Gerald “Jerry” Claassen, age 98, of Crookston, MN, passed away on Saturday, November 16, 2019, at the Villa St. Vincent in Crookston, MN.
Jerry was born on December 7, 1920, in Buffalo Center, IA, the son of the late Manly and Ila (Mitterer) Claassen. He grew up in Buffalo Center, IA, and graduated from high school in Geneva, IA, in 1938, and Iowa State University in 1942. On February 2, 1943, he married Betty Helleen in St. Paul, MN. He enlisted in the US Military and he and Betty lived in Fort Brag in Fayetteville, NC, Pine Camp in Watertown, NY, Camp Forrest in Tullahoma, TN, and Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, MI. He was then deployed to the European Theater during World War II and participated in the Battle of the Bulge and Bastogne. Upon his discharge in 1946, Jerry began working for Crystal Sugar in Mason City, IA, and in 1958 he was transferred to Crookston, MN, as Agricultural Manager, a position he held until his retirement in 1986. He was instrumental in developing a beet storage procedure to greatly improve factory operation and enabled longer processing operations. Following his retirement from American Crystal, he was employed for 5 years with Transystems on a part-time basis. He was a longtime member of Trinity Lutheran Church and American Legion Post #20 in Crookston, MN.
Jerry is survived by his sons, Gregg (Barbara) Claassen of Osage Beach, MO, Jay Claassen (Pam Eastman) of Verndale, MN, and Jeff Claassen of Moorhead, MN; grandson, Chris (Jill) Claassen of Sinking Spring PA; and grandchildren, Taylor Claassen and Ben Claassen; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Claassen; son, Mark Claassen; parents, Manly and Ila Claassen; and brother, Marvin Claassen; and daughter-in-law Misty Claassen.
Memorial Service: 11:00 am on Friday, November 22, 2019, at Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home in Crookston, MN.
Visitation: One Hour Before the Service
Inurnment: Oakdale Cemetery in Crookston, MN, with Military Honors.