The family of Marj and Gord Classen have joined with MADD Canada to place a memorial road sign near the site where the couple was tragically killed by an impaired driver in 2020.
The active, spirited couple had just moved to Saskatoon upon their retirement, and were looking forward to everything this new chapter in their lives had to offer. On January 23, 2020, they were on their way home from visiting Marj’s mother when an impaired driver veered out of his lane on Highway 41 and crashed head-on into the Classen’s vehicle. Marj died at the crash scene. Gord died in hospital three weeks later, on February 14.On June 10, 2022, their family gathered for a small private ceremony to unveil a new memorial road sign erected in their memory on Highway 41 by Aberdeen. Showing Marj and Gord’s names and MADD Canada’s red ribbon image, the sign is a powerful reminder of the importance of always driving sober.
Their children Bryce, Greg and Lori, and their families, hope the sign will prevents others from experiencing their tragic loss and grief. “We are very honoured that MADD Canada is dedicating a memorial sign in remembrance of our parents and to also help raise awareness about the dangers of impaired driving. This tragedy has been life changing as we have had to adjust to our new way of life without our foundation. This was a senseless act that could have been prevented. Due to these careless actions, a vibrant couple has lost their lives far too soon.”
Every year, hundreds of people are killed and tens of thousands are injured in impairment-related crashes that are entirely preventable.Memorial road signs are a way of paying tribute to the innocent victims of impaired driving, and raising awareness about the devastation it causes.
“Roadside memorial signs are a powerful and moving way to symbolize the tragic consequences of impaired driving,” said MADD Canada National President Jaymie-Lyne Hancock. “Marj and Gord Classen were taken from their family, friends and community because of one person’s selfish and senseless choice to drive impaired. Together with the Classen family, we honour their memories and hope that everyone who sees this sign understands what is truly at stake when someone drives impaired.”
The Classen’s sign is the third memorial road sign for impaired driving victims in Saskatchewan. The first two signs honour Jordan and Chanda Van de Vorst and their two children, Kamryn, and Miguire, who were killed by an impaired driver in January 2016, and Danille Kerpan, who was killed by an impaired driver in October 2014.
MADD Canada thanks the Classen family for their strength, and the Government of Saskatchewan for its commitment to raising awareness of this violent crime.
MADD Canada has collaborated with governments in other provinces, including Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, to install memorial signs for victims of impaired driving.