Cover photo for Elnathan "Nate" Claassen's Obituary
1936 Elnathan "Nate" Claassen 2023

Elnathan "Nate" Claassen

January 20, 1936 — December 25, 2023

Albuquerque

Elnathan "Nate" Claassen was born to Fred and Sarah Claassen on January 20, 1936 in Oswego, Illinois, the youngest of eight children. His brothers, Fred and Bob, and sisters, Doris, Geraldine, Betty, Elizabeth, and Virginia, all predeceased him.

An outstanding all around athlete in Oswego High School, Nate was awarded a basketball scholarship to Kansas State University. In 1958, he received his B.S. Degree from Northern Illinois University and soon entered the United States Air Force.
His distinguished 22-year career in the Air Force included three combat tours as a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War while stationed in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. He flew the F-4 Phantom fighter aircraft and the A-1 "Skyraider" attack aircraft. For his service he received numerous commendations including: The Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster; and the Air Medal with two Silver Oak Leaf Clusters, and two Oak Leaf Clusters. He was a member of the Order of Daedalians and a great patriot, with a strong love of his country.

After his combat years, he was stationed at Holloman AFB near Alamogordo, NM, where he flew T-38s, and there he met Judy, the former Judith Gleason Koestler. The couple were married May 31, 1975. When he retired from the Air Force as a Lt. Colonel in 1980 they relocated to Albuquerque, and he continued his education by earning a Master's Degree in International Politics and Business.

Nate and Judy traveled widely, including Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Canada. He enjoyed golfing with friends at Four Hills in fair weather, and skiing throughout New Mexico and Colorado in winter. He served a term as president of the Four Hills Homeowner's Association and was a charter member of the Canyon Club. When his health no longer allowed strenuous activities, he enjoyed working in his garden and was an avid reader, especially of history, politics and military memoirs.
Nate is survived by Judy, his wife of forty-eight years, and his three children: Jeffrey Claassen and wife, Charlotte Huff of Fort Worth; Rebeccah "Becky" Linder and husband, Brian of Culver City, CA; and Anne Kathryn Ziehe of Albuquerque. He is also survived by four fine grandsons, of whom he was justly proud: Rhys Claassen, Miles Linder, and Wyatt and Warren Ziehe.

Nate was a wise, kind, and thoughtful man who touched our lives and made us all better for having the blessing of knowing him.

A Memorial Service will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 9, at FRENCH-Lomas, followed by a 2:30 burial ceremony at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Elnathan "Nate" Claassen, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

Lomas & Eubank Funeral Home

10500 Lomas Blbd., Albuquerque, NM 87112

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Burial

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

2:30 - 3:30 pm (Mountain time)

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