Nicholas William Classen
August 21, 1936 – May 21, 2020
Nicholas William (Nick) Classen, 83, of Austin died on Thursday, May 21, 2020. He was the son of Ashley Green Classen of LaCygne, Kansas, and Hilda Molesworth Classen of Montell, Texas and Austin, Texas; and was born in El Paso, Texas on August 21, 1936.
Nick grew up in El Paso and attended Coldwell Elementary School and Austin High School in El Paso, and completed high school at the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, NM. He then attended and graduated from the University of Kansas (Lawrence, KS) in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering and received a Master of Science Degree in Sanitary (now Environmental) Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1961. He was a Licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Texas and was a Life Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He was a member of the Texas Water Pollution Control Association, Water Pollution Control Federation, Texas Water and Wastewater Association, Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, a 60-year member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, charter member of Balcones Toastmasters Club in Austin, Kiwanis International, English Speaking Union, the Town Lake Breakfast Club, and was a 15-Gallon Blood Donor at the Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas. Nick worked in the environmental engineering programs of agencies of the State of Texas for over 40 years, including the Texas Department of Health and in the Governor’s office under Governor Preston Smith, before retiring in 2000. In his retirement, he worked part time for 10 years for a local funeral home, but played the bagpipes for services at most of the funeral homes in Austin and Central Texas.
Nick was a well known bagpiper in the Austin area and had the longest tenure of piping in Austin and Central Texas of any piper in the area. He began learning in 1961, and it became his passion and avocation from that time until the end of his life. He studied bagpiping under the late, world famous piper Seumas MacNeill of Glasgow Scotland, and a number of nationally known pipers in the United States and Canada. His Scottish and bagpipe-related activities included teaching piping for over 40 years in Austin, member of pipe bands in Houston, San Antonio and Austin; including the Capitol City Highlanders Pipe Band, which he founded in 1982 and served as Pipe Major until 2010. He had the honor of piping for Texas Governors John Connally, Preston Smith, Mark White and William Clements; millionaire publisher Malcolm Forbes, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Great Britain, Ladybird Johnson, and numerous state and local dignitaries and celebrities.
He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Ashley Green Classen and Hilda Molesworth Classen; and is survived by his wife, Linda S. Classen; son Wade A. Classen and his wife Linda of Austin, adopted daughter Lori Schneider of Bryan, Texas, sister Dr. Jane C. Simon and husband Dr. Geza Simon of Minneapolis, MN, brother – The Rev. Dr. Ashley M. Classen and wife Dr. E. Jo Bailey of Keller, Texas, five grandchildren, stepsons Dr. Kenneth Robinson, Mark Robinson, and Keith Robinson, and several nieces and nephews and other family members.
It was Nick’s wish that on this occasion of his last party, Scottish music be played on the pipes and drums while all his friends are served beer and plenty to eat. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will celebrate his life with family and friends at a later date. A private funeral service will be held at Weed-Corley-Fish with a private burial at Cook-Walden Forest Oaks Cemetery and Memorial Park in Austin. For those desiring, memorial contributions may be made to the Oak Hill United Methodist Church Endowment Fund and The Boy Scouts of America, Capitol Area Council in Austin.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Nicholas William Classen
June 6, 2020
One of my favorite memories across my life in Austin is All Saints Day at St Andrews Episcopal School, when Nick Classen stood like a cheery sentinel to pipe all comers into the building. ESU functions were made special by the powerfully emotional tone his piping gave to the commencing of those events. Alex and I are thankful for having known him and share the sorrow of his passing.
May 31, 2020
We send our love and sympathy to the Classen family. What a unique and talented man he was and so willing to share his gifts. He will be missed. Blessings from the. Braziels
May 27, 2020
So sad to learn of Nicks passing. I have been a lifelong fan of that lovely man... I was planning on his piping me on-wards. My condolences to his family, His contributions to this world were widely appreciated