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Eli Kleinsasser Obituary

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Eli Kleinsasser

Portland, Oregon

October 12, 1936 - May 2, 2024

Eli Kleinsasser Obituary

Eli Kleinsasser, 87, of Milwaukie, Oregon passed away on May 2, 2024, with Nancy, his wife of 55 years at his side. He was born on October 12, 1936, in Chaseley, North Dakota to Andrew J M and Lydia Kleinsasser. He was a graduate of Harvey High School in Harvey, North Dakota, Warner Pacific College in Portland, OR and the University of Portland. On December 28, 1968, he married Nancy Swanson in Fargo, ND. He was an elementary school teacher in Mitchell, OR, Battle Ground, WA and then in the Reynolds School District in Portland, OR for 27 years. He was a substitute teacher for an additional 14 years.


His great grandfather built the farmhouse in which he was born. There was no electricity or plumbing until later years. He was the 13th of 14 children. His father had four children when his first wife died, after which he married Eli’s mother who gave birth to ten children. His father died when Eli was 3 leaving Eli’s mother to raise ten children on her own.


Eli started school in a one room schoolhouse built by his great grandfather. In his 8 years of schooling there he was usually the only one in his grade. His first language was German and in the years of World War II the children were strictly forbidden to speak German in school. He loved life on the farm but not the machinery aspect. While attending Harvey High School he stayed in Harvey during the week and came home on weekends. He was the only child in his family to graduate until a sister obtained a high school diploma as an adult.


He enjoyed gardening and giving away produce to friends and anyone he and Nancy met on daily 2-mile walks. A few huge tomatoes made it around the neighborhood for show and tell. For a few years he raised Netherland Dwarf rabbits and used them in school classes or sold some to pet stores. He liked hatching eggs for friends and in his classes at school. Eli and Nancy along with some friends climbed to the top of Mt. Hood on July 4, 1968. Although he didn’t have much interest in sports, he would watch games when Jimmy Kleinsasser was playing for the Minnesota Vikings.


Family history was of great interest to Eli, and he had a remarkable memory for retaining family Hutterite heritage. Although he was dyslexic he loved to read, albeit slowly. Walking was good exercise for him and he made many friends along the way. He was known for his jokes and he loved telling them. He wasn’t into mechanics or computers. He said he didn’t do the “intercom.”


Eli enjoyed his many years of teaching. He wasn’t above goofiness and fun in the classroom. He read Charlotte’s Web to every class he taught. Sometimes when it seemed the kids couldn’t get enough of the book and wanted to hear more he orally “added” some chapters so the story could go on. One mother asked where she could buy a copy of the book with the added chapters that her child had told her about. It was his great joy to hear from former students and their successes in life. One girl said she became a teacher because of his teaching back in third grade.


He so enjoyed phone calls speaking German with his just older brother until 2018 when he died. Eli was the last of the 14 Kleinsasser children to pass away.


His last few months of life were not fun for him but he cheerfully did all he could to get better. He enjoyed visitors in his last days and continued to tell jokes and be Eli. He loved the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his strength. His journey is complete and he is with Jesus.


He is survived by his wife, Nancy, and many nieces and nephews, great nieces, great nephews, cousins, sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law.


A memorial service will be on Thursday, May 23, 2024, at 3:00 PM at Mt. Scott Funeral Home at 4205 SE 59th in Portland, OR. 97206. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Medical Teams International.






To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of Eli Kleinsasser hosted by Mt Scott Funeral Home.

Eli Kleinsasser, 87, of Milwaukie, Oregon passed away on May 2, 2024, with Nancy, his wife of 55 years at his side. He was born on October 12, 1936, in Chaseley, North Dakota to Andrew J M and Lydia Kleinsasser. He was a graduate of Harvey High School in Harvey, North Dakota, Warner Pacific College in Portland, OR and the University of Portland. On December 28, 1968, he married Nancy Swanson in Fargo, ND. He was an elementary school teacher in Mitchell, OR, Battle Ground, WA and then in the Reynolds School District in Portland, OR for 27 years. He was a substitute teacher for an additional 14 years.


His great grandfather built the farmhouse in which he was born. There was no electricity or plumbing until later years. He was the 13th of 14 children. His father had four children when his first wife died, after which he married Eli’s mother who gave birth to ten children. His father died when Eli was 3 leaving Eli’s mother to raise ten children on her own.


Eli started school in a one room schoolhouse built by his great grandfather. In his 8 years of schooling there he was usually the only one in his grade. His first language was German and in the years of World War II the children were strictly forbidden to speak German in school. He loved life on the farm but not the machinery aspect. While attending Harvey High School he stayed in Harvey during the week and came home on weekends. He was the only child in his family to graduate until a sister obtained a high school diploma as an adult.


He enjoyed gardening and giving away produce to friends and anyone he and Nancy met on daily 2-mile walks. A few huge tomatoes made it around the neighborhood for show and tell. For a few years he raised Netherland Dwarf rabbits and used them in school classes or sold some to pet stores. He liked hatching eggs for friends and in his classes at school. Eli and Nancy along with some friends climbed to the top of Mt. Hood on July 4, 1968. Although he didn’t have much interest in sports, he would watch games when Jimmy Kleinsasser was playing for the Minnesota Vikings.


Family history was of great interest to Eli, and he had a remarkable memory for retaining family Hutterite heritage. Although he was dyslexic he loved to read, albeit slowly. Walking was good exercise for him and he made many friends along the way. He was known for his jokes and he loved telling them. He wasn’t into mechanics or computers. He said he didn’t do the “intercom.”


Eli enjoyed his many years of teaching. He wasn’t above goofiness and fun in the classroom. He read Charlotte’s Web to every class he taught. Sometimes when it seemed the kids couldn’t get enough of the book and wanted to hear more he orally “added” some chapters so the story could go on. One mother asked where she could buy a copy of the book with the added chapters that her child had told her about. It was his great joy to hear from former students and their successes in life. One girl said she became a teacher because of his teaching back in third grade.


He so enjoyed phone calls speaking German with his just older brother until 2018 when he died. Eli was the last of the 14 Kleinsasser children to pass away.


His last few months of life were not fun for him but he cheerfully did all he could to get better. He enjoyed visitors in his last days and continued to tell jokes and be Eli. He loved the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his strength. His journey is complete and he is with Jesus.


He is survived by his wife, Nancy, and many nieces and nephews, great nieces, great nephews, cousins, sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law.


A memorial service will be on Thursday, May 23, 2024, at 3:00 PM at Mt. Scott Funeral Home at 4205 SE 59th in Portland, OR. 97206. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Medical Teams International.






To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of Eli Kleinsasser hosted by Mt Scott Funeral Home.

Events

Event information can be found on the Official Obituary of Eli Kleinsasser.