Klassen, Sieghard Hans “Hardy” (1930-2003)

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Sieghard Hans “Hardy” Klassen: churchman and businessman; was born 31 October 1930 in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, the elder son and the fourth of five children of John Klassen (9 March 1895-12 October 1971) and Elizabeth (Friesen) Klassen (29 November 1889-7 June 1971). Two brothers and one sister died of diphtheria in Russia before his parents came to Canada. On 8 May 1954 Hardy married Ella Thiessen (15 June 1931-13 February 2008), also of Kitchener. They had three children, Ann, Bruce (1967-November 2007) and Gord, as well as five grandchildren. Hardy Klassen died 21 October 2003 in Kitchener, Ontario.

Always a cheerful and friendly person, Hardy became a Christian at an early age. Already in his early years he was active in his home church, Kitchener Mennonite Brethren. Hardy and Ella were in charge of the New Seekers and Believers Sunday School class and also did youth work. Hardy was one of the founders of the mission Sunday School in Puslinch Lake where he and Ella served on Sunday afternoons for a number of years. Hardy and Ella entertained often, especially the newcomers in the church. Later they were founding members of the Glencairn Mennonite Brethren Church. However, Hardy is perhaps best remembered as a pioneer in the Ontario Conference of Mennonite Brethren camping ministries.

Hardy grew up on the outskirts of Waterloo of that time, on a farm adjoining the old airport on what is now Lexington Road in the city of Waterloo. The presence of the airfield as well as his technical classes at the Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate & Vocational School influenced him in the choice of his occupation. He established an auto repair business in Kitchener, Hardy Klassen Motors Ltd. Soon he became a well known and well liked businessman. In his garage, he took on apprentices for auto mechanics and hired youth and mentored them. Ella worked in the business as well as doing office work. However, in the upstairs office, as much church, conference and camping ministry was carried on as was auto business. Hardy often led the way with his construction skills as well as in fundraising for the camp board.

From the beginning of his career, church work was a priority for Hardy. As he grew older, Hardy’s leadership in the area of camping ministry blossomed. Thus, the Ontario Mennonite Brethren church camp work progressed rapidly, from early camping programs at Eden Christian High School, to the establishment of Camp Crossroads in northern Ontario at Torrance near the town of Bala. Hardy’s enthusiasm and skills contributed greatly to the formation of one of the largest Mennonite Brethren camps, which ministered effectively to youth and adults from all regions of Ontario.

Hardy also served on various boards and committees. For a number of years he was on the board of the Alisa Craig Boys Farm administered by the Mennonite Central Committee offices in Ontario. Hardy was a founding member and president of the Birchcrest Cottage Association at Chesley Lake and also served on the automotive apprenticeship board. But the practical construction leadership skills stand out as the highlight of Hardy Klassen's life as building after building and camp programs resulted. Hardy passed away just as the last phase of a construction project at the chapel at Camp Crossroads was progressing.


“Ella Klassen.” Mennonite Brethren Herald 47, no. 5 (1 May 2008): 34.

“Hardy Klassen.” Mennonite Brethren Herald 42, no. 16 (5 December 2003): 26.

"Sieghard Hans 'Hardy" Klassen.' GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 16-01 ed. Fresno, CA: " California Mennonite Historical Society, 2016: #897010.

Author(s) Ed Boldt
Date Published June 2016

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Boldt, Ed. "Klassen, Sieghard Hans “Hardy” (1930-2003)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2016. Web. 20 May 2022. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Klassen,_Sieghard_Hans_%E2%80%9CHardy%E2%80%9D_(1930-2003)&oldid=134712.

APA style

Boldt, Ed. (June 2016). Klassen, Sieghard Hans “Hardy” (1930-2003). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 May 2022, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Klassen,_Sieghard_Hans_%E2%80%9CHardy%E2%80%9D_(1930-2003)&oldid=134712.

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