“I’d always give him a big hug and told him I loved him”: Daughter remembers dad after tragic death on ice

Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 9:34 PM CST
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BEMIDJI, Minn. (Valley News Live) -A Christmas Eve tragedy is acting as a safety reminder for everyone.

Twila Jesso is remembering her dad.

“I’d always give him a big hug and told him I loved him every time I talked to him,” she said.

She says she and her father John Klasen 3rd had a very special bond.

“We were very close,” Jesso said. ”Since he retired we spent a lot of time together camping and doing other things.”

Now all she has are the memories they shared together.

“I never took for granted every moment I had with him,” she said.

On Christmas Eve, Klasen was spending the day enjoying his love for ice fishing on Lake Bemidji.

“My grandpa asked him if there was enough ice and my dad said it was 12 inches. He said it’s good,” said Jesso. “He had been out there previously.”

Being on the ice can often be unpredictable.

The vehicle John and his life partner Marcy were riding in fell through the ice on the lake.

Marcy was able to escape, but John had to be pulled from the water by rescuers.

He was 69 years old.

“What was going through my mind was that he was going to make it,” said Jesso.

Unfortunately, he did not. Now she has to live life without him.

“We have a cabin we go to every year in Alexandria. I am thinking about how he won’t be there,” Jesso said.

Although her dad won’t physically be around, there are a few traits Twila says she will always remember about her father.

“His simple honest advice and truth, and his excitement about going ice fishing,” she said.

She has a message for those looking to go out on the ice.

“I wouldn’t want an event like this to scare other people from going. I just would like to see people making sure that they are safe.”

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