Archive | 1955


Alvin Claassen, ’55

Posted on 03 February 2017 by editor

587412753500dAlvin Merle Claassen, age 79, entered heaven on Jan. 8, 2017, in Whitewater, Kans..  He was born on December 3, 1937, to Henry and Elsie (Claassen) Claassen of rural Whitewater.  His grade school years were spent in the one-room Claypool School House 3/4 of a mile from his home.  His high school years were completed at Berean Academy and he attended Grace Bible Institute for one semester.  He accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior as a youth, was baptized and became a member of the Emmaus Mennonite Church, where he remained a faithful member until his death. 

In the spring of 1956, Alvin began a two-year 1W program, an alternative to military service, at the KU Medical Center pathology laboratory in Kansas City.  It was during this time that he met Elaine Bechtel, a student at Bethel Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing, who was also in Kansas City, studying for three months at Children’s Mercy Hospital.  At the end of these two years, he turned down a permanent job offer to work in the pathology lab. He chose to return home to farm with his Dad.

On April 10, 1960, Alvin and Elaine were married in the Deer Creek Mennonite Church in Deer Creek, Okla. They established their home in rural Whitewater, where he farmed with his father, Henry and then his son, Gary.  He was happiest when working and was not even considering retirement, when in October of 2014, he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.

In addition to farming, Alvin served the church and community in many capacities.  He served several terms on the church relief committee, which included a number of years as chairman of the Newton Area Meat Canning Project, a relief program to provide food for needs around the world.  He was also an insurance secretary for 15 years with Mennonite Property Aid Association, served several terms on the Board of Directors for Wheat State Manor ,and was on the Board of Trustees for the Benton Volunteer Fire Department District 7 for 38 years.

He also enjoyed 39 years of working for Murdock Township.  This involved maintaining 52 miles of gravel and dirt roads with regular grading, hauling rock and pushing snow, a job that sometimes meant working all night so everyone else could get out in the morning.  At the same time, he was elected to the Township Board for 32 years.

All these accomplishments meant far less to him than his nearly 57 years of marriage to Elaine and the family they raised.  Four children were born to this union of Alvin and Elaine: Michael, Denise, Gary and Warren.

His health began to deteriorate in late 2016, when the weekly chemotherapy treatments could no longer control the spread of the cancer.  He passed from this world with family at his side and entered the Kingdom of God. 

Alvin is survived by his wife Elaine; son Michael and wife Stahli of Newton, Kans.; daughter Denise Olson and husband Paul of Chariton, Iowa; son Gary and wife Carrie of Whitewater; and son Warren and wife Kelly of Wichita. Twelve grandchildren: Emma, Alice and Payne Claassen; Katherine (Bob) Snider of Overland Park, Kans.; Bethany (Joseph) Cherri of Joplin, Mo.; Sarah (Andrew) Alton of Mexico, Mo.; Caleb Olson and fiancée Sarah Hammock of Mexico, Mo; Morgan, Jacob and Evan Claassen; Keegan and Kaden Claassen; two great-grandchildren, Hayden Snider and William Cherri; one brother-in-law, Norman Ratzlaff and one sister-in-law, Sue Bechtel.

He was preceded in death by his parents Henry and Elsie, his sister Wynona and her husband Walter Entz, one brother-in-law Howard Bechtel, one sister-in-law Wanda Ratzlaff and one niece Eileen Doran.

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Glendon J. Klaassen, ’55

Posted on 10 August 2015 by editor

jklaassen55Glendon J. Klaasen was born March 30, 1933, in Mountain Lake, Minn., to Jacob A. and Sarah Unruh Klaassen. Sarah passed away at an early age and Glen’s father remarried Mary Goossen when he was 4.

He grew up on a farm in Mountain Lake and accepted Christ at an early age. He first attended and graduated from Grace Bible Institute in Omaha, Nebraska, where he met the love of his life, Reitha Kaufman. They were married July 15, 1955, in Newton, Kansas.

He continued his education at the University of Omaha in social work; graduated from Goshen College with a degree in secondary education in 1958; and obtained a Master of Divinity degree from Mennonite Biblical Seminary in 1974.

He was ordained as a minister July 19, 1959. He and Reitha confirmed a call to become mission workers in Colombia, South America, with the Board of Missions of the General Conference Mennonite Church of Newton, Kansas. On Aug. 28, 1959, they left the U.S. to embark on 18 years of mission work in Colombia. They aided in ministries to children, teaching at Bible schools, setting up churches, teaching and leading people to know Christ and understand the joy of salvation.

They returned to Newton in 1977. Glen accepted the call to pastor Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church in Inman, Kansas, in 1979. In 1981, he accepted a call from the Commission on Overseas Mission to become the secretary of Latin America and later executive secretary, in Newton,  where he retired in 1998.

Glen and Reitha recently celebrated 60 years of marriage! He enjoyed family, traveling, music, tennis and various collections, including stamps and foreign currency from all of his travels.

In 2011, Glen was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). He fought a the disease courageously for 4 years and died at his home in The Villages, Florida.

He is survived by his wife, Reitha; four children, Mark and Susan (Yoder) Klaassen of Indiana, Steve and Evie (Wood) Klaassen of Florida, James and Catherine (Scott) Klaassen of New Jersey, and Steve and Marcella (Klaassen) Andres of Kansas; 11 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. He is also survived by an older sister, Ethel and Ernie Neufeld of California; a brother, Marvin and Peggy Klaassen of Pennsylvania; and a younger sister, Jeanette and Paul Kroeker of Nebraska.

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Ruby Ruth Fast, ’55

Posted on 29 April 2015 by editor

ruby_fastRuby Fast was born Ruby Ruth Warkentin on March 29, 1922, in the plains of western Kansas.

At home with her parents Henry and Sarah and three siblings, she grew up speaking Plautdietsch (Low German), the language of her forebears who came from the Molotschna colony in Ukraine. English was her second language, acquired in a one-room country school.

On the farm, hardships were plenty. She endured the massive dust storms of the 1930s that could turn day as dark as night. She witnessed total ruin of her dad’s ripe wheat fields by violent hail, and she experienced a close encounter with a tornado. In winter, she layered up blankets in the cold of a drafty upstairs bedroom where a little powder snow could even drift onto the covers. Chores included wandering far out over unfenced pasture land to find and bring in the cattle.

After completing high school in the town of Meade, she enrolled at Tabor College where she earned credentials as a school teacher.

From 1945 to 1949, back in Meade County, she taught in a few different schools, again with all the grades in a single room. Teaching Vacation Bible School in the Ozarks and then further studies at the Rio Grande Bible Institute, including Spanish, led to her teaching Vacation Bible School in Monclova, Mexico.

While teaching in Mexico, a German student from Grace Bible Institute in Omaha, Nebraska, came through town on a road trip to see the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators farther south. Her acquaintance with Gerhard Fast was meant to be, and a match for life was made. Ruby now took on the challenge of learning High German.

With a mutual vision to be a couple in missionary work, Ruby went off to California to study at the Biola School of Missionary Medicine, where she earned nursing credentials.

In 1956 Gerhard and Ruby were married. After studies at Norman Summer Institute of Linguistics and survival training at Jungle Camp, they crossed the Atlantic by ship to Germany to meet the in-laws.

In 1958 Gerhard and Ruby arrived in Peru to begin a rich, 38-year chapter of their lives. There they learned the Achuar language, into which they translated the New Testament and many portions of the Old.

Ruby spent the strength of her years backing up Gerhard in the long, meticulous process of Bible translation. She typed and re-typed text on a mechanical typewriter in the day before computer editing. She composed primers for the newly created Achuar schools, literally cutting with scissors and pasting with glue the layout that would go to the printers.

For years, she was the only recourse on the river for medical help. She treated the ever-present intestinal parasites. There was a gunshot wound that led to tetanus and a rare survival. She treated pemphigus, snake bite, sting ray wound, leishmaniasis, tuberculosis and other maladies. She boiled her needles and glass syringes and occasionally re-sharpened the tip of a needle on a rock.

Ruby and Gerhard prayed for the sick and commended them to God. Still, many patients returned later to trusted witch doctors. More was at stake than just the physical body. In the end, many were healed, and many were healed in body and soul. The Achuar Church today can testify to those years when the good seed was planted in their hearts.

Through good times and bad, Ruby lovingly raised her three children, Pablo, Danny and Monika. When appropriate, she applied discipline, but she also wisely allowed ample freedom. Her gift of hospitality and her wonderful cooking leave great memories and inspire emulation.

In 1996 Ruby and Gerhard left Peru and moved to Waxhaw, North Carolina, where they spent eight years on Radin Road in walking distance from the JAARS center.

From there, they moved four miles to live with their daughter Monika and her family. After Gerhard passed away in 2007 Ruby remained in the loving care of her daughter and son Danny, until God took her Home to be with Him where for so many years she had longed to go.

Ruby is lovingly remembered by her son Pablo with his wife Colleen and daughter Natasha; her son Danny; her daughter Monika with her husband Daniel and daughters Katja, Juliana, and Annelie; her sister Viola Friesen with her husband, Jake Z. Friesen; and her brother Albert Warkentin.

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Ken Flaming

Kenneth Flaming, ’55

Posted on 10 July 2014 by vunruh

Kenneth Ray Flaming, 77, of rural Vinita, OK passed away at his home on Tuesday, July 8, 2014.

Kenneth was born May 11, 1937 in Goessel, KS, to Jacob B. and Adina Sylvia (Unrau) Flaming.

Kenneth was a dairy farmer and a bus driver. He also owned a bicycle shop. He loved the Kansas Jayhawks and attending southern gospel singings.  He was a member of the First Baptist Church, Vinita.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret Anne (Thiessen) Flaming, his mother and father and one brother, Kermit Flaming.

Survivors include: one son, Ray Flaming (Mesheila) of Vinita; three daughters, Jo Ann Davis (Jay) of Muskogee, OK, Norma Holly (Ellis) of Collinsville, OK, and Christine Weller (Scott) of Glenpool, OK; two sisters, Arlene Friesen of Ralston NE, and Janice Lang of Rockford, IL; two brothers, Jim Flaming of Kingwood, TX and Darrel Flaming of Spooner, WI; 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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Marjorie (Busenitz) Wiens, ’55

Posted on 08 July 2014 by vunruh

Surrounded by her family, Marge Wiens went to be with her Lord on June 30th, 2014 after 77 years serving her Savior. She passed away from complications following a heart attack in the Dodge City Hospital.

Marjorie (Busenitz) Wiens was born May 3, 1937 to Herman and Martha (Voth) Busenitz, a farming family living near Whitewater, Kansas. In college, she met and married Rolland Wiens of Meade, KS in 1959. After she had taught for two years in Central Kansas, Rolly and Marge made their home on the farm in Meade, KS.

It was there that Rolly and Marge built a family and a home for their three children; Michelle and Lloyd Reimer of Protection, KS; Jerome and Anita Wiens of Meade, KS and Jennifer and Kyle Bond of Crete, NE.  Her sister is Irene Unruh, (Charles) of Muskogee, IL and her two brothers are Richard Busenitz (Carol) of Whitewater, KS and Cal Busenitz (Jodie) of Benton, KS.

Marge was very involved in her church, Countryside Bible Church. She was a VBS director, Sunday School teacher, Bible teacher for Awana, and served on Ladies Ministry. It was very important to her to serve her Lord and Savior. She was also involved in the community as a 4-H Leader, Blood Mobile Chairman and part of the Live ‘n Learn Unit. She spent one day a week volunteering at the Etcetera shop in Liberal, KS.

The hope of her family is knowing that she is in heaven, praising Jesus with the Saints who have gone before and they will get to see her again someday.

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1955, Walter B. Entz

Posted on 07 March 2012 by Mel Friesen

1955, Walter B. Entz, 80, passed away on March 4, 2012, at Newton Medical Center.
He was born at Newton, on December 26, 1931, the son of Bernhard and Frieda (Wiebe) Entz. On August 11, 1956, he was united marriage to Wynona I. Claassen at Emmaus Mennonite Church. A lifelong member of the Whitewater area, he was a farmer and stockman.
He was preceded in death by siblings: Kenneth Entz and Mary Entz.
He is lovingly survived by his wife Wynona of the home; his children: Sharon Block (Roger) of Benton; Stan Entz of Whitewater; Byron Entz (Sharon) of Parker, CO; Gerald Entz of Omaha, NE; Annette Entz of Whitewater; Lloyd Entz (Virginia) of North Platte, NE; and Eileen Doran (Peter) of Pensacola, FL; his siblings: Paul Entz (Barbara) of Omaha, NE; Ruth Goering (Verne) of Moundridge; and Eleanor Myers (Clarence) of Newton; his mother-in-law Elsie Claassen of Whitewater; and 14 grandchildren.
Visitation with family will be held 6 – 8 p.m. Wednesday, at Lamb Funeral Home, Whitewater. Funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 8, 2012, at Emmaus Mennonite Church, Whitewater. Interment will precede the service at 9:30 a.m. at Emmaus Mennonite Cemetery.
Memorial funds have been established for SAT 7 or CRU (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) in care of Lamb Funeral Home, 120 S Main, Whitewater, KS, 67154.

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1955, Alvin Heinrich Giesbrecht

Posted on 19 January 2012 by Mel Friesen

1955,  Alvin Giesbrecht died on January 17, 2012, at age 87, in Salem, Oregon. He was preceded in death by Irene, his wife for 59 years, who passed away 3 months and 6 days earlier. Dad is lonely no more, and will never be again.

Alvin was born on March 13, 1924, in Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada, to John and Katherine (Reimer) Giesbrecht, the 5th of 6 children. During the winters, he was sent to boarding school in Steinbach; summers were spent working on the family farm. After high school in Steinbach, he spent some of the war years working in a lumber camp and later worked for his brother Walter in his veterinary clinic in Winnipeg. He then moved to Omaha, Nebraska, to attend Grace Bible Institute, where he met Irene Ewert, the eldest daughter of the school business manager. They were married in 1952 and had four children over the next 8 years: Darrel, Hugh, Rae, and Murray. After obtaining his degree in education from Omaha University, he was a teacher or administrator at five different high schools in Kansas, Montana, South Dakota, and Oregon, before moving to Salem, Oregon in 1971 and finishing his career in education at Corbett High School, Corbett, Oregon. In retirement, Alvin stayed active in the leadership of his church, traveled extensively for missions, and was very involved with the Gideons. He enjoyed traveling; he enjoyed his many friends and relatives more. Following the recent death of his beloved wife Irene, his health declined, and he passed away quietly at home.

Alvin is survived by one sister, Marlene Guenther of Steinbach, MB); four children Darrel (Marcy) Giesbrecht of Omaha, NE; Hugh (Beth) Giesbrecht of Tecumseh NE; Rae (Bill) Knopp of Canby OR; Murray (Sue) Giesbrecht of Salem, OR; 12 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

A Memorial Service will be held at 10:00 AM, Saturday, January 21st at Emmanuel Bible Church, 8512 Sunnyview Rd NE, Salem. The family requests that donations be made to the Gideons in lieu of flowers. Arrangments by Howell-Edwards-Doerksen Funeral Directors.

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1955 Rosie Dorothy Decker Walter

Posted on 06 July 2011 by admin

1955 Rosie Dorothy Decker Walter, 86, of Roseburg, Ore., died Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011.

Rosie Dorothy Decker Walter was born March 17, 1924, at Carpenter, S.D., to David and Anna Decker. On March 28, 1945, she was united in marriage to Johnnie Walter at Bethel Mennonite Church in Yale, S.D. Three months after their marriage, Johnnie was drafted into the U.S. Marines. Rosie followed him while he was stationed in Bremerton, Wash., and later to California.

When he was discharged from the Marines, they began farming near their parents in South Dakota. In the spring of 1954, Rosie began teaching in a one room school near their home while Johnnie moved to Omaha, Neb., to attend Grace Bible Institute. Rosie and their two oldest children, Julia and Harvey, moved in with her parents until the end of her school term. In August 1954 the family was reunited in Omaha.

Just weeks after the move, the home they had been living in with her parents burned to the ground during the night. Rosie’s parents and her youngest brother, Arlan, died in the fire. Instead of growing bitter with the tragedies of her life, Rosie chose to trust God and live for others.

Shortly before Johnnie graduated from college, they had a third son, Jerroll. After graduation the young family moved to Arena, N.D., where Johnnie pastored Zion Mennonite Church. In 1964 they moved to Herreid, S.D., and pastored the Evangelical United Brethren churches in Herreid and Artas. Rosie pulled out her secretarial skills again and worked as an administrative assistant at the hospital in Herreid.

In December 1967 they moved to Stanton, Neb., to pastor the Stanton Evangelical Free Church. Rosie heard about that denomination’s youth quizzing program and formed a Bible Quiz Team. That summer, with only seven members, Rosie’s team took second place at the National Bible Quiz in Chicago, competing against churches with several thousand members. Rosie kept working and the next year in New Jersey her team took first place and the next year they got second. This accomplishment was one of Rosie’s favorite. She worked as the medicine aide at the Stanton Nursing Home for 19 years. They moved in Milford, Neb., which was home for 22 years. Three years ago they moved to Roseburg to live near their daughter. Rosie was a fantastic mom, daughter, sister and grandmother.

She was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers, Arlan and Delbert; all her uncles and aunts except for her beloved Aunt Suzanne. She is survived by her husband of 65 years, Johnnie; a daughter, Julia (David) Ewert of Roseburg; two sons, Harvey of Roseburg and Jerroll (Karen) of Liberal, Kan.; five grandchildren, Jennifer (Dirk), Michelle, Ian, Justin (Amber) and Kristen; three great-grandchildren, Jashton, Tobiah and Corban and one to be born this month; a brother, Waldo Decker of Huron, S.D.; and an aunt, Suzanne Tschetter of Huron.

Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m. March 19, 2011, at Mount Olivet Church in Huron. Interment will be in Hutterthal Cemetery at Carpenter.

Memorials may be sent to New Hope Church or Nehalem Renewal Ministries.


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1955 Raymond Frank Hanson

Posted on 06 July 2011 by admin

1955 Raymond Frank Hanson, 80, a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather went to be with his Lord and Savior on February 1, 2011 in VanAlstyne, Texas.

Raymond was born to Paul J. and Thelma (Duvall) Hanson on July 26, 1930 in Gregory SD. He married Daisy Evelyn Crocker on March 24, 1956 in Denton, TX. After her death, Raymond married Nettie Juanita Lay on September 10, 1977 in Van Alstyne, TX.

He was preceded in death by his parents and nine of his siblings, his wife Daisy, his wife Nettie, and his son John Hanson.

Raymond is survived by his daughters, Ramona Camp & husband Harrell, and Judy Moon Hanson; three sons, Theadore Hanson, Timothy Hanson, and Thom Hanson; seven grandchildren, Matthew Camp, Jennifer Camp, Manuel Hanson, Robert Hanson & wife Jansen, Shalla  Hanson, Jonathon Hanson, and Timothy Hanson; seven great-grandchildren, Ryan, John, Brandon, Erin, Lyrik, Mattix, and Cylas Hanson; brothers, Charles Hanson & wife Rosalie, Roger Hanson & wife Joann, Edgar Hanson &

wife Jenna; sister, Alice Senter; sisters-in-law, Carolyn Hanson, Vandelyn Hanson, Effie Hickey & husband

Bobby, Edith Chapman; brothers-in-law, Eddie Crocker & wife Treva, and Joe Crocker; numerous nieces & nephews; and many extended families to include Mary Louise Lay, Gwen Denton & husband Paul.

Funeral services will be held at the Greywood Heights Church of God in Van Alstyne, TX on Saturday February 5, 2011, at 2pm. Pastors Chris Moody, Andrew Ratcliff, and Bobby Hash will be officiating the services. Interment will be at the Van Alstyne Cemetery. Pallbearers are Robert Hanson, Matthew Camp, Jonathan Hanson, Timothy Hanson, Manuel Hanson, Nathan Mattix, Everett Halpain, and Donny King.


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