Anni was born on June 10, 1927, the eldest child of Abram (Arnold) and Anna (Hamm) Fast, in Alexanderfeld (No. 1) Sagradowka, Ukraine. Siblings Tina (who died in infancy), John, Hank, Tina (Sarah), and Arnold completed the family.
Anni grew up under the Communist regime where it was forbidden to own a Bible or to pray, but her mother told the children many Christian stories. When the German army arrived, the people of the village were allowed to hold church services. During one prayer service, as the song “Wir Warten Auf Den Heiland Bis Er Kommt” (We Are Waiting on the Saviour Until He Comes), was sung, she did not feel ready to meet the Saviour, and so she committed her life to the Lord. This was in February 1943. In September she was baptized and accepted into the Mennonite Brethren congregation.
Many in the villages suffered from hunger and increasing unrest among their Russian neighbours due to their German heritage. In October of 1943 the family fled to Poland, and in January of 1945 to Germany. Anni’s father was taken from the family and sent to the front, and they never saw him again. Because they were still in the Russian zone, they were afraid that they would be sent back, so Anni’s cousin, Bernard Hamm, arranged for passage over the border to West Germany, to the MCC Centre.
While here, Anni came to know Heinrich Klassen. They were married on August 2, 1947, in Gronau, officiated by Brother H.H. Janzen.
Anni’s uncle Jacob Hamm sought to bring the family to Canada, but Oma Hamm was ill and did not receive permission to enter Canada. As a result, Anni’s mother and siblings went to Canada, while Heinrich and Anni along with Oma Hamm took passage on the MCC ship “Heinzelman” to Paraguay. Over the course of time, Oma was accepted into Canada.
During the five years that Heinrich and Anni lived in a village in Paraguay, they welcomed two sons: Heinz in 1948 and Arnold in 1951. The family of four immigrated to Canada in 1953, reuniting with Anni’s mother and siblings in Arnold, BC, praising and thanking the Lord. In 1957 a daughter, Erna, was welcomed into the family. After moving to Clearbrook, a third son, Paul, was welcomed into the family in 1965. In 1966, the family moved to Vancouver, to be closer to Heinrich’s workplace.
Anni loved and participated fully in the life of the church, first at Arnold M.B., then Clearbrook M.B., Vancouver M.B. and the daughter church Culloden M.B., and finally returning to Clearbrook M.B. for the last thirty-plus years. Anni gives glory to God for his faithfulness over the years.
After a short but courageous battle with cancer, Anni went home to heaven on December 11, 2021. Anni was predeceased by her husband Heinrich Klassen and son Heinz Klassen, infant sister Tina, brother Hank Fast and sister Tina Coers.
Anni leaves behind daughter-in-law Lois (Peter), son Arnold (Marilyn), daughter Erna (Larry) and son Paul (Connÿ); six grandchildren: Anna (Ryan), Roslyn, Natalie (Jonathan), Laura (Aaron), Alexander (Jenny), Alan (Ashley) and fifteen great-grandchildren.
Her family will miss her faithful prayers, gracious hospitality, delicious baking, meals surrounded by family and friends, knitted and crocheted gifts, stories, and unswerving love.
Viewing: Tuesday, December 21st from 3:00-5:00 pm at Alternative's Funeral and Cremation Services, 3070-275A Street, Aldergrove.
Memorial service: Wednesday, December 22nd, 11:00 am at Clearbrook M.B. Church, 2719 Clearbrook Road, Abbotsford. Due to Covid protocols, all in attendance are required to wear masks. Also, due to Covid restrictions, refreshments will not be served.
Graveside for Family: Wednesday, December 22nd, 2:30 pm, Ocean View Burial Park, 4000 Imperial Street, Burnaby
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: MCC British Columbia 201-33933 Gladys Avenue Abbotsford, BC V2S 2E8, https://mcccanada.ca
It is with great sorrow and sadness to hear your mother/our Tante has passed. We will miss her long distance phone calls and birthday wishes each year. At Christmas, we will miss the crocheted snowflakes and angels. We are thankful for always receiving a warm reception, when we had been to visit. We understand how difficult this time can be and wish you all God's blessings to help you through this difficult time. Tante Anni will be deeply missed. She will always be in our hearts and our thoughts. Love from the Klassen Family Victor, Marion, Veronica, Jessica and Chris.
Our Dearest Friends Arnold and Marilyn our hearts are with you at this really sad and difficult time of losing your precious Mom. She if fondly thought of through the memories that we talked about your Mom with all her Delicious baking and your thoughtful weekly visits to her. I was blessed that you (Marilyn) send me one of her pressed flowered cards for my Birthday so beautiful and is cherished. Our Love, blessing and many prayers are with all of you in the days to come. Take care of each other. (hugs) Jeannie and Don xoxox