Richard Paul Klassen
Richard (Dick) Paul Klassen was the first child of Arnold and Hilda (Zimmerman) Klassen. Born July 23, 1931 in Mountain Lake, Minnesota, Dick’s childhood was spent there with his parents and brother, Jim. He spoke fondly of his many boyhood adventures … think, shoe caught in track and oncoming train; second floor window, water balloons and unsuspecting trick-or-treaters; sports, sports and more sports.
Dick’s lifelong love of athletics began on the fields and courts around town. He learned woodworking from his father and uncles. He once played baseball for an entire season with one arm, after nearly slicing off three fingers in his uncles’ clothespin factory. He graduated from Mountain Lake High School in 1949.
While studying Physical Education, Health and Math at Mankato State College, he met his future wife, Gloria, for the second time—the first time during childhood, when Dick, 10, gave area children including Gloria, 7, rides on his homemade go-kart. They joked about this as being their first date. Dick and Gloria wed in 1954. Married for more than 63 years, they raised five daughters: Jane, Becky, Ellen, Amy and Susan.
After graduating from college, Dick went on to impact countless young lives. His career began as a teacher and coach in Westbrook, MN and continued in Roseville, MN where he taught and coached. Masters and Specialist Degrees redirected Dick’s focus from teaching to school administration. He served as Assistant Principal at Ramsey High School in Roseville until retiring in 1991.
A lifelong learner, Dick valued education and watched with pride as his daughters graduated from college and began their careers and families. He delighted in watching his eight grandchildren follow in their parents’ footsteps.
Learning continued into retirement when Dick and Gloria took many Elderhostel trips exploring various cultures and history. They enjoyed theater and symphony performances. Dick funded these pursuits via his two “retirement” jobs; an EKG technician and shuttling rental cars in the metro area.
For 50+ years Dick shared his faith through service at Cross Lutheran Church where he and his family worshipped, and he served on many boards and committees.
Dick’s love of nature led the family to spend summers camping and exploring the US. He enjoyed Boundary Waters canoe trips with friends and family. In 1992 Dick and Gloria funded what has become a beloved family tradition; spending a week each summer at a lake resort with their expanding family. In recent years, Dick relished visits from his first great grandchild and delighted in watching his antics on Facebook.
On October 3, 2018, after a long struggle with Parkinson’s, Dick joined his Lord and Savior. With his family by his side, he was reunited in Heaven with his beloved wife. He will be deeply missed.