|Birth: ||Apr. 14, 1919|
|Death: ||Jul. 20, 2007|
When Harold Classen heard a tune he liked, he had the ability to entertain his wife Leona and five children by teaching it to himself within minutes and then playing it on his beloved piano. During his lifetime, Harold taught himself hundreds of songs, and played for several dance bands without ever reading a note of sheet music.
After evening meal, he would sometimes put on his Mitch Miller record and the whole family would "Sing along with Mitch", while he accompanied the band. On television, his favorite program was Lawrence Welk and his honky-tonk piano player "Big Tiny Little".
"He felt music was the tonic of life," recalled his son Ron Classen. "He wanted us all to have an appreciation of it".
Harold Peter Classen was born April 14, 1919 in Appleton, MN. He was the first of Pete and Marie (Schoen) Classen's three children. After his mother died when he was seven, he was sent to Missouri to live with his grandparents until his father remarried a few years later, and he returned to Appleton. Following his graduation from Appleton High School in 1938, Harold attended one year of teacher's training in Madison, MN. He then taught rural school in Lac Qui Parle County for the next three years, taking teaching courses at St. Cloud State University during the summer breaks.
Harold then entered the U.S. Army, where he served in active combat in the 34th Station Hospital Unit in both Africa and Europe during WWII. Following his discharge, Harold married Leona Elizabeth Simpson, on December 9, 1945 in Madison, MN. They settled in Sioux City, Iowa, where he worked at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. He later went to work at the Veterans Hospital in Hot Springs, SD, until he was called again to serve during the war in Korea. When that war ended, Harold worked at a variety of health care institutions, including the Orthopedic Clinic in Cincinnati, Ohio; the VA Hospital in Fargo, ND and Stevens County Memorial Hospital in Morris, MN, where he remained until his retirement.
He and his family moved to and operated a poultry farm just outside of Graceville, MN from 1964 - 1970, before relocating to Alberta, MN, where they lived for the next 33 years. An avid gardener, Harold was known for his "green thumb", and his gardens produced large quantities of fresh vegetables, thriving house plants, and countless bouquets of beautiful flowers.
Harold was a veteran of both WWII and the Korean War, where he began his career as a Diagnostic Radiologic Technologist.
He died on Friday, July 20, 2007, from complications related to his war injuries, at the VA Medical Center in St. Cloud, MN, having lived to reach the age of 88 years.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Leona Simpson Classen of Morris; four children: David (Sharon) Classen of St. Cloud, Donna (W. Lynn) Aikens of Martinsburg, WV, Ione (Donn) Norling of Willmar and Ronald Classenof Seattle, WA; eight grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; one sister: Dorothy Dorsey of Idaho; two step-sisters: Lois (Val) Roggenbuck of Bellingham and Patricia (Lenny) Folk of Canton, SD and numerous cousins, in-laws, nieces, nephews, friends and other relatives.
He was preceded in death by one son: Thomas Classen; his parents; one step-brother, Junior Classen and one sister, Helen (Lonny) Baldridge.
Pederson Funeral Home in Morris, MN was in charge of arrangements.
Leona Elizabeth Simpson Classen (1920 - 2014)*
Thomas P. Classen (1953 - 1992)*
Frog Lake Cemetery
Created by: T Burt
Record added: Nov 22, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 44675092
Added: Apr. 23, 2010
Thank you for serving our country. God bless you.|
Added: Nov. 22, 2009