Ruth T. Klassen died Jan. 21, 2011. She was born Nov. 27, 1933 in Yarrow, B.C. to Aron and Olga Rempel. By 6, she was caring for infant sisters and helping on the raspberry farm and fruit orchard. Ruth attended Yarrow Elementary, Sharon Mennonite Collegiate, Chilliwack Senior Secondary, Mennonite Educational Institute (MEI), and MB Bible College, but was not able to complete high school and college due her mother’s heart attacks. Ruth was baptized into Yarrow MB Church Sept. 12, 1948. Despite daily migraines beginning in her mid-teens, Ruth exhibited musical talent and intelligence. By 16, she was playing piano for Yarrow MB Church’s live Sunday morning radio broadcasts, and various orchestras and choirs. During a performance at MEI in 1951, she caught Frank Klassen’s attention. They were married Oct. 31, 1953. Ruth was active in MB churches in Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg as the family moved around the Prairies. In 1974, they settled permanently in Richmond, B.C. Ruth and Frank became members and deacons of Richmond Bethel Church. In addition to being a pianist and music teacher, Ruth had an astounding memory, remembering as many as 400 birthdays, anniversaries, and occasions each year, and sending thousands of cards and gifts to family, friends, and even strangers to lift their spirits. Her favourite Bible passage was John 14. Ruth was courageous, tenacious, honest, and generous. Her body was donated to UBC for research into a cure for migraines and Lewy body dementia. Ruth is mourned by Frank; children Frank, Cynthia, Lorne, Jeff; daughters-in-law Karen, Wendy/Rose, Kate; 5 grandchildren and their 2 spouses; 1 great-granddaughter; 3 sisters.
Karla is a writer for Mennonite World Conference who lives in Winnipeg.