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Richard A. “Rich” Claassen 87, lifelong Newton resident passed away January 1, 2016 at Newton Presbyterian Manor. He was born June 7, 1928 in Newton, Kansas to Leonard and Helen (Albrecht) Claassen. He was a 1946 graduate of Newton High School. Following his graduation he joined his father and brother Roland in the forming of Claassen Oil Company later becoming the Phillips 66 distributors in the area. In 1948 Rich and his family started Claassen Lumber in Newton where he retired in 2011. In September 1952 he married Diane Darling and she survives of the home. Following his marriage Rich moved his church membership from First Mennonite Church to First Baptist Church in Newton where he remained an active member for many year. Rich enjoyed life, family and friends. He was an avid golfer, even though lowering his handicap was never a top priority. He was also involved in delivering meals on wheels in Newton for many years. His interest in his two pasture lands continued into his later years. He enjoyed going to thereto “fix fence”. It was easier to get ahold of Rich at Druber’s donuts or the local coffee shops than in was to catch him at home. Rich was a little league baseball coach during his boys growing up years and he was also an assistant cub and boy scout leader and served in the National Guard.
Rich is survived by his wife of 63 years Diane of the home; three children: Steve of Newton, Brian Danetta of Wichita and Shelley and her husband Larry Wall also of Wichita. One brother Roland Claassen of Newton and two nephews Darrel and Dan Claassen.
A celebration of Rich’s life will be 11:00 a.m. Thursday, January 7, 2015 at First Baptist Church Newton with Pastor Chip Bungard presiding. The family will receive friends in the fellowship hall of First Baptist Church following the memorial service. Graveside committal service will be prior to the memorial at 10:00 a.m. Thursday in Greenwood Cemetery Newton. Visitation will be 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday evening at Petersen Funeral Home with the family receiving friends from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the funeral home.
Memorials are suggested to First Baptist Church, Kansas Special Olympics or Newton Meals on Wheels in care of Petersen Funeral Home.
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