OBITUARY: Verna Heibert Classen

Verna Heibert Classen was born on July 28, 1932, in Meade, Kansas. She was the youngest child of Ben and Lizzie Heibert; her brothers were Ernest and Marvin.

Verna’s early childhood was spent on the farm, where her father raised crops. She went to a small country school, where she learned English because she only knew low-German. Verna accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior when she was 10.

Eventually, they moved to the McPherson area, where Verna finished grade school and junior high. For high school, Verna attended Meade Bible Academy, and those years were remembered with fond memories.  She graduated in 1951.

Verna met Wilmer Classen, her future husband, while attending Meade Bible Academy. Verna later moved back with her parents. They wrote letters and had occasional telephone calls. Verna remembers well that for their first date, they went to Hutchinson for the Fair, and they rode on the Old Mill ride. Little did Verna realize that she would be attending the Fair in Hutchinson for decades after that first date.

Wilmer and Verna were engaged at Christmas time in 1953 and were married the following March of 1954. They moved for the first years of their marriage while Wilmer finished his 1 W service. These were hard years for Verna because she had never been that far away from family and friends, but they made lasting friendships during those years.

After 1 W service, Verna and Wilmer moved to the Kansas City area for Wilmer to attend nursing and anesthesia school. Verna supported Wilmer through school by cleaning area businesses and working at Russell Stover’s on the factory line, putting the specific swirls on the chocolate to identify the centers.

Wilmer graduated from nursing school, and they moved to Newton, Kansas, where they spent the rest of their years. Wilmer and Verna had five children, a set of twins, Carl and Carol, who went to heaven shortly after they were prematurely born, Sharon (Matt) Schroder of Littleton, Colorado, Diane (George) Wingert of Kansas City, Kansas and Michael (Karen) Classen of Lebo, Kansas.

Verna was a wonderful, caring and compassionate mother and grandmother. She was very generous and giving in everything that she did. Verna was a talented baker and seamstress and enjoyed needlework. Many of you were recipients of her talented work, either with her cookies or peppernut baking or her zwieback and verenika. Verna also did incredible embroidery work and enjoyed making tea towels and quilts.

Verna leaves behind her five grandchildren, Jackson Wingert, Claire Wingert Dudley, Sarah and Josh Schroeder, and Grant Harrison, and many cherished friends and extended family members.

Funeral service was at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, at Koerner Heights Church, with Pastor Dave Froese presiding. Visitation was at the church from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday. Burial was 10 a.m. Saturday at Greenwood Cemetery in Newton, Kansas.

Memorials may be made to the Koerner Heights Kitchen Remodel Fund and left with Petersen Funeral Home.


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