Cover photo for Bernice Esther  Klassen Friend's Obituary
Bernice Esther  Klassen Friend Profile Photo

Bernice Esther Klassen Friend

d. February 20, 2016

Life Sketch for Bernice Esther Klassen Friend


Bernice Friend, 91, passed away in Medicine Lodge, Kansas on February 20, 2016.


Bernice was born on April 20, 1924 in rural Leigh, Kansas to David S. and Anna (Friesen) Klassen.  She was the oldest of four children.


Bernice started her teaching career at the age of eighteen where she taught in a one room school house. She attended Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas and later at Grace Bible Institute in Omaha, Nebraska.  In the early 1950’s she was called to the mission field and went to Japan and taught missionary children for four years.


When she returned home from Japan she met Don Friend.  After a two week courtship, she married Don on September 21, 1957. They were an instant family with Don having four children: Kathy, James, Max, Danny.  Later they had two children: Dean and Ann. They were married for 58 years prior to her passing. 


Bernice continued her education and graduated from Friends University in 1965. She began teaching kindergarten in the Norwich School System that next year with Ann as one of her students.  She also taught music and later moved to teaching first grade.  She loved teaching children to read!


The family moved to Medicine Lodge in 1976 where Bernice continued her teaching career.  She retired in 1980 due to health reasons.  Later that year they moved to Bentley and then to Newton where they lived until December of 2015 and returned to Medicine Lodge.


She loved music and could play the piano by ear.  She could hear the song once and sit down and play it.  Many evenings were spent with the family around the piano singing and Bernice playing.  She always had a smile on her face and a positive outlook.  Bernice had a very strong faith in God and was always ready to do his will.  She was active in every church they attended and lead many women’s Bible Studies, Vacation Bible School, and Sunday Schools.


She is survived by her husband: Don Friend; daughter: Ann and Kelly McNett; brother in law: Ken Shultz; and many nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great grandchildren.


She was preceded in death by her parents: David and Anna Klassen; brothers: Leonard and Elmer; sister in laws: Rosalie and Lea; sister: Doris Shultz; sons: James, Max, Dan and Dean; daughter: Kathy; and one grandchild: Philip Fagan.


Funeral arrangements are scheduled for 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 24th at the Grace Community Chapel.  Visitation will be from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 23rd at Petersen Funeral Home in Newton. The family will be present from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. to greet friends.


A memorial has been set up for International Christian Enterprise, 596 Monterey Dr., Keller, TX 76248).



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