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Klassen, Ruth Evelyn (1937– )

Proper Title

Ruth Evelyn Klassen fonds

Dates of Creation

1967–1971, 1980–1993, 1994–2000

Physical Description

4 cm of textual material

Biographical Sketch

Ruth Evelyn Klassen, teacher and missionary, was born in Winkler, Manitoba on August 25, 1937. Her parents were William H. Klassen (b. Feb.13, 1907, Eichenfeld, Yazykovo, South Russia; d. Nov. 6, 2006, Winnipeg, Manitoba) and Elizabeth Pauls (b. Feb. 28, 1915, Grigoryevka, Naumenko, South Russia; d. May 10, 2011, Winnipeg, Manitoba). William and Elizabeth’s families immigrated to Canada in the 1920s; they met and were married on October 6, 1935, in Morden, Manitoba.

Ruth grew up on a farm in the Morden area and was baptized upon confession of faith in Jesus in 1949, joining the Morden Mennonite Brethren Church. As a child she enjoyed reading and was known for her long prayers.

Graduating with a high-school diploma from Morden Collegiate (1954), Ruth completed a Bible and Christian Education program of studies at Winkler Bible Institute (1958). In Winnipeg, Manitoba, she continued her education, graduating from the Mennonite Brethren Bible College with a Bachelors of Religious Education (1962) and a Teaching Certificate from the Manitoba Teachers College (1963). From 1963 to 1966, Ruth was a school teacher in the village of Reinland and in the town of Morden.

Ruth’s first missionary assignment with MB [Mennonite Brethren] Mission was in Cali, Colombia, though at the time the mission was called: Board of Missions and Services). Her term began with one year of Spanish language study at Instituto Lengua Española in San José, Costa Rica (1966-1967). This was followed by three years of teaching at Jefferson School, Cali, Colombia (1967-1970), and one additional year as the school’s director (1970-1971). During these years, she taught grades four and seven and worked with Vacation Bible School and Pioneer Girls clubs.

Following her Colombian missionary assignment, Ruth returned to Manitoba to upgrade her teaching credentials. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba (1973) and a Bachelor of Education with a certificate in Special Education (1975). During this time, until 1980, she taught in several schools in southern Manitoba, Springstein and Rosenort. She transferred her church membership to Salem MB church, Winnipeg.

Ruth’s second missionary assignment with MB Mission was in Spain (1980-1993). She taught English and assisted in women’s ministries and Christian education. On a study leave at Mennonite Brethren Seminary, Fresno, California (1984-1986), she earned a Masters of Divinity degree in Christian Education. She transferred her church membership to the Morden MB church.

Serving in Mexico (1994-2000), Ruth completed her third missionary assignment with MB Mission, serving in Christian Education and church planting. She retired from MB Mission in December 1999.

From 2000 through to 2007, Ruth worked part-time at Family Life Network in the Spanish ministry of Encuentro. She transferred church membership to Crossroads MB Church, Winnipeg.

Now retired, Ruth co-facilitates a “refugee and immigration support team,” serves as church librarian, and participates in a church prayer team. See interview with Ruth in “Retirement: a season of service” MB Herald 52/5 (May 2013): 14-16.

Custodial History

On April 30, 2013, Ruth Klassen donated three files of correspondence and personal papers, one for each of her three terms of service with MB Mission (formerly MB Mission/Services International; formerly Board of Missions and Services).

Scope and Content

The Ruth Eveleyn Klassen fonds consists of correspondence between Ruth and various Mission executives during each of her three terms of service: Colombia, Spain, and Mexico. In addition, the fonds includes minutes from the Missionary Fellowship meetings, missionary newsletters, program evaluations, and quarterly reports. The fonds documents the assumptions, motivation, vision, and everyday life of one missionary, Ruth Klassen, and the particular organizational culture of the Mennonite Brethren mission office during the decades in which she served.


  • Title based on contents of fonds.
  • Accession numbers: 2013-10.
  • Volume No.: 996.
  • Finding aid consists of a description and a file list.
  • Description created by Jon Isaak, June 2013.
  • No restrictions to access.
  • Language: English, Spanish, and German.

File List

Volume 996

1. Ministry in Columbia. -- Missionary correspondence. -- Minutes from the Missionary Fellowship meetings. -- 1967–1971.
2. Ministry in Spain. -- Missionary correspondence. -- Progress reports. -- Review of program in Spain. -- 1980–1993.
3. Ministry in Mexico. -- Missionary correspondence. -- Quarterly reports. -- Review of program in Mexico. -- Presentation notes: Ruth’s Missionary Journey. -- 1994–2000.

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