Vi Klaseen, Community Activist – Gone, But Legacy Lives On

Violet Klaseen – mother, wife, grandmother, friend, teacher, Francophile, traveler and community activist – died suddenly Thursday morning., Feb. 25. She was 88.

Violet Grace Hardies was born Sept. 12, 1921, in Los Angeles. She graduated from North Hollywood High School, UCLA, and Garrett Biblical Institute in Evanston, Ill.

“Vi” loved to teach, travel and work for what was right. In the words of a local city official, “She exemplified the role of citizen volunteer and activist.”


Two American Youth Hostel trips to Europe in 1947 and 1948  to repair damaged youth hostels left indelible impressions of the wastefulness of war and led her to pacifism. Trained in theology, but, as a woman, not allowed to enter the ministry, Vi’s jobs in Christian youth work took her to Kingsville, Texas, and Fresno, before meeting Ted Klaseen at the Tuolomne Cooperative Farm in Modesto.

Married in 1949, she and Ted lived on the Farm, an intentional community, for 10 years, where all five of their children were born. Two years in Davis were followed by the move to Redding in 1961.

Filling in as a substitute in her youngest child’s classroom, Vi started her teaching career at Buckeye Elementary School, where she taught for 27 years.

She was able to return to France in 1969, and traveled there often, including her last trip in 2009. She loved all things French.

Vi gave freely of her time on civic and church causes. She worked on many city, county and citizen-initiated committees and groups. These included: Coordinating Council and Negotiating Team of Buckeye Teachers, Redding Parks and Recreation Commission, Shasta County Grand Jury, Shasta County Public Transportation Advisory Committee, Redding General Plan Advisory Committee, Shasta County Democratic Club, Shasta District Lay Leader of the Cal-Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church, Shasta Women’s Refuge Board of Directors, AAUW Woman of the Year, Shasta County Citizens Against Racism  Civil Rights and Social Justice award (with husband Ted).

Vi was predeceased by her parents Chris and Glee Hardies, and her brother, Edwin Hardies.

She leaves behind husband, Ted Klaseen; daughters Theo Sieg of San Rafael, Joanna Pace of El Cerrito and Elin Klaseen of Redding;, sons Sven Klaseen and Nels Klaseen of Redding; son-in-laws Ron Sieg, Clay Pace and Bob; and grandchildren Stina and Toby Sieg; Ingmar and Sofia; Ruth Pace, and many other relatives and friends worldwide, but especially in the United States and France.

The family wishes to thank the pastor, staff and members of Redding First United Methodist Church, as well as Mercy Hospital Emergency and IC Units, Golden Living Rehabilitation, and Pacific West Graphics.


The following was written by Vi Klaseen in 2003 for granddaughter Sofia Prokop as a part of Sofia’s fifth-grade class assignment on family while at Juniper Elementary School:

“I was born in downtown Los Angeles on September 12, 1921. My folks lived in Norwalk which is about 30 miles out of town. I was their first child. Three years later, my only sibling Edwin Bennett Hardies was born.

I only remember cars in the streets, but there was quite a system of street cars which ran all over the Los Angeles basin.

We moved a lot in my first ten years. I started to school in a kindergarten that was near our house. I still remember the Christmas song that I learned for a program. I also remember looking at the colored comics in the newspaper. At the same time we lived in a house that was at the top of a hill.

Later we moved to North Hollywood where I went through the 12th grade. This was in the Los Angeles School system. Even though these were the years of the depression, the school system was well funded. There was no talk, within my hearing, of no money for supplies or programs. We even had a weaving class in the eighth grade.

In 1939 I started university at UCLA. I started the same week that Germany entered Poland. I lived at home and commuted by automobile the 28 miles to Westwood. I paid fellow students 25 cents a day to ride in their cars (Jackie Robinson was also a student at the same time). The attack on Peal Harbor came in my third year. The summer of 1942 we did not have vacation, so I finished my 4 years early and graduated in February 1943.

I left the next month for graduate school at Northwestern University (Chicago, IL). I enrolled at the Methodist Seminary that was on that campus, Garrett Biblical Institute. I lived in the dormitory that was on campus, with a view of Lake Michigan. I was there two years and graduated in June 1945 with a Masters degree in Religious Education from Northwestern.

At no time in all those years did I have an automobile. I only got my own bicycle when I was about 20 years old. I had learned to ride one when I was 12. My mother never learned to ride a bicycle at all. After I finished at Northwestern, I took a job doing student religious work at the Texas College of Arts and Industries in Kingsville, Texas.

The war ended the month after I arrived in Kingsville. It was a period of returning soldiers. In 1947 and 1948 I went on two summer trips to Europe by steamship. I traveled on the U.S. Marine Tiger and the U.S. Marine Jumper. They had been troop ships, but they were turned into student ships. These ships were used for about eight years until air transport became more available. I traveled with the American Youth Hostels. I took my own bike both years.

In 1948 I left my job in Texas and came back to California. I worked in Fresno for one year with the Methodist church. There I heard of the Tuolumne Cooperative Farm, where two Methodist ministers had started a cooperative community. I visited for three weeks. I met the man who was to become my husband. I returned in November and we were married in Modesto. I got my first drivers license the month after we were married.

We lived there ten years and had five children. Sofia’s mother was number five. She was born and we left in our tenth year there.

After three years living in Davis while Ted got a Soil Science degree. We came to Redding where we have lived ever since. In 1963 Sofia’s mother started Kindergarten. Two months later her teacher decided to leave. She practically handed the class to me. I finished that year as Elin’s teacher and taught for 27 years in the same district.”


The following are memories gathered by Vi’s children:

Mom the Teacher

Mom taught at Buckeye Elementary for 27 years. She took over a kindergarten class that was already in session when the teacher had to leave suddenly. We all have slightly different memories of this start of her teaching career.

Elin, who was in her first class, remembers it as the teacher went off to China. Dad said she went to Canada. Theo perhaps the most accurate in memory, being the oldest, said that the teacher had to go to Arizona and take care of her brother who had broken his leg.

Mom was given a provisional credential and then had to travel to out-of-town classes on weekends and summers to earn the credential. Mothers working outside the home were not so common in the early ‘60’s when she started, but she said she never felt like she left us to go to work, because all five of us were going to school there at Buckeye.

She felt so fortunate to have been a schoolchild during the Progressive era of education, and in her own teaching tried to offer her students a rich variety of hand-on experiences, whether it was cooking, building, gardening, using math manipulatives, or playing with the class pet (various guinea pigs, chickens and rabbits).

If you were bored on a weekend, you could always tag along when she said, “I’m going out to school to feed the animals, do you want to come along?”

She loved teaching hands-on math in kindergarten and felt that children had to have the tactile experience of numbers before the pencil-and-paper work. She created her own system for teaching kids number sense by using piles of washers or beans or beads.

In the middle of her kindergarten classroom was a playhouse/loft. She often would remark “Don’t say to children, “Be careful going up the ladder,” or “Be careful!” because then you create cautious children, afraid to try new things.”

We five kids ended up climbing lots of ladders!

Though she taught mostly kindergarten, for a few years she taught some challenging special education classes and utilized emerging and advanced Behavior Modification techniques. She’d come home from the store with bags of M & M’s and other treats used in learning reinforcement. We’d get our hopes up, but then would realize they weren’t for us with her standard reply, “No, those are for my kids.” We were her kids, but not those kids. (Elin does remember being brought to those training sessions as a sample student and earning many of those M & M’s.)

Some of her signature activities at Buckeye were the chess club and the Kindergarten Camp Out, an overnight stay, in tents, in the kindergarten playground, including a campfire visit from the singing peace officer, and his dog. (A memorable camp out was the year the sprinklers went off in the middle of the night and no one could find the shut-off valve.) Colleague Paul Raymond tells us, “She had a larger-than-her-classroom view.”

She held offices in the Buckeye Teachers Association and in retirement faithfully attended California Retired Teachers Association meetings.

She loved teaching. She started teaching at age 42, and retired at age 69, when, among other things, her eyesight wasn’t what it had been. Apparently, not too long after she retired she learned that her new eyeglasses had been mistakenly made with her old prescription.

“If I had known that, I might have kept teaching!” she said.

Mom the Homemaker

Mom was not big on the home arts. Her mother told Violet that her job was to go to school and get a good education. She was the first one in her family to earn a college degree. Mom attributed her lack of domestic skills to the fact that her mother was so good at it.

So there she was, on the farm, with five kids and a farmer husband to cook for. She used Adele Davis’ Let’s Eat Right to Stay Fit” to learn to cook. Adele Davis was an original health food visionary, so we kids ended up with healthy eating habits.

Joanna can still remember how some of her friends’ eyes would get big as they sat down to a meal at our table and saw dishes they had never heard of before, like the grated raw turnip and fruit cocktail salad. For us, a sandwich of American cheese sandwich on white bread with Miracle Whip and a slice of tomato was a pretty exotic sandwich, having only been given whole wheat bread.

We all liked going to the frequent potlucks at the church and the Grange because of the wide choice of dishes we also never saw on our table.

Apparently those first two years they were married while on the farm, mom mostly sat inside and read novels, while Dad worked on the Farm. Theo and Joanna definitely inherited that default setting of ” When in doubt, READ!”.

It’s a misnomer to call the cooperative farm a commune. Our parents referred to it as an “intentional community”. The members were all pacifists with quite a record of activism amongst them all. We and everyone else on the farm were very poor. Mother’s family was aghast when they visited and found we didn’t even have a proper front door – just a screen and a blanket. All five kids were born on the farm within a seven-year span. The older siblings have fond memories of running around barefoot and eating lots of pomegranates.

Mom the Traveler

When Joanna tried to suggest that maybe she wouldn’t go to college, that was one of the rare times when mom told her child what to do. “College opens doors,” she admonished.

She appreciated keenly the economic power that having her own job gave her.

Of course the door that her job opened for her was the ability to travel. Those two trips to Europe right after the war so strongly shaped her world view that she wanted to go back, but the arrival of five children in seven years put that dream on hold for more than 20 years.

Her first trip back to Europe was in 1969, with 14-year-old Nels, to France and to Lebanon, to see friends she had made in Davis. Theo recalls that the friend was a Lebanese woman whom mom met in the foreign students wives club.

Joanna went to Europe with her mother in 1971, and Elin went in 1974. Dad finally went with mom after that. His preference was for staying home and going on rafting or hiking trips. They were a couple who was OK with each doing his or her own thing. That’s probably part of how they managed to stay together 60 years.

Her trips, into her 70’s, at least, were always with a rucksack on her back, taking public transportation and staying at youth hostels. The trip she took with Theo this past autumn, to France and Switzerland, was her self-acknowledged “last trip” – and so they did it a bit more deluxe: business class flight, a nice big rental car for Theo to drive, and a stay with Elin’s Swiss friends Marina and Rolf in the Swiss alps. Theo says she was a wonderful travel partner.

Nels remembers walking back to their hotel one night, on their trip, and telling her, “Wait Mom, this isn’t the way we came,” and Mom insisting that they take this different route back.

“Variety is the spice of life!” she explained. We all learned to love change. Not even the furniture arrangement in our house stayed the same. We suppose that was a way to get some of the thrill of traveling, without traveling.

Mom the Francophile

The first summer that civilians traveled to Europe, after WWII, Mom traveled on a converted troop carrier with other students on an American Youth Hostel bicycling trip. (The Raleigh bicycle she used on those trips in the late 1940’s was used by daughter Elin to commute from the train to her work in Sunnyvale in 1990).

She and the other students rode their bikes in France and Belgium, as a work party, and repaired damaged youth hostels. The next year, she was one of the trip leaders. She fell in love with France and all things French. Over the years, she took French classes, joined a French conversation group, subscribed to French magazines, and paid that extra charge on the cable bill so she could get French TV. She’d watch French game shows and tune to their news channels in times of international disasters, for the French perspective on the news.

In the ’70’s, on one of her trips, she happened to be walking by an elementary school in the Alsatian town of Wissembourg. She walked in, found the kindergarten room, and introduced herself to the teacher. She got invited home by the teacher, Annette Davi, and they became dear friends, all the way to the end of Annette’s life, just a few years ago.

The Russos family, in the mussel-growing region on the western coast of France, also became dear friends. Annick Russo ran a French language school at their farm. Mom attended for a number of summers and kept getting invited back, even after the school closed. She went back for a family wedding there and had the Russos here. She loved French food, French books, French wine and the French language, let alone her generous and hospitable friends there.

Mom the Activist

Those first two trips to war-torn Europe shaped her belief in pacifism and social justice, hence her participation in groups like Fellowship on Reconciliation, Shasta County Citizens Against Racism, Wesley Neighborhood (affordable housing,) as well as the Saturday silent vigil group against the Vietnam War that Mom and Dad participated in for years. The bicycling during those two summers in Europe were the root of her love for bike trails and public transportation. A colleague from Buckeye recalls that when the RABA (Redding Area Bus Authority) finally came into being, she pushed for a bus stop at the school. She then pitched to her colleagues that they do as many field trips as possible by taking the RABA bus. In the late ’70’s she  would occasionally ride a bike to her work at Buckeye to show support of bicycling and the need to accommodate bicycling in our transportation planning.

With her theological training Mom had wanted to become a minister, but women were not allowed into the ministry at that time. Having possibilities denied to her because of gender led her to being a big proponent of women in politics.  Joanna remembers sitting with her, in the early ’70’s at the Methodist Church’s Annual Conference (over 200 churches,) in Stockton. In the margin of her program she was keeping tally of the number of women who were recognized to speak, and the number of men recognized to speak. Supporting Hillary Clinton’s presidential run was a hallmark for her.

Here in Redding she will be remembered for her attendance at the Redding City Council meetings. Michael Pohlmeyer, a former city council member, sent these words in a card about mom’s comments at the Council meetings:

“Her suggestions were always on the mark and she always exhibited a complete and total grasp of the subject of discussion, no matter how complicated or tedious.”

Her children (well, Joanna and Elin) learned their meeting-going chops from Mom. We always feel like it would be cheating to leave a meeting before the end of the agenda, because, from Mom’s example, the only proper way to attend a meeting was to stay for the whole thing. Issues are always connected, and by seeing the big picture one gains better insight.

Volunteer service and honors received included:

Redding Parks and Recreation Commission

Shasta County Grand Jury

Shasta County Public Transportation Advisory Committee

Redding General Plan Advisory Committee

Shasta County Democratic Club

Shasta District Lay Leader, Cal-Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church

Shasta Women’s Refuge Board of Directors

AAUW Woman of the Year

SCCAR Civil Rights and Social Justice Award (with husband Ted)

Coordinating Council of Buckeye Teachers, including negotiating team


Vi Klaseen once said that as a young person, she learned that friends were to be treasured like gold. You are one of her treasures and it will mean much to us if you join us in celebrating her life.


Saturday, March 6, 2 p.m.
Redding First United Methodist Church
1825 East St., Redding, CA, 96001

We will cherish any written memories and stories you have of Violet.


The Klaseens – Ted, Theo, Sven, Nels, Joanna and Elin, and their respective families
2295 Oak Ridge
Redding, CA 96001
(530) 247-7364


Donations in Vi Klaseen’s honor may be sent to:

Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders)
333 Seventh Ave.
New York, NY 1001 


Redding First United Methodist Memorial Fund
1825 East Street
PO Box 992716, Redding, CA 96099-2716


Shasta Women’s Refuge
2280 Benton Dr
Redding, CA 96003

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25 Responses

  1. Avatar Sue says:

    What a wonderful tribute to a great lady. I met Vi at Yoga class at the 'Y'. She always had a special spot, right up front by Ce, the instructor. Her stories about France got me inspired to go and we too fell in love with France. I haven't seen her often since then, but I will never forget her. Thank you for tell her story.


  2. I will forever think of Vi Klaseen as the North State's beloved matriarch of community improvement and activism. I can still imagine her sitting in a seat near the front of Redding City Council meetings, no matter how late they lasted. I remember her getting up to speak, walking more slowly to the podium as she grew older, but her messages were ageless. She championed the poor, she urged women to stand up and run for office, and she was not beyond scolding the powerful for abuses and indiscretions.

    She was fearless but not humorless. She was an inspiration to not just women, but to all the human beings whose lives she touched.

    Rest in peace, Violet Klaseen. You are already missed.

    To the Klaseen family, thank you for sharing this incredible woman's life story with us during your most profound time of loss.

  3. Avatar LJ says:

    So sorry to hear of Vi's passing. She was a wonderful woman. I did not know her personally, but did know of the impact she had in this community. Her life deserves celebrating….

  4. Avatar Carrie Dokter says:

    I met Vi at the Shasta County Citizens Against Racism gatherings. This is a wonderful tribute to a great lady!

  5. Avatar margaret olesen says:

    Dear Klaseen Family. What a shock to open your letter at the dinner table just now and find that another of my school buddies has left the earth. Vi and I were in high school and junior college together as well as Queen Esthers (at church). Vi piqued the imagination of all us girls when she traveled to Europe and bicycled all over the place. I can't remember with whom she traveled, but it wasn't something that was widely done in those days.

    One time at college, there was a dance we attended and they played the Polka. I'd never danced a Polka, so Vi took me in hand and guided me rapidly with long steps all over the ballroom floor. What a fun time we had!

    Last year Sven was kind enough to drive Vi and Ted over to visit us here in Gardnerville, Nevada. First time we'd seen each other since Hank and I stopped by their unique home on a vacation trip to Alaska. Thank you so much, Sven. We almost waited too long.

    My admiration for Vi soared when we found out how much she was doing for her community. She will be sorely missed, because there aren't many who can take her place. She was a very special creation of God and lived her life to the fullest. What a legacy she leaves in her wonderful family! With love to all, Hank and Margaret Olesen

  6. Avatar margaret olesen says:

    P.S. I should have read the obituary first before commenting, as my memory didn't serve me well after 70 years. Anyway, I guess Vi was a guest at our dance, not a student at the school. And I now know why she went to Europe and did all the bicycling! Thanks to someone for all this great info that I never knew about my friend. What a special person she was! Margaret

  7. Avatar Alice Hinson says:

    I've known Vi for over 40 years. I met her even before we moved to Redding. I have memories of canvassing neighborhoods for candidates years ago. She was always the one who said we should do that! I've spend the last few years sitting beside her at Council meetings. It will not be the same now but she told me in the last few weeks that I should keep on going. And I will. She is indeed missed!

  8. Avatar Scott Hepburn says:

    Vi leaves memories with the many students, some now grandparents, and with the many educators she touched in profound ways. I feel fortunate to have been one of those educators. She was a mentor, as she demonstrated her philosophy of teaching through example and experience. The comments already offered touch on a portion of her many contributions. My thoughts and prayers are offered to her family. They have been fortunate indeed to have had such a wonderful person within their family. Scott Hepburn

  9. Avatar Ken Hewitt says:

    When you meet someone only once a month they may not impress you. Vi had my attention after our first meeting. My interest is in retirement legislation for retired teachers, and I can tell you that Vi kept right up-to-date on what was going on (or not going on) in Sacramento and in Washington. The had the Renaissance spirit, and lashed to her adovcacy for women – now there was a powerful combinatin. Rest well, my fair lady, rest well.
    Ken, the teacher.

  10. Avatar Joanna Klaseen Pace says:

    Thank you, Doni, for helping us share with others about our Mom. We appreciate so much reading how others were a part of her life and her work. —– Joanna, one of Vi's daughters

    • Avatar Perry Brissette says:

      Dear Joanna,

      My mother Bernice Patton knew your mother Vi very well as she worked at the Tuolumne Cooperative Farm during summers in 1950 and 1951 when she was a student at then COP (today UOP) in Stockton.

      I've been helping my mom research her history and came across this beautiful and loving tribute to your mom Vi — which I will certainly share with my mom Bernice.

      With very sincere regards,

      — Perry

  11. Avatar Budd Hodges says:

    Klaseen Family, Our deepest sympathy at your loss of a great lady. Vi will be remembered for all the wonderful things she did for women and the whole community. Truly, a life well lived.

  12. Avatar Mike Webb says:

    This was truly very sad news we received. Without knowing very much about her I could tell Vi was an extraordinary person. I wish I had had the opportunity to meet her sooner and had gotten to know her better. She seemed to know how to live a life. We should all have such an inspirational role model.
    Thank you all for sharing her story.

  13. Avatar Matt Kennedy says:

    As a school friend of Joanna and Elin, I so fondly remember laugh-packed parties at the Klaseens with our crazy, wonderful friends after a band or musical performance. I remember the Klaseen’s civic activism, the travel adventures, and the home filled with books and artifacts, each with a story to tell. All these years later, it’s all very clear. I know now that the Klaseens were and are a family rich in brains, heart, and soul. And I know now how central “Joanna and Elin’s mom” has been in shaping that enduring impression. What a life of purpose, love, and integrity Vi had! My deepest sympathies to the Klaseens for their loss.

  14. Avatar Robert and Betty McI says:

    We first met the Klaseen family when they were part of the pacifist movement in the late 50's. When we moved to Davis on New Year's Day, 1960, they were there to welcome us. Since our rented house was not available yet, Vi and Ted invited us to share their house for as long as necessary. Our four children were aged three to eight; their five were in the same age bracket. It sounds like chaos, but we remember it as a joyful adventure, thanks to the warm and loving hospitality we were offered.

    They continued to be our close friends while they were in Davis, and we were sad to have them leave for Redding. We kept in touch and visited them in Redding a number of times. The house that Ted built was a beautiful and convenient stop-over on our trips to Victoria, B.C, which became our home in 1968.

    Vi's letters kept us aware of her many activities as well as the growth and development of the family. We share the previous comment that their long and loving marriage was graced by their ability to share their different interests.

    The world is certainly a better place because of Vi's presence in it. We send our love and sympathy to Ted and the family.

  15. Avatar Robyn Molony says:

    Dearest Ted and all of my special Klassen family

    Since opening the mail today, Saturday March 6th, here in Christchurch New Zealand, I was so deeply saddenned to read of Vi's passing. My thoughts have been constantly with you, as I realise this is the special day when you will be joining together with friends to celebrate Vi's life. I would love to be able to join you, however do know I am with you in prayers. Since becoming part of the Klaseen family in 1974 – 75 as an AFS exchange student in Redding, Vi has always been my wonderful American Mom". I am indebted to Vi, Ted and all of the family who so generously opened home and hearts to enable me to have a unique experience of a lifetime. While many years have passed, I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to spend one precious night again under Ted and Vi's roof again, in late August 2009, as I passed very briefly through California enroute to the UK and Europe.

    As a tribute to Vi, I want to share the following poem:-

    The Last Farewell

    Dear Friends and Family,

    I go, but do not weep,

    I lived my life, so full, so deep,

    Throughout my life I gave my best,

    I've earned my keep, I've earned my rest.

    I never tried to be great or grand –

    I tried to be a helping hand.

    If I helped in a team, if I helped on my own,

    I was more than repaid by the good friends I have known.

    And if I went the extra mile, I did it with pleasure, it was all worthwhile.

    If I brighted your path,

    then let it be a small contribution from me.

    But mostly I cherished the family I knew,

    in a bond never ending – so precious, so true.

    Now sadly I leave you and travel alone

    through the mystic veil, to the great unknown.

    With such beautiful memories that forever will be,

    The way that I hope you'll remember me.

    Vi has left a wonderful legacy! A very special lady who has left a huge imprint in my life and, no doubt that of many others.

    My special love to Ted and all of the family.

    I promise to be in touch very soon.

  16. Avatar Farrar Richardson says:

    We'll forget Violette.

    We used to have this residential school of French near the southwest coast of France. My wife, Mireille, was the head teacher and I was the head cook.

    Vi was scheduled to show one Sunday, and we were waiting for her to call from the RR station about four miles away, but she surprised us by hiking all the way with her backpack on that very hot day in July.

    This was in 1980 or thereabout, and the school was still running on hope and a shoestring, but I guess she had a good experience because she kept coming back about every two years. She was one of our most faithful students, and became one of our most faithful friends. Her constant support was a great help[ to us during the ups and downs of our lives and our business.

    She probably took five or six refresher courses with us at our school, La Ferme, and after she stopped taking courses she would come to see us regularly. We always looked forward to her visits.

    She also became friends with, Annick, one of our regular teachers, and her family, with whom she would stay during her later visits.

    Ted came one year, too. He was not too interested in French, but he helped us build a rock wall, which later became part of a garage.

    Ten years ago, they received us hospitably in their unique and beautiful home in Redding. We were even thinking of stopping again to see them this spring.

    We were very saddened by this news, and even moreso as I remember and write this although gladdened by the memories and by the privilege of knowing her.

    Farrar Richardson

  17. Avatar Farrar Richardson says:

    How could I have done that – I meant to write , we'll never forget Violette

  18. Avatar Laura Patton says:

    I first met Vi in 1968. As a newcomer to Redding, I met her at Shasta High School with my daughter Christi. She was with her daughter Theo.
    The friendship deepened over the turbulent years of the Vietnam War. Whenever there was a silent demonstration against the war, Vi was there. She was part of a group that demonstrated at noon on Saturdays. She made her feelings known silently, but effectively, and as years passed, the protests grew. She was always there.
    When matters of dispute arose in the educational community, Vi would attend meetings and voice her concerns in her articulate way.
    She combined an active motherhood with her career teaching early learners how to stand for right decisions.
    Evenings found her studying French (we carpooled and studied French together at Shasta College). Summer vacations found her traveling to France.
    When I needed counsel, I would ask myself, “What does Vi believe?” . It was always good advice. Her family stood for tough decisions and they helped the rest of us find our way. Thank you Ted and Vi. ?We will miss your leadership, Vi Klaseen.

    Laura Patton ( aka Laura Fett, retired English teacher from Nova High School)

  19. Avatar Diana Fett Candee says:

    I will always think of Vi as the remarkable matriarch of a remarkable family. Thank you, Vi, for your steady presence over many decades, in the fight for social justice. Thank you, Vi and Ted, for showing us a marriage where we saw devotion to each other as well as encouragement of independent interests. Thank you both, for gifting the world with your extraordinary children.
    We have lost a treasure and the world desperately needs more Vi Klaseens. Let us all take our sorrow and do something active to make the world better as a tribute to her.

  20. Avatar MaryAlice Chester Ra says:

    I've been trying to think of what to write here, Vi was very much a part of my life from the time Joanna and I became friends in Junior High 1969/70…but can't really think of something she directly told me. I was telling Joanna this at the serivce; that what was forming in my mind as a "lesson", is to "put the rugs on the floor and walk on them". Not that Vi ever said that to me, but I remember the house on Mary Street, the oriental rugs on the floors, on floors covered with kids and books and dogs and cats…floors and rugs that saw such a diverse group of people tromp thru. Rugs that were already showing some wear….were they antiques when purchased, or handed down thru the family? Joanna listened to me, we were both so teary…(how great to have a friend of so many years that tears are both important, sad, happy and "normal")…and she said that the lesson I'd gleaned made sense. That when a fire was headed towards the Mary Street house, after getting Grandma Hardies out of the back house, Vi ran in and took her purse and something else and one rug she could roll up and carry! It was a wonderful tagline to my memories and thoughts. Vi and Ted and so many others of that generation and time/place…they all taught us by actions what we needed to learn. Later I've found words to go with that dedication to social justice and peace, but I think for a 12 or 13 year old the actions spoke most to me.

  21. Avatar Famille Russo says:

    Vi was like a mother, grandmother and great grandmother to us. We had known her for 25 years. She used to visit us every second year and enjoyed sharing the life of our village.

    First year we met, she used to cycle to the beach in Royan and back to spend the afternoon with us.Vi has attended the wedding of our 3 children and I guess she enjoyed it a lot.

    I should say she enjoyed whatever was French: life, food, entertainments in our small village.

    I am so glad we finally decided to visit her and most of her family in California, 2 years ago.

    We think she was very SPECIAL.

    She will always be in our hearts.

  22. Avatar Tim McLane says:

    Hi dear friends…

    How I miss all of you! My life has taken turns that has led me far from the natural peace and spirituality of Northern California — it's like a native country that your family and ours shared when I was a child and where I assume all of you live now. I hope you are well.

    Vi was the perfect aunt to us since my earliest years. I know my mother loved her company would plan visits often. How I miss those days. One time—about 1957 or so, Theo or Sven, help me with the date if you remember, she brought us gallons and gallons of hard boiled quail eggs from some project that Ted was involved in at Davis. Her quiet, unassuming way and calm, reasonable approach taught me such dignity. Her heartfelt and sincere dedication to social causes and service to humanity were the qualities we sought out in our friends in the 1950s and 60s. I will always look up to her as a woman of perfect faith, of fewness of words and abundance of deeds. I only hope that I can end my life having acquired even a small measure of her calmness and humility.

    I am living in Los Angeles and see my three grown kids, two of which have their own kids. Please let me know how you are doing. You can email me at or call me 310-978-3040

    Loving regards,

    Tim McLane

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  24. Avatar Bryce Babcock says:


    I wonder if you remember me? I joined the TCF "family" as a single person, left and returned as a newly married husband. Married to Carol Burcham, whose father was one of the founders of the Co-Op Farm. My happiest days there involved working with you in the cow dairy. I regret very much losing contact with you, and your family. Sad to learn of Vi's death. The Klaseens were my favorite Farm family!! I remember Theo Sven and Nels! I live now in Cottonwood, AZ, married to my 2nd wife, a dear Filipina lady, 30 years my junior! I've just written and published an autobiography which recounts some of my memories of life at TCF. The book is called "The Peripatetic Perambulations of a Fiddlefoot." You can check it out by doing a search for that title, or a search for Bryce Babcock at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. My email is I'd love to re-establish contact! So glad I found this site on the internet.

    Bryce Babcock

    1417 E. Navajo St.

    Cottonwood, AZ 86326