Hillsboro – A. Randal Claassen M.D. passed away Monday, February 4, 2019. He was born March 5, 1955 in Wichita to Louis and Dorothy (Chaney) Claassen. He married Janice Keller January 2, 1977 in Wichita. Survivors include: wife: Janice Claassen of Towanda; son, Peter Claassen of Towanda; daughters, Ashley (David) Enns of Towanda, Angie (Ben) Walker of Valley Center, Alysha (A.J.) Pierce of Salina, Jayme (Barry) McGhee of Denham Springs, LA, Katie Claassen of Towanda, Josie Claassen of Towanda; brother, Dan (Marjean) Claassen of Blue Ridge, Texas; sister, Candy (Mike) Snowbarger of Towanda; 15 grandchildren. Celebration of Life Service 2:00 p.m. Thursday, February 7, 2019 at Parkview M.B. Church in Hillsboro. Interment 10:00 a.m. Thursday at Towanda cemetery in Towanda. Family will receive friends from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday at Jost Funeral Home in Hillsboro. Memorials to Hope and Healing Africa in care of Jost Funeral Home P.O. Box 266 Hillsboro, KS 67063. Online condolences at www.jostfuneralhome.com
Life Sketch Taken From the Funeral Bulletin
Albert Randal Claassen, husband, father, and grandfather was born March 5, 1955 in Wichita, Kansas. He was the second child of Louis and Dorothy. He grew up in rural Rose Hill, Kansas with his parents and older sister, Candy and little brother, Dan. The three kids spent lots of time playing outside with cousins, and were often found playing under the hedgerow. When not outside working on the farm or playing, Randy was always reading. Claassen family vacations consisted of traveling to Missouri to his grandparent’s home at Pomme de Terre Lake. Every day was spent boating, water skiing, and fishing. At the age of 14, Randy went to church camp where he was a dishwasher in the cafeteria. Being his goofy self, he took a wet dish rack and showered a young Janice Keller with water, changing her life forever. Her friend said “You better not do that, she likes you.” After that summer, Randy and Janice didn’t meet again until Randy’s senior year of high school. In high school, Randy began building homes with his brother, Dan, on their parent’s land to pay for college. He also played the trumpet, sang in a group and was salutatorian. All three of these became skills he would use the rest of his life. In 1972, the Keller family moved to Wichita to Crestway Free Methodist Church. Randy finally got up the nerve to ask Janice out on his 18th birthday, March 5th 1973. Janice was the only girl he ever dated. Randy soon graduated high school on May 22, 1973. He then went to Central Christian College in McPherson, graduating with an associates degree in 1975. On March 5, 1976, Randy and Janice became engaged in the parking lot before eating in Steak n’ Ale, followed by a party his parents gave at their home. Randy then ventured to Oklahoma City to the Southern Nazarene University while Janice went to Central College. Daily letters went from McPherson to Oklahoma City and vice versa. Randy and Janice were married on January 2, 1977. She then joined him at SNU. A month after their wedding, Randy was accepted to Kansas School of Medicine. He was always quick to point out that Janice didn’t marry a doctor. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in May 1977. After graduating, they spent a summer in Wichita where Randy and Dan traveled for Capp Homes to frame houses. The couple moved to Kansas City later to begin Randy’s medical training at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Both Randy and Janice worked at a children’s home while he attended med school. They were expecting their first daughter, Ashley, at the time of Randy’s graduation with his Doctorate in May of 1981. They moved to Wichita where Randy began his residency at the University of Kansas of Wichita. The couple soon welcomed Ashley Dawn into their lives on August 20th, 1981. During the last year of his residency (1983), before looking for a town to practice in, Randy and Janice applied to the Free Methodist Mission board. At that time they were not needed, so they started looking for a town to practice medicine in. Soon Randy was contacted by the town of Hillsboro. They had never heard of Hillsboro, but soon fell in love with it. In October during his last year of Residency, Randy began building their home on Eisenhower street in Hillsboro. Angela Jean then joined their small family on April Fools Day, 1985. At first Randy didn’t believe Janice was in labor, thinking Janice was trying to fool him, but after talking to her a few more minutes on the phone, he believed! Four years later Alysha Ruth joined them, and he thought they were done! Randy became very involved at Parkview Mennonite Brethren Church. He served as youth leader, going on many mission trips, was an elder, trustee, sang in the choir, and eventually assisted with the sound system. He also stood on the side lines as the team doctor for most of the high school and Tabor home football games. He loved Hillsboro, and was very involved in the community. After living in town for 13 years, the country was calling him, and they decided to build a home where he could work outside. Before they started looking for land, though, they again applied to mission boards, this time to both the Mennonite Brethren, and the Free Methodist Mission boards. Again, they were turned down. So they decided to build their dream home out in the country. Randy decided he wanted a bigger home than he could build by himself and keep working, so he had a contractor help who agreed to let Randy do what he could, when he could. During the first year in their new home, Janice started praying that God would soften Randy’s heart to Foster Care. Soon Randy came to Janice very excited, he said, “How about a baby boy!” A family in his elder group had called him, wanting prayer for their grandson who was being put into foster care. So they worked on licensing, home studies and classes as fast as they could. Finally they were allowed to bring Peter home that fall. Lottie then joined them. Jayme, Lottie’s little sister, came the next summer. They had 20 plus foster children in their home over the next several years. Josie, Lottie and Jayme’s little sister, was also finally welcomed into their home after five years of praying and many phone calls to social workers. Every time a social worker called with a child who needed a home, Randy always said, “Why not!” They adopted four of these special children. Peter and his big sister, Katie were first adopted, Jayme next, and finally her little sister, Josie. He loved each child who came to their home. One story during those years, was that one Sunday morning a teenage girl kicked a cabinet door and it broke. Just then Randy walked out of the bedroom ready to leave for church. The kids, and Janice all looked at Randy, very concerned about his reaction. He looked at the door, and at his family, quietly walked out of the room got a screwdriver, took the door off, took it to the garage and glued it. Then left for church! Randy’s way to show his love was by doing! He wasn’t a big talker, but a big doer. He had many interests. Besides being a physician, a very active church member, and of course his family, he enjoyed windsurfing, biking, especially going on Bike Across Kansas, wood working, jet engines, trumpet playing at church and in high school bands with three of his daughters, just to list a few. In the year of 2012, things in Randy’s life started to change. After practicing medicine in Hillsboro for 28 years, he decided it was time to leave. He quit his practice, and worked as an Emergency Room doctor for two more years. He was diagnosed with Fahr’s disease (brain calcification) in the fall of 2014 and had to quit practicing medicine in the spring of 2015. But during those two years, he was able to go to Africa several times. He loved it there. He could use ALL of his many talents there. He was ready to move there, but Fahr’s stopped that dream! During those two years he was also able to help his sister build a home on the acreage he had bought. He and Ashley also built a home for her family – he was proud to say they did everything but the roof and drywall. During this time we could see his health declining. The first issue was talking and swallowing. Later he wasn’t able to walk very far, and soon needed to use a walker or scooter to get around. After it was decided he couldn’t go to Africa anymore because of his health, Randy decided it was time to get a final home for his family built. So with the help of nephews, a home was started. But soon it was realized that he could not do the work needed, so many friends, and relatives came to help, many spending days at a time to help. It was hard for Randy to let go and accept help. He would sit in a chair and watch everything happening. He had helped so many people before, and they were glad to come. In November Randy began to decline. After three different stays in the hospital and weeks in a rehab hospital, it was decided that Randy would come home with Hospice Care. Janice and Ashley made him comfortable for his last days. Randy was welcomed into the presence of our Lord early Monday morning the 4th of February, surrounded by four of his daughters, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister and wife as he took his last breath here on earth and WALKED into the Lord’s presence. He was welcomed into Heaven by many friends and family members, including their baby lost before birth. We know he is so busy in Heaven, doing things he hadn’t been able to do for at least the last two years. He is walking side by side with Jesus, singing and playing his trumpet, all while worshiping his God.