Barb Claassen loved life, she loved her husband Craig and she loved giving to others. She left us far too soon, going home to heaven on February 16. 2022, at Three Rivers Medical Center, due to complications of pneumonia.
If you never knew Barb, then congratulations – you probably never needed a kind word or a helping hand, or a fairy Godmother to appear to save your event. That was Barb. It was never about her; it was always “what can I do for you?”
Barb was born March 5, 1952 in Reedsport OR to Margaret and Art Molvar. When Art’s construction job of a lifetime came to an end, they left their “Leave it to Beaver” world taking brothers Mick, John, Dan and little Barbara Ann to the bright lights of Seattle. Barb may have grown up as West Seattle’s most likely to achieve, but there was always something missing.
Then, Barb heard the Good Lord calling. Through church, she met Craig Claassen in Grants Pass. They took a walk, talked for hours and almost in unison they said, “It feels like I’ve known you all my life.” Within seven days, they married. They vowed to love, honor and cherish one another and they faithfully lived those vows for a glorious 49 years.
While other couples finish each other’s sentences, Barb and Craig helped finish each other’s projects and still had time to help with everyone else’s projects in the bargain. Barb and Craig did everything together. If it was important to Craig then it was important to Barb and vice versa. Craig loved football. He played football at Grants Pass High School and in college. And when they were married, Craig moved to the sidelines filming nearly every game for an annual highlight reel. Whenever Craig was on the field, you could find Barb in the stands.
Help was the best word to describe her life and they helped one another. But more importantly they helped their family, their friends, friends of friends, and acquaintances; if you needed help Barb and Craig were there. And they loved kids. Having no children of their own, Barb and Craig were blessed to share their bountiful gift of love with as many kids as time would allow.
They faithfully lived out their scriptures, like I Peter 4:10. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful servants of God’s grace in its various forms.” To that end, Barb was an amazing cook. She loved food and the only thing she enjoyed more than making it - was the joy on someone’s face when they took their first bite. She shared that gift with everyone.
Barb worked for many years for a local hospital in the Medical Laboratory and Pathology Department. They analyzed specimens, ran tests and biopsies, and Barb forged many lifelong friendships. It also made her an avid fan of TV shows like Quincy, CSI and NCIS. She and Craig would record them, as well as sporting events, so they could watch them together and hit PAUSE whenever one or the other would leave the room. Now, that’s love.
Barb never wanted anything to be about her. It was always about others. Whatever you wanted, whatever you needed, Barb and her devoted group of Angels would provide. If you were lucky enough to visit, Barb would quiz you on what you most liked to eat, drink and snack on, and it would be there waiting whenever you arrived. As Craig likes to say, Barb lived the verse Matthew 23:11, “The greatest among you will be your servant”.
So much more could be said, but Barb and Craig felt their greatest story was that they met, married and they were never parted again - until her last breath. Craig’s last words to her were “Barbie I love you so much. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be alright. I’ll see you in heaven my dear girl,” to which Barb replied, “I love you forever. I will be waiting for you.”
Barb is now in heaven with her mother Margaret to have everything ready for the arrival of other loved ones: Craig, her brother Dan Molvar, Mother-in-Law Linda Claassen, Sister-in-law Caralee Larson (Gil), Sister-in-law Mary Jane Prudencio (Gordy), Brother-in-Law Lowell Claassen (Cindy), and all their family and friends, especially all the wonderful children for whom Barb was a “Second Mom”. Craig says she mentioned each of you by name, sending her love and goodbyes.
There will be a Remembrance announced sometime in the future. In lieu of flowers, Craig asks that you do as Barb would do - perform a simple act of kindness. Like the seed that falls on fertile ground, that seed will grow 100 fold. Of course, if you’re like Barb you’ll want to do that and more, so we invite you to support the Gospel Rescue Mission in Barb’s name. Now go have your favorite meal and rejoice. That is what Barb would want.