Clara Elsie Thiessen

July 30, 1938February 22, 2021

Clara Elsie Thiessen was born in Clearbrook, B.C. on July 30, 1938, the 3rd of 5 children, to John P. and Helena Thiessen. After attending elementary school in N. Poplar and the Abbotsford Airport Barracks, she completed her high school at the MEI where she was class valedictorian in grade 13. Music was an early passion for Clara. She started piano lessons at the age of 5, continuing her studies under Menno Neufeld, winning the Muriel Erskine Trophy for the highest marks (85%) in her performer and teacher combined ARCT exam.

Clara attended MBBI (now CBC) and MBBC in Winnipeg. She studied piano with Wanda Dyck and Marjorie Wiens. She accompanied the oratorio choir under Victor Martens, learning the entire Messiah. Clara returned to MBBI to teach piano & theory and work in the library. At Goshen College she earned a BA in Music. After studies at UBC she again returned to MBBI where her greatest joy was accompanying the choir. A tour of Europe with the choir was her first international travel but not her last.

Clara had a strong faith. She was baptized at age 15 and joined the Clearbrook MB church where she played for church and choirs and made many lifelong friends.

In 1980 Clara visited her sister Ruth and family in Botswana, enjoying her first safari. In 2001 she visited Ruth and Art in Botswana with sister Edith. Those were special times.

After retirement she moved to Abbotsford, joining her 4 siblings and their spouses there. She volunteered as a driver taking patients to appointments all over the Fraser Valley and Vancouver. Her time as a volunteer at Mennonite historical Society gave her many enjoyable hours. At the instigation of nieces and nephews, she enjoyed the research and working on a major project writing a family history, The John and Helena Thiessen Family Story, published in 2010.

Clara experienced many medical challenges including scoliosis. She persevered and with stubbornness and determination lived a long life. She had two major back surgeries, when she was 13 years old and again in 1984. When her health began to seriously deteriorate she moved to Tabor Manor and later Tabor Court, where she accompanied the choir as well as playing for the Christmas Carol sing along for the residents. After a 2-week stay in Abbotsford Regional Hospital. Clara peacefully slipped away on February 22nd.

Clara lived a life of many challenges but met them with courage and faith. She also experienced many times of rich blessings and experience. Now she is, indeed, “Accepted in the Beloved.”

Predeceased by her parents, sister Alma and brother-in-law Abe, and nephew Brad, she leaves to cherish the memory of pianist extraordinaire, beloved sister, aunt and friend, sister Edith (George), brother Vic (Mary) and sister Ruth (Art), and many nieces, nephews and friends. Following the funeral service, Clara will be laid to rest above the grave of her mother at Maclure Road Mennonite Cemetery.

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Clara Elsie Thiessen

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Ruth Thiessen

February 25, 2021

You were sandwiched in the middle of the 5 of us. Now we're only 3. Cleaning out your room at Tabor Court today was a powerful reminder of your life - your love of music, your love of your family and your love of God.