Lorena Mildred Klassen was born on April 1, 1929 at Bethesda Hospital in Goessel, KS to Gustav H. and Mary A. Buller Hiebert. She was the oldest of three, Elda R. Hiebert and Leroy V. Hiebert siblings. She lived her early years until 15 years of age on a farm outside Goessel, KS and then to a farm outside Burns, KS. In 1946, her father was killed in an auto accident. A year later her mother moved the family into Elbing, KS.
In January 1947, before leaving the farm, a handsome young man in his army dress uniform came wanting to take her on a date. This first date was to be at the First Mennonite Church in Newton for their evening service. Pete Klassen and Lorena were married in May of 1948 walking the isle together, no bridesmaids or groomsman.
In July of 1949, their first son was born and their sixth son was born 1960. They lived in a small home in Whitewater after marriage where Pete owned Klassen Grocery. In 1960 they moved into a home they built in Whitewater.
Lorena’s life was centered around her family and her church, Zion Mennonite in Elbing, KS. She followed her boys to all school activities. The Klassen’s, all eight of them, could be seen every Sunday morning in route to church. Lorena sang in a ladies’ sextet in church.
When she was in high school, she learned to play the trombone and so all six of her boys had various instruments. She also played the harmonic which was shared in Wheatstate worship services. She loved to hear her boys sing together.
After all the boys left home, she volunteered at the Wheatstate Manor in Whitewater being a part of the Wheatstate Auxiliary. For over 40 years she volunteered her time in sowing, altering and repairing clothing for residents. Lorena also loved to shop for her boys and at Christmas time for all grandchildren. She loved her daughters-in-law. She was also a talented amateur artist who sold her works locally. She specialized in oils.
When Pete retired, they traveled extensively with Prudent Tours. They developed many friends and new relationship on the bus trips. They traveled in support of their sons and their families and always supported their grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Lorena’s faith was very important to her and in 1945 she was baptized upon her profession of faith in Jesus Christ as her Savior. Her faith in God was passed down from her parents and she, along with Pete, passed it on to their children. She was proud of the fact that all her boys had established their own Christian homes and sought to continue passing along their faith in Jesus Christ to their own children. Each of the boys have stated numerous times that they were proud of the spiritual legacy passed to them and the spiritual and Godly example set by both of their parents.
After 69 years of marriage, Pete passed away in October of 2017. She lived her last days at Wheatstate Manor which had been her second home until her passing on October 19, 2019. She had spent her last morning with family at her side singing praises to God and praying for her family. She slipped away in the arms of her Savior later that afternoon.
Lorena is survived by her daughter-in-law, Carolyn of Newton and her three children and two grandchildren, sons Charles (Karen) of Augusta and their two children and four grandchildren, Rodney (SuZan) of Shawnee, KS and their three children and four grandchildren, Russell (Ran) of Wichita and their three children and four grandchildren, Warren (Debbie) of Eldorado and their two children and five grandchildren, and Roger (Pam) of Whitewater and their six children and six grandchildren. Lorena was also anticipating three more great grandchildren in coming months. She is also survived by her sister, Elda of Newton.
Lorena is preceded in death by her parents, spouse, Pete; son, Gary, and brother, Leroy.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. at Lamb Funeral Home in Whitewater. Her funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at Zion Mennonite Church, Elbing with a graveside service at 10 a.m. in the Zion Mennonite Cemetery.
Memorial contributions in Lorena’s name may be directed to Gideon’s International or the Wheat State Manor Nursing Home. Please sign her online guestbook and leave a memory of Lorena at www.ymzfh.com.