Carl Dean Thiessen Remembrance
Carl Dean Thiessen was born to Dietrich Jona & Anna Marie Thiessen on December 20, 1929 on their farm located in Homestead, Oklahoma. The family worshiped at the Mennonite Brethren Church located nearby in Fairview, Oklahoma. Due to the poor farming conditions in 1935, Dietrich decided to move the family to NE Oklahoma near the Mennonite Church located in Collinsville, Oklahoma. They settled on a farm about two miles east of “German Corner” where the Mennonite Brethren church was located. The land was also near their son, Walter’s farm. Carl’s family lived & worked the farm/dairy until 1964.
Carl attended Owasso schools from 1st grade thru graduation in 1947. While attending Owasso High School, he was in the band and active in FFA (even President for one year). In 1946, he met Lola Gartrell, thanks to his sister-in-law, Edith Thiessen. She’d invited Lola to Sunday School at the MB church which was only a couple blocks from her home. Carl was a 17 yr old Junior and Lola was a 14 yr old Freshman. They quickly became a popular couple around OHS and after Lola graduated in 1950, they became engaged. They were married January 28, 1951, at the Mennonite Church, just a few weeks before Carl was scheduled to enter boot camp with the U.S. Air Force.
Carl entered the U.S. Air Force in February 1951 and served until February 1955. He trained to become a Jet Aircraft Maintenance Technician, and rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant Technical 1st Class by December 1953. After spending nearly 6 months of Aircraft & Engine training in Wichita Falls, Texas, he was finally assigned to Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona. Carl & Lola moved there and in February 1952, where their daughter, Elaine Cherie, was born. When his time of service ended in February 1955, they spent a month visiting relatives in California and then made their way home to the Owasso/Collinsville area.
They finally settled on the Thiessen “homestead” where he & his brothers built a small home for their parents. Carl then moved his family into the main house in early 1956, where he’d grown up. In October 1956, their first son, Glenn Dean, was born and in March 1961, their second son, Karl Dwayne, was born, both in Tulsa. In the spring of 1964, Carl & Lola moved their family of five to a home they’d had built in Verdigris, Oklahoma. Carl lived in that home until 2019, over 55 years.
Over the years Carl worked various jobs. After leaving the Air Force, he began working for McDonnel Douglas, using his military aircraft maintenance experience. However, since he didn’t have a “civilian” A & E license, he wasn’t able to stay with them very long. He finally joined a wholesale hardware supply company, Star Hardware. While he was working at Star Hardware, he contined to work the farm/dairy full time in the evenings and weekends. After moving away from the farm in 1964, Carl realized he needed extra finances for the family and began working part-time with a convenience store chain name Git-N-Go. Once Lola began working full-time a few years later, he was able to quit that part-time job. After Star Hardware closed for business, he worked for a few other wholesale hardware sales companies such as Wesche, Gates, Locke Plumbing and later a retail place named Builder’s Square. He finally retired in 1994.
On a personal note, Carl loved being involved with his church. Over the years from 1955 until 2019, Carl and Lola attended MB church in Collinsville; Parkside MB church in Tulsa; Tulsa Christian Fellowship in Tulsa; Koinonia church in Claremore; Glenhaven Free Methodist in Tulsa; and finally the past 20 years at the Church of the Nazarene in Claremore, OK. During those years, Carl & Lola would often sing duets together, sometimes with Lola accompanying on the piano. During his years at the Collinsville Mennonite church, he often sang in the men’s quartets; he even participated in some live radio broadcasts with the quartets at a radio station in Claremore.
Carl is survived by his children; Elaine (husband John I. Blair IV); Glenn Thiessen; Karl Dwayne (wife Diana); Grandchildren are: John Blair (wife Carrie), Cherie Nicholson (husband Andy); Brittney Bishop (husband Jason); Rachel, Jordan & Josh Thiessen. Great-Grandchildren are: Bailey, Ben, Bradley Blair; David James & Faith Anna Nicholson; Parker, Ty, Chase , Eleanor Bishop; Alexander Hoosier.
Carl is preceded in death by his wife, Lola Eleanor Thiessen; his parents Dietrich Jona & Anna Marie Thiessen; his siblings Walter, Jona, Ruby(Clevenger), Alvin, Franklin, Susan(Leppke), Louis, & Louella (Gossen).
Viewing at Rice Funeral Home, Claremore, OK Thursday, June 11, 2020.
Family will be receiving visitors from 6 -8 p.m. Viewing also available during the day 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Service to be held at Claremore Church of the Nazarene, Friday, June 12, 2020 at 1:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Carl to one of the following:
New Life Ranch Mission 19:14 Scholarship Fund
160 New Life Ranch
Colcord, OK 74338
Claremore Nazarene Church
1336 N. Dorothy
Claremore, OK 74017
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