John Klassen was born on his family’s farm in Plum Coulee, Manitoba on September 18, 1934. He died at home on November 1, 2021, surrounded by family and the farmland of Prince Edward County. The ninth of twelve children born to Katharina and David J. Klassen, John enjoyed speaking his mother tongue of Low German. He graduated as a geological engineer from the University of Manitoba, working summers as a surveyor and later n the mines of northern Manitoba. Witnessing mining’s destruction, he changed course and moved to Toronto to work as a high school math teacher for over three decades, helping students to put on their math glasses and see the magic of numbers. He was also a negotiator for the teachers’ union, OSSTF.
He was a loving father to Jonathon, Joel, and Pamela, his children from his first marriage. He taught them to split wood, ride horses, and march for peace. Camping north of Lake Superior en route to family in Manitoba was a favourite adventure. He married the love of his life, Vicki Sharp, in 1991 in their Lake Muskoka home. He and Vicki opened a gallery, built a home in Mexico, and travelled widely. Above all, John was a giver and a helper; the first to step up when needed.
John was the proud Opa of seven grandchildren: Magdalene, Isabel, and Georgia Klassen-Marshall; Rowan and Louisa Klassen; and Lila and Oscar Klassen. In addition to his wife, children, and grandchildren, he is survived by six siblings; Ella Neufeld (late Jake), Rosalinda Wiebe (late Elmer), Jake Klassen (Mary), Hildegarde Peters (Henry), Mathilda Cassidy (late Tom), and Menno Klassen (Mary); his children’s partners, John (Pamela), Haven (Joel), and Gozel (Jonathon); and many sisters- and brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, his sister Henrietta and brother William (both in childhood), sister Dora (late John), and brothers David and Edward (late Mildred).
The family is grateful for the compassionate care John received from the Prince Edward Family Health Team. Donations may be made in his memory to the relief fund of the Mennonite Central Committee at https://donate.mcccanada.ca/cause/relief. Cremation has taken place and the family is grieving privately at this time. A celebration of John’s life will take place in spring 2022.