On August 24, 2011, my dearest friend of 27 years, Elmer Klassen passed away in a tragic accident.
Since his tragic and untimely passing I have had the opportunity for much reflection, with the greatest part of that reflection devoted to the long and happy friendship my wife, daughter and I shared with Elmer.
We were destined to meet and our connection with each other was almost instantaneous. Our friendship blossomed quickly as we shared many common interests such as the love of music, both listening and playing, particularly jazz. We also shared an intense love of boats and water, technology, electronics, doing work with both our brains and hands, and of course beer. This included reading about beer, talking about beer, making beer, and, it goes without saying, drinking beer.
Our friendship was forged during the time we completed a two year program in computer maintenance technology together, with he completing the course in 10 months and I in 11.
We moved on to what in retrospect was probably the most exciting time in our lives. Elmer attained a position with General Office Machines, A company that sold and maintained complex money counting, sorting and wrapping equipment. This unique blend of mechanical and electronic and computer technologies was perfect for Elmer's prodigious talents and he quickly became an invaluable asset to General Office Machines.
I landed a position with Strachan Computers and cut my teeth on the very first personal computers ever available. This was during a time when there was no internet or Google so the solutions that both Elmer and I needed to perform our duties for our respective companies came from our fertile and very active minds and over time we both proved ourselves more than worthy of the task.
A few years after we met, our daughter Denise was born. Both Elmer and his brother Rick lived with Donna and I at the time so they have both been an integral and cherished part of our daughter's life.
Naturally they became uncle Elmer and uncle Rick and they, along with our beautiful circle of friends enriched Denise's life with love, caring and excellent guidance. We only had a babysitter 2 times during Denise's childhood because she came with us wherever we went and this close association, particularly with Elmer, we had not only developed our own unique individual bonds with Elmer but Donna, Denise and I developed an additional bond with us as a family being one part of that bond and Elmer the other.
Elmer was the most giving, caring and easy going person I have ever known and probably will ever know. The richness of his love and affection have provided me with comfort and happiness that only a true friend can give. I only hope that I was able to provide the same for him during our years together.
Our friendship was so special that we could sit and talk for hours or like countless other times, sit and say nothing for hours and feel each as close to the other in heart and mind. We spoke sometimes about when we sat on the boat for hours without saying a word and we were both in agreement that those times were equally as gratifying as the times when we talked endlessly. Just being together was gratifying for both of us.
I was so fortunate to have seen Elmer the day before his death and our last words to each other were, as always, I love you.
Farewell Elmie, my brother of a different mother. I will see you when I come to join our ancestors.