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Elmer John KLAASSEN

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Elmer John KLAASSEN

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September-21-18
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September-21-18
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April-03-18
Hi, I am Brian Powell. Al was one of the finest persons I have ever played ball with. I had the pleasure of playing ball against Al and with Al over many years. I actually learned his real name was Elmer not long ago but he will always be Al to us.
I first me Al in the 70's playing against him in Fastball. There are probably people here today to go back farther than that. He played for Molsons out of Sapperton Park in New West. We had many many games against his group over the years either in league or tournaments. All the games were super competitive which is the way Al played the game. He was a very good fastball player due to his size and skill. I did not know him that well, but he was the type of player you would remember. On the field he was fierce and did anything to win. Off the field he was just the big gentle guy with the great smile and having a beer with his team or the opposition. There developed quite a friendly rivalry with them along with their wives and our wives. This would bode well for the future.
Our paths crossed a couple of times through work. Al worked for Macdonalds Consolidated or Safeway and I worked on the waterfront. Safeways would import Japanese oranges every year so Al came down to the docks to make sure we distributed the oranges the way they wanted. I recognized him right away and had quite the discussions about the fastball days.
My next meeting was in 1993 when 5 or 6 of us joined a team called Royal City Fire Supplies which was a 50 plus seniors mens slopitch team. The league was called the Old Fools League which was rather appropriate. Roger Petch ran this team with Al plus Louie Trischuk, Al Richards and some others who had been fastball players. That started a relationship in Slowpitch that has lasted 24 plus years. Al was the perfect teammate and friend. He was so easy going who just wanted to play and have fun with the guys. He was our firstbaseman but never complained if he wasn't playing. Over these years we played leagues and tournements. Al was one of the first guys to get his name on the list of any tourney we wanted to enter. He went with us to nationals in Whitehorse, & Leduc Alberta. In 1996 we went to Newfoundland for Nationals. We played for 5 days came 2nd and then the spent 9 days touring Nova Scotia and PEI. We were fortunate to be in a group with Al and Lorraine (1 of 3) . It was one of the best trips we had taken. We had rented vehicles and spent the days just driving the maritimes. If you can imagine Al with this group you know it is fun. In 2004 we went to Calgary for the Nationals and won our age bracket for the first and only time. I still remember the grin on AL's face. In 2010 we went to Orlando Florida for a tourney that was so cold, it was colder there than here in Vancouver for the Olympics at the same time. Al played first base with a hoodie and a jacket to stay warm and the wives had to bring blankets from the houses since nobody brought warm clothes. During this time in Florida, we took a bus trip from Orlando to Tampa Bay to watch the Canucks play. Again just thinking of Al on the bus and at the games, just being Al. It was all part of the lore for this group. During these years there were also the yearly tournies in Kelowna and Kamloops. Al never seemed to miss many of these. Maybe one or two. Of course Lorraine and the most of the wives came on the jaunts more to keep us in line that anything. So much fun. Many wives have told me they enjoyed his little hugs and smiles when they met up.
But there is one Tournament every year that Al seemed to love most. Every October there is a tourney in St. George Utah called the Huntsman Senior Games. Al has been at least 25 times so much so that he is a life time member of the games. These games are just so fantastic. Of course Al loved the ball but the weather and the scenery seemed to draw him there. And of course they got to stay in Mesquite Nevada with is a little border town with a lot more life that St . George Utah. About a 45 minute drive from St. George. Plus the addition of the Casinos made it that much more attractive. Although there comes to mind one year that Al missed. Al decided to go hunting instead of going to St. George but Lorraine decided she wasn't going to miss the games so she brought here sister. So while Al was hunting moose Lorraine was hunting bargains.
Over all these years, there are just so many stories that can be told but you had to be there so it is hard to pick out one. Some shouldn't be mentioned anyway, so just think about Al and have your own little giggles.

Al was one of the guys on the team that was always willing to help out with whatever needed done. We used to rune meat draws at the Moonraker Pub in New West to raise money for the team. Most of the team hated doing this mostly because they ended up spending more out of their pockets for the beer than they made on the draws. But Al was always willing to fill in if he wasn't busy since he knew most of the patrons in the pub so was able to get them to spend on the draws.
This last year has been extremely tough. To see Al come to the games last summer with him knowing he cannot play but wanted to be a part of the group. He would take his swings hitting some balls before the games and out in the field taking throws from the guys to pass to the pitcher. During the game he would coach which ever base was closest to the dugout. The same for our batting practices in Surrey. We would try to meet every Tuesday during the summer and winter to bat. Actually to get out of the house to have, beer, ball and BS is more like it. Again when it was cold Al would have his Hoodie and when batting use a pair of thick garden gloves to keep his hands warm. He usually took a good natured ribbing for that.
One little thing that I will always remember is when I talked with Al on the phone, he always called me Mr. Brian in his slow drawl. That was so neat.
The team cannot thank Lorraine and family enough for sharing Al with us. He brought immeasurable joy the players and wives on our team but also to many other players in the slopitch community. We will miss him so much. Just know that Al, Roger and Bluey are together again and playing the game they love. RIP Elmer John Klaassen.
March-05-18
Lorraine and Family
We had not seen Elmer for quite a number of years and were privileged to see him at Aunt Martha Marten's celebration of life in Victoria. Our condolences to you. I so appreciated the family pictures on line. He leaves good memories. Cousin Ruby and husband Rudy.
March-05-18
Hi, Lorraine; You probably don't know me but I grew up across the road from Elmer on Lumsden Road. We did a lot of things together. I will not make the funeral as I am going to another one on Vancouver Island the following day.
March-05-18
Lorraine, so sorry to hear of Al's passing. He was such a lovable guy and a great friend to Jack. He will always be fondly remembered.
March-03-18
Lorraine:

Al was a great guy! I hope the happy memories you have will help ease the pain.
March-03-18
Lorraine and family, so sorry for your loss Carol Delaney
March-03-18
Lorraine and family
Our thoughts are with you. Rest in Peace Al
Frank and Maralynne Beatty
March-03-18
Lorraine and family. So sorry for your loss. Al will be missed tremendously.

Brian & Karen Powell
March-03-18
Sorry to hear of your loss. He will be missed. Torey
March-03-18
With our sincere condolences to all of the family
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