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Klassen, George John


Posted By: Gayle P. Snow (email)
Date: 4/6/2023 at 16:52:26

George John Klaassen, 99, of Clear Lake, died Saturday, Dec. 24, 1994, at the Muse-Norris Hospice In-Patient Unit in Mason City, Iowa.

Funeral services will be held today (Wednesday), Dec. 28, at 11 a.m. at the First Congregational Church in Clear Lake. The Rev. Charles Williams will officiate. Burial will be [at the] the Oakland Cemetery, Forest City, Iowa.

He was a self-taught musician, teaching himself to play and repair the violin. He and his brother also enjoyed playing in a band for barn dances. He would entertain on the guitar and harmonica and even sparred with boxing great Jack Dempsey. He also was an avid baseball player in his youth.

George moved back to Thompson and was engaged in farming when he married Edna Juel. The couple moved to the Clear Lake and Garner area and farmed.

The family suggests memorials to the George J. Klaassen Memorial Fund.

George John Klaassen was born Aug. 29, 1895 near Amsterdam, Holland, the son of John Klaassen [and] Grace (nee) Goman Klaassen. At an early age he moved with his parents to Butler County, Iowa. Later the family lived in Thompson and Buffalo Center, where they were farm laborers. He attended school in Thompson, Iowa, and later was a student at an athletic school in the Chicago, Ill., area. He was a golden gloves boxing champion, a deputy sheriff and court bailiff in Cerro Gordo County and worked as a foreman for the Clear Lake Water Tower Company. The couple also ran Klaassens Cabana Resort on the south shore of Clear Lake for 12 years.

George was instrumental in helping some of his wife's cousins to come to the United States and gain citizenship.

In 1969 they founded the Rosebud Sioux Indian Mission in South Dakota and each year they journeyed there with food and hospital supplies. Their support helped to provide scholarships and educational opportunities for Indians.

For 38 years the Klaassens have been involved with the American Cancer Society. They are past Clear Lake chairmen and top fund raisers for Jail and Bail campaign for the Cancer Society, as well as the American Red Cross drives. He was a past board member of the American Cancer Society and Easter Seals.

He was installed into the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame in 1989 by Governor Terry Branstad.

During his life, George and his wife looked for opportunities to give to others. Twenty-three years ago they were founders of the Beautification Program involving flower beds and trees in Clear Lake. They have continued the program every year with the support of the Kinney-Lindstrom Foundation.

The couple founded an annual picnic for residents of Opportunity Village (formerly Handicap Village) in Clear Lake. For the past 11 years they organized and worked at the picnic.

The couple also participated in numerous bake sales to raise money for the Humane Society, the Lime Creek Nature Center and other non-profit organizations. They also volunteered for the Meals on Wheels and Easter Seals programs.

He was a member of the First Congregational Church in Clear Lake for 23 years, as well as a past deacon.

He was past president of the Clear Lake Noon Lions and was named Lion of the Decade by that organization in 1990. He was credited with having high ticket sales for the clubs annual Chicken Barbecue. He received the Lions International Presidents Award in 1979-80. He was also the recipient of the Melvin Jones Award given by Lions International.

For some 25 years, he served as a Commodore for the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, welcoming new businesses and congratulating others on business achievements. In 1984, the Klaassens were selected by the Chamber to serve as Grand Marshals for the Fourth of July parade.

The Klaassens were past recipients of the Harmony of Living Award presented by the River City Barbershop Chorus annually to deserving North Iowans.

His is survived by his wife, Edna, Clear Lake; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; one brother; six sisters; and an infant daughter.


Cerro Gordo Obituaries maintained by Lynn Diemer-Mathews.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

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