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Born: May 20, 1930

Date of Passing: Dec 22, 2022

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On December 22, 2022 Elsie Agathe Klassen (nee Martens) died at the age of 92, peacefully, gracefully, at home. She got her wish and went to join her husband and "Schaffie", John.
Elsie was predeceased by her parents, John and Agatha Martens (nee Dyck), her husband John, her brother John (Violet) and her sister Freda Falk (Ed). She is survived by her children, Richard (Charlene), Marla, and Bruce (Karen), nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on May 20, 1930, Elsie spent her childhood in Springstein, Manitoba where she attended the one room Springstein School. Her family moved to Winnipeg where she went to Robert H. Smith and Kelvin High Schools. Elsie was the first in her family to earn a university degree. Evidently enjoying the experience, she would end up with three in education, home economics, and psychology. She continued to organize reunions with her University of Manitoba classmates for over 60 years.
Whether Board Chair at Concordia Hospital, President of Ladies' Guild at St. Johns Ravenscourt School, through her Church, or many other causes, Elsie freely gave her time and talent to her community.
Elsie was a traveller, starting at age five when she and her parents drove to California. She first toured Europe as a young adult and then with her husband John much of the middle east, Africa, India, Russia, South and Central America, the Caribbean, and almost all of Canada and the US. Stories of forbidden photography in Damascus, detention in Cartagena, and artifacts from the Parthenon in Athens and Golgotha hill near Jerusalem hint at the adventures the couple experienced. Her expired passports were impressive.
Elsie loved to entertain. From the Gunclub Island moms and their children on the dock at their beloved camp on Lake of the Woods to university presidents at their elegant Tuxedo home, she made sure everyone was welcomed and (very) well fed and watered.
And the island was her favourite place. She and John explored that lake for more than fifty years. They made friends, hosted dinners, celebrated weddings, and having travelled the world, concluded that the best was right there. Martinis may have been involved.
Her family thanks the staff at Brightwater Senior living for making her recent months and days peaceful and comfortable. Mom did not want to spend her last days in hospital. Between Brightwater and her family, she got her final wish.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Cystic Fibrosis Canada or a charity of your choice.
Memorial Service to be held at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, January 13 at First Mennonite Church, 922 Notre Dame Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Condolences may be left at


As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Jan 07, 2023

Condolences & Memories (5 entries)

  • My condolences to you and your family Marla. God Bless. From what I know from the obituary I can see how you became such a strong woman. It doesn't matter how early or later we pass...loosing a loved one is always a train wreck!!! - Posted by: dale olnick (friend) on: Jan 08, 2023

  • We are so sorry to hear about your mum passing away. I have fond memories of your mum, her warm smile and sparkle in her eyes. I will always remember hearing your mum singing their arrival as she and your dad made their way through the woods over to our family cottage for drinks and then all the laughing that followed. The great times our families had at the lake are priceless and the wonderful memories of your mum and dad will be with us always. Diane and David - Posted by: Diane (Lake friend) on: Jan 07, 2023

  • I wish to express my condolences on the passing of your mother. My father was the teacher at Springstein at the time she and I were born the same year. We spent the first 8 years of our lives as best friends. I also had the privilege of passing on the gavel to her after I moved from the Concordia Board to WRHA Blessings Neil Fast - Posted by: Neil (Cornie) Fast (Neighbor and friend) on: Jan 07, 2023

  • To Marla, Richard and Bruce, we were so sorry to hear of your Mum’s passing. Elsie was a lovely, gracious lady, very kind with a great sense of humour. Both Mick and I and our children have very fond memories of our days on the island, with boat trips down the lake, and coffee on the deck. Your Mum and Dad were wonderful hosts, and there was always a cold bottle of bubbly in the fridge. Your Mum and Dad were part of some of the best days of our lives, and they both will be greatly missed. Our hearts are with you, Lou and Mick - Posted by: Louise & Mickey Kondakow (Friends and neighbours on Gunclub) on: Jan 07, 2023

  • To Richard, Marla and Bruce I offer my condolences on the loss of your mom. I remember when I used to babysit you kids when you were tiny tots. Joan Porteous, former next door neighbour on Palliser Avenue. - Posted by: Joan Porteous (Former next door neighbour on Palliser Avenue in Silver Heights.) on: Jan 07, 2023

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