We Remember


“John” Hans Klassen passed from life to more on Sunday, October 25, 2020, at the age of 84.  He had suffered from the deteriorating effects of Dementia over the past few years, which had accelerated over the past few weeks.

John Klassen was born on March 21, 1936, in a Mennonite colony located at Gruenfeld, Russia. His father Julius, was taken by force to fight in WW II when John was 2 years old, and he never saw his Father again. John and his family fled Russia, immigrated to Canada in 1950 and settled in Winnipeg, MB.  He married the love of his life, Elvera Neufeld, in 1964.  After their sons were born in 1965 and 1966, they moved to Winfield, BC to try their hands in the restaurant business.  Their restaurant was called Woodlake Inn, now known as the Greek House. After a few years, they traded their restaurant lives for careers in the clothing business by opening The Jean Scene in Westbank, BC, later to be known as VJ’s.  Never one to sit still for very long and for their first 30 years in the greater Kelowna area, John drove part-time for School District #23 as Bus Driver, and then full time as City of Kelowna Transit Driver/Trainer, until his retirement in 2000.  He also volunteered as a Westbank Ambulance Driver, Firefighter and church Deacon at Lakeview Heights Baptist Church in West Kelowna.  His volunteering ways continued throughout his time at Mountainview Care Home in Lower Mission until his passing.

John is survived by his wife of 56 years, Elvera; by his sons Tim (Kay) and Tony (Eva); by his two granddaughters Olivia and Esther; by his sister, Anne Klassen (Peter); his brothers-in-law Walt (Audrey), Ed (Alberta), and George; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.  He is also predeceased by his mother and father, Maria and Julius Klassen; by his brother-in-law Jake (Marion); and by his niece Natalie.

There is no doubt that anyone who ever met John Klassen was impacted.  As was stated by his granddaughter Olivia, her Grandpa was the type of person that would light up every single room he walked into.  His infectious laugh, kindness and gregariousness, was only matched by his bear hugs and vice-grip handshakes.  He was a faithful husband, dutiful father and steadfast friend to all throughout his life. You will be missed every single day, Dad.  We love you, always.

A memorial service will be held as Covid-19 restrictions permit for a larger, in-person celebration.  In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, alzheimer.ca.

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.

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Alzheimer's Society of Canada Link: alzheimer.ca




  • Roberta Tetlock says:

    John was a longtime family friend, we will never forget our memorable camping trips, as a Youth Leader John was a faithful friend and mentor, as my Employer John was a fair and caring friend. I will cherish fond memories of a Great guy. Roberta

  • Colleen Richardson says:

    Tony, Tim and family,
    Steve and I send our deepest condolences on the loss of your father. John was my bus driver for most of elementary school up in Glenrosa and he was by far my favourite ever. Olivia is right, he brightened every room. I spent many Saturday afternoons in their shop at Westridge Mall. Treasure the memories, they will get you through.
    Steve and Colleen Richardson

  • Mac & Darlene Butler says:

    We have such fond memories of fun times with John and Vera. We shared many meals, games, and wonderful times of music and fellowship at LHBC. God bless and keep you Vera, Tim, Tony and families.

  • Kevin Olson says:

    Heart felt condolences. I will always remember and cherish our family get togethers. From camping to water skiing to snowmobiling & skating we always enjoyed our times together. I remember John trying to water ski and how he broke the rope plotting too much water instead of getting up. We went snowmobiling and lost a ski off a snowmobile. My dad took great patience in teaching John how to change oil in his car. I still have the steel ramps they bought to work in cars. John was a great prankster and love to laugh. But he was a great man of God also. An example of what a man could and should be. Thanks for being in our lives John.

  • James Lesosky says:

    My deepest condolences to Tony, Tim and the entire Klassen family. I will forever remember John from my life living and growing up in the community. From his days as my school bus driver to the many chats he shared with me over the years after. He was a great man with a heart of gold. Peace to you all.

  • Garth Donhauser says:

    My condolences to you Tony and your family. My thoughts and prayers going out your way. Garth

  • Mona Osman says:

    Dear Tony, Thinking of you and your family during this sad time. May memories of your Dad bring you comfort and strength.

  • Ruth Plenert (Kehler) says:

    My parents Henry and Tina Kehler (Henry a cousin), will be very sad when I share this news with them at my next visit this week! Moved my parents to an Abbotsford care home 3 years ago.
    Our prayers are with you. Henry and Tina Kehler, Ruth and Dave Plenert ,

  • Brad Neufeld says:

    Heartfelt condolences to Auntie Vera, Tim, Tony and families. I have great memories of Uncle Johnny, and his in-famous bone-crusher handshakes….especially when I got strong enough to give him a run for his money! Plus his great sense of humor, and ability to find new things to needle you about. He will be missed!

  • Jad Alexander says:

    My condolences to you Tony and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Jad.

  • Bob & Vera Neufeld says:

    Dear Tante Vera, Tim & Tony & families,
    Our thoughts & prayers are with you all as you mourn the loss of Uncle Johnny. I will never forget his smile or his laugh. I still remember vividly visiting you all when you lived in Arby Bay, those Sunday Faspas where so much fun with you all.
    Know that you are not alone in this journey, and that someone who is loved so deeply, someone whose faith was so deep, will never be far from you mind or hearts. Ruhe Sanft, Onkel Johnny.

  • Henry & Tina Siemens says:

    Dear Vera, Timmy & Tony & families;
    Our deepest condolences on the loss of your husband, father & grandfather. I will never forget the times with Johnny, from Russia to Germany and ultimately to Canada. Times were not easy, but the love of family, then, like now helped make the load a little lighter. You are in our prayers.

  • Fran Baum says:

    My heartfelt sympathies, Elvera. I just now read the obituary. God keep you safe and comforted. Art passed away in July.

  • Pam Reesor says:

    It is with great sadness that I heard about the passing of John Klassen. I had the pleasure of working with John at Sandalwood Retirement resort where he was the bus driver starting from 2005 until he retired. He always had such a great sense of humor and was so respectful and helpful with all the residents. I so respected the way John looked after his wife as well. You will be missed by us all.

  • Gabrielle Mendler says:

    I had known John for a couple of years when he was living at Mountainview, both when he lived in Assisted Living and when he was eventually transfered to Complex Care. He was a great guy, super funny and always kind, and always improved my day whenever we met! He liked to show how ‘strong’ he was by flexing his abdominal muscles and asking me to punch him (lightly) in the stomach, and would laugh and said ”See! Can’t even feel it!”. The staff at MVV all loved him very much, and I miss him terribly.

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