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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Eldin John Classen

A Celebration of Life service for Eldin John Classen will be held on Thursday, January 4, 2024, at First Baptist Church, 450 3rd Ave South, in Windom, Minnesota.  Visitation will be held at the church beginning at 10 am, with the service at 11 am, and a lunch to follow.

Eldin John Classen, of Windom, Minnesota, passed away peacefully at his home on December 21, at the age of 89. 

Eldin was born on Thanksgiving Day (November 29), 1934, at the family home in Meade, Kansas.  Eldin brought joy to Cornelius F. and Margaret (Reimer) Classen, joining three older brothers.  Five more children would join the family, making a lively household of nine siblings.

From his earliest days, Eldin’s gentle nature and love for learning shone through. He fondly recalled reciting his first Bible verse in German, John 3:16, and cherished memories of his one-room schoolhouse. Growing up during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, Eldin witnessed the resilience of his family and community. Their faith, centered around the Kleine Gemeinde Church, became the bedrock of his life.

Eldin’s path to faith was not without its twists and turns. As a young man, he drifted from his upbringing, but a decisive moment came in 1950 during an evangelistic service. He surrendered his life to Jesus Christ, marking a profound turning point. This dedication to faith shaped Eldin’s life.

In 1959, Eldin married his first wife, Esther Wall, with whom he shared a loving partnership until her untimely passing in 1988. He found solace in his second marriage to Joann Weigold (Franz) in 1990, and together they continued their service through interim ministries until their retirement in 2004.

Eldin’s life was marked by a profound dedication to Christian service. He attended Grace Bible Institute and served in various churches throughout his life. He often spoke of God’s gentle guidance leading him through both joyful and challenging times. Eldin’s favorite Bible verse, Philippians 1:6, encapsulated his unwavering trust in God’s providence.

Eldin’s pastoral ministry spanned 43 years. He began as an interim pastor in Omaha, Nebraska, at Florence Bible Church. He took his first full-time pastorate position at EMB Church in Henderson, Nebraska, where he served for seven years; he moved to Marion, SD, serving the EMB Church for 12 years; and he served at Immanuel Church in Delft, Minnesota, for ten years. After retirement from full-time ministry, Eldin served as pulpit supply and interim pastor for many churches in the Mt. Lake area. Other ministries included chaplain, youth camp work, serving on the Executive Committee and Commission on Christian Education with FEBC, and the Editorial Committee of Gospel Tidings.

Eldin was a handyman whose immense store of practical knowledge and quick mind enabled him to figure out a solution to nearly any problem. From a car breakdown to an electrical issue, he found a solution. Eldin worked various second jobs throughout his life to supplement his work in ministry: farm help, nurse’s aide, construction, electrical, EMT, bus driver, and fruit packing. His family remembers feeling that they were taken care of despite financial challenges.

Eldin’s commitment to family was unwavering. He cherished his children, grandchildren, and extended family, showering them with love and support. He was their biggest fan, quietly supporting each of them in their endeavors and traveling distances to keep in touch with those living far away.

Beyond faith and family, Eldin lived a life marked by quiet dedication. He kept meticulous lists, from birthdays to gas mileage, revealing an organized nature and a deep regard for detail. He found joy in simple pleasures like a soda fountain treat with his father, singing in choir, and playing games with his grandchildren.

Those who knew Eldin remember him for his kindness, patience, wisdom, and trustworthiness. He was a man of integrity, always faithful to his commitments, and deeply devoted to those he loved. His life was a testament to the power of faith, family, and quiet dedication. He leaves behind a legacy of love, service, and unwavering trust in God. May his memory be a blessing to all who knew him.

Eldin will be deeply missed by his wife Joann; his children and grandchildren, Dee Ann (Merlin) Stoesz and Joshua, Jenesa, Josiah, Mountain Lake, MN; Chris (Kristi) Classen and Kaarianna, Afton, MN; Bryan Classen, Las Vegas, NV; Joann’s children, Todd (MK) Franz and Ryan, Tayler, Bingham Lake, MN; Darcy (Todd) Dahna and Hunter (Molly), Madison, Tyler, Bingham Lake, MN; Stacy (Terry) Harland and Shelby, Rylee, Mustang, OK; Sarah (Mark) Wiebe and Ashley, Jake, Brook (Tyler) DeWitt and Elaina, Leah, Jessie (Luke) Engebretsen and Theo, AJ, Megan, Matt, Dani, Zack, Bingham Lake, MN; two sisters, Doris Moldenhauer and Della Regier; brother, Don Classen; and a host of nieces and nephews whom he dearly loved. Eldin was preceded in death by his first wife, Esther, parents, three brothers, Elmer, Arnold, and Marlin, and two sisters, Arlene and Luella.

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