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April 25, 1939 - February 22, 2024

Celebration of Life: 11:00 am Wednesday, June 26, 2024 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Westbrook

Funeral Home Westbrook Funeral Home

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James Allen Klasse was born April 25, 1939, in Slayton, MN. He was the second of three children born to Melvin and Alice (Nordstrom) Klasse.

On the morning of February 22, 2024, at age 84, he had a heart attack and passed away that afternoon at the Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD.

Jimmy was baptized in 1939 and confirmed a member of Westbrook Trinity Lutheran church in 1954. Jimmy’s father had business interests which provided Jimmy opportunities to work on the farm, on the ambulance team, and in the family’s Ford garage, Klasse Sales and Service.

Jim had a wonderful tenor voice and singing Elvis was his specialty. As a teenager, he enjoyed singing in choirs and playing cornet in the band. He discovered one of his greatest passions, auto racing, at the tender age of 16. Jim competed for various car owners at local tracks in the Midwest, including Huset’s Speedway, and had the opportunity to compete in national races in Muskogee, OK. After graduating from Westbrook High school in 1957, he joined the Army National Guard.

In 1960, Jim moved to California with Doug Kuehl, where Jim met Peggy, a spunky farm girl from Idaho. After an extremely short courtship, Jim and Peggy eloped in Las Vegas. Melvin invited them to move back to Westbrook, where they both worked in the family business, Klasse Sales and Service.

In 1965, Jim added truck campers to the family’s Ford franchise. In 1974, he expanded the business by adding a body shop and a camper showroom. Jim loved being a life-long resident of Westbrook, and “The Garage” was known as a social hub in town. Many friends stopped by regularly for coffee or a Coke, and conversation. The Ford garage where Jim had played cards in the basement as a kid was still open for business the day before he died.

Jim and Peggy’s home was always filled with people, not only their own 6 children, but many kids from the neighborhood and surrounding towns, and even foreign exchange students. Many of their kids’ friends consider Jim and Peggy to be their second parents.

Jim was generous in so many ways. Before the days of cell phones, he always stopped to help people with any sort of car trouble. He volunteered with the Lions and Jaycees and donated blood regularly his whole life. He was a volunteer firefighter for 25 years.

Jim loved to drive his ‘57 T-Bird in the Westbrook summer parade and the Westbrook High School Homecoming parade. He loved to sing Karaoke with his kids. He loved boating and water skiing, classic cars, Westerns, and the cinema, local dirt track race spectating, local card games, his NASCAR league, and road trips. Most of all, he loved his family and delighted in the addition of each new grandchild and great-grandchild.

Jimmy is preceded in death by his parents, Melvin and Alice Klasse, his nephew Jon Roger Klasse, and his brothers-in-law Douglas Nelson, William Chadwick, Delbert Chadwick, and Thomas Chadwick.

Jimmy is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Peggy; six children: Michell (Michael) Scotto, Lisa (Eric) West, Jill (Mark) Speicher, Troy (Stephanie) Klasse, Sandy (Anthony) Marra, and Lance Klasse; 19 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; his brother Roger (Sharon) and sister Marilyn Nelson; and many nieces and nephews.

Jimmy was a beloved father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, brother, and friend. His passing was unexpected, but quick, just like he always hoped it would be.

A celebration of Life is planned for June 26, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Westbrook. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations be made to the Westbrook Pool, which was built in memory of Jim’s nephew, Jon. Jim loved to swim at the pool and it is where he taught his kids to swim. Online condolences may be sent at www.stephensfuneralservice.com.  Stephens Funeral Service – Westbrook Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

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