H.
Claassen passed from this life into the arms of his Savior Sunday, December 2,
2018 at Landis Homes in Lititz, Pennsylvania. He was born February 2,
1925 in Beatrice, Nebraska, the eldest of six children born to Aron N. and
Helen (Wiebe) Claassen.
Alfred grew up on the
family farm south east of Beatrice, Nebraska. He was a hard worker from
an early age, taking special interest in the registered polled Hereford herd
developed by his father and uncle. He traveled with Aron to show and sell
cattle in Nebraska and other states, often traveling in the train box cars used
to ship the cattle. Alfred was a member of both 4-H and FFA achieving
State Farmer status in the latter. He attended Stall Country School
before spending a year at a local German school. A good student, he
graduated from Beatrice High School and received a Union Pacific
Scholarship. He chose to remain on the farm where he was needed.
On August 2, 1950
Alfred married Valois Penner at Beatrice Mennonite Church. They lived briefly
on the family farm, where daughter Sharon was born, and then at Plymouth,
Nebraska. They moved to a ranch near Fairbury, Nebraska where daughter
Carol and son David were born. Early in their marriage, they volunteered
on a building project on the Hopi School at Oraibe, Arizona, sparking a
life-long love of active service.
In 1970, the family
moved to the Imperial, Nebraska area where Alfred worked for many years with
German Land and Cattle Company. He became involved in CROP walks (his
40th and final walk was in 2013). After 28 years of marriage, Valois died
in a tragic truck accident.
In 1988, after his
retirement, Alfred moved to Akron, Pennsylvania for a short term volunteer
service assignment with Mennonite Central Committee. He met Gladys Moyer,
a fellow volunteer, and they were married on August 12,1989 at Zion Mennonite
Church in Souderton, Pennsylvania. They lived in Akron following many
avenues of volunteering and service. They also enjoyed traveling to visit
family and friends and were active members of Akron Mennonite Church.
Alfred and Gladys moved to Landis Homes in Lititz, Pennsylvania in 2014.
Gladys preceded Alfred in death in 2016. Alfred's faith was strong and
sure; evident to those who knew him. He was gentle, compassionate, and
He is survived by
brothers Howard (Faye) Claassen of Albany, Oregon and Richard (Mary) Claassen
of Grand Island Nebraska; sisters Lois (Paul) Unruh of North Newton, Kansas and
Geraldine Major of Moundridge, Kansas; daughters Sharon (Bob Still) Claassen of
Steilacoom, Washington, Carol (Vern) Friesen of Wallace, Nebraska, and Janelle
(David) Moyer Zigon of Vandling, Pennsylvania; son David ((Sharon Starr)
Claassen of Great Stukeley, UK; grandchildren Josh (Krystle) Friesen and
daughters Lydia, Miriam, Albany and Estella; Megan (Ignacio Elias) Friesen;
Katie (Wiley) Sowle and son Elijah; Amber Still; Jeremy Starr, Sarah (Bradly)
Starr-Douglas and son Gabe; Andrea Starr (Greg Pettiway) and sons Logan and
Theo, and Jarrett (Sylvia Tidey) Zigon.
Alfred was preceded in
death by wives Valois and Gladys, sister Helen Irene Hamm and brother-in-laws
Bill Hamm and Fred Major. A Celebration of Life was held December 9 at
Akron Mennonite Church with Rachel Nolt Officiating.
Donations in lieu of
flowers can be made to Mennonite Central Committee, P.O. Box 500 Akron, PA
17501 https://donate.mcc.org or Mennonite Economic Development
Association, 1891 Santa Barbara Dr., Suite 201, Lancaster, PA 17601 https://www.med.org.