Klassen, C. A. (Neil) passed away peacefully in Vancouver General Hospital on March 22, 2007 at the age of 77. Neil was born in Drake, Saskatchewan, and moved to Yarrow, BC in 1942 where he graduated from high school. On December 31, 1946, he records that “a relationship with Jesus was established – the beginning of a lifestyle change.” He completed several years at Coaldale Bible School, and while there, in 1950, was diagnosed with diabetes, a disease that shadowed and formed many of his life decisions. He took his teacher training at BC Normal School and taught for two years in Richmond, BC. He married Laura Baerg in July 1953.
In 1954, Neil and Laura moved to Fort Fraser to teach. One year later Neil was transferred to Nechako Valley Secondary School in Vanderhoof to set up and teach the Industrial Arts program. This meant many summer schools to get his teaching certification. In 1966, Neil was appointed principal of NVSS, and from 1968 – 1987 he served as coordinator of vocational services, a job he called “fascinating”.
Throughout the years, Neil has “made his life count for God” working with the Gideons, Christian Service Brigade, Echo Lake Bible Camp, the Gospel Chapel and Nechako Community Church. He combined his love of music, of Vanderhoof, and of Jesus by starting the Community Carol Sing, a Christmas blessing to all who participated and attended.
Retirement meant building a new home in Vanderhoof. It also meant providing retraining for Bond Brothers personnel, working with the Nechako View Seniors’ Society, using his workshop to create beautiful wood products for friends and family, leading Alpha Bible studies, and continuing to serve his community.
He leaves a huge hole in the lives of his wife, Laura; his children: Kay (Lawrence), Evelyn, Marvin (Rozella); his grandchildren: Jennifer (Chris), Brett, Denika, Trystan, Marcus, Kiersten; his three sisters, two brothers and their families; and all who have known him in various capacities in his long and productive life.
A funeral service was held in Abbotsford on March 30, 2007 followed by interment at Yarrow Cemetary; a memorial service was held on April 9 at Nechako Community Church, Vanderhoof.
Special thanks to doctors & staff at VGH Cardiac Care Unit for their care during Neil’s final four days. Gifts in memory of Neil can be made to Gideons International or Canadian Diabetes Association.