Anna Steele Vienna’s Obituary (1931 – 2022) – Fresno, CA

Anna Joy (Ann) Steele Wiens was born on June 22, 1931 to Peter A. & Katie Classen in Meade, KS. Ann’s family was part of the Mennonite community that had immigrated originally from Friesland (Netherlands), then Prussia, then the Molotchna colony, Ukraine. She was raised in a Plautdietsch (Low German)-speaking household and didn’t speak English until she started grammar school. The family moved from Kansas during the dust bowl era first going to Dallas, OR then to Dinuba, CA. Ann went to Immanuel Academy for her freshman year and then to Dinuba High School. She married Hogan Steele in 1950 while he was in the air force. She started having babies right away, having four girls all only 15 months apart! They lived in a tiny little trailer on each air base Hogan served on as he worked as a B-36, and later, a jet mechanic.
After Hogan’s honorable discharge, they moved to Fresno where Hogan worked as a private pilot, FAA-approved instructor, mechanic, and examiner, as well as being a jet mechanic for the 144th Air National Guard. At one time later in their lives Ann & Hogan owned & operated Steele Aviation and owned Sierra Sky Park. Ann learned to fly Cessna herself during these years.
They were both active in their churches and over time they belonged to Cedar Avenue Baptist, Peoples’, Valley Christian Center, and, finally, First Presbyterian Churches. They bought their first home two blocks north of the old Valley Children’s Hospital at Shields & Millbrook. It is remembered by the family as being the furthest north of any housing track at that time. There were grapevines across the street and roosters crowing at an old farm not far away. Ann lived there for 66 years! She felt led by the LORD to sell and move into Palm Village in Reedley, which is a Mennonite-run retirement community.
As a young mother she was president of the Centennial Elementary School PTA and helped establish the Pioneer Girls club at the family’s church. She also helped with Girl Scouts.
Later, she was an officer in Women’s Aglow Fellowship and a favored speaker for them. The Evangelical Home benefitted from their board members work for them. She loved to quilt, crochet, and sew. When her four girls were little, she often made matching outfits for all four of them and herself. Ann also loved gardening and always had the loveliest garden on the block. During her middle years, she and Hogan were foster parents to 6 children and had numerous people live with them for various periods of time throughout their marriage. They began to travel extensively in their trailer home after his heart attacks. They loved helping with Sowers and getting to know all kinds of people all over the nation that they met at various RV parks. After Hogan’s death in 2001, she served as a volunteer at Hinds Hospice (from which both she and Hogan ultimately passed.)
Eleven years after Hogan’s death, Ann married Victor J. Wiens whom she met at First Presbyterian Church. He was raised Mennonite and spoke Plautdietsch! He had lost his wife earlier and began to fall in love with mom when she approached him one time at church and spoke to him in Low German. Sadly, they only had four years together before his death, but during that time many of Ann’s family often remarked that she was her “best self” with Vic.
Ann died at the age of 90 years and 11 months from sepsis brought on by a perforated intestine. Her ashes will be interned at Clovis Cemetery next to Hogan. She is survived by two living daughters Deborah Hughes, Linda Koomjan, and son Larry Bye. She was preceded in death by her daughters Becky Keith and Evelyn Rendino, as well as her husband of 51-years, Hogan Steele. She had 12 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother Leo Classen of Chico, and twin sisters, Marian Smith of Reedley & Melvina Wingo of Eagle, ID.
Remembrances may be sent to Hinds Hospice or your favorite charity.
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Published by Farewell Funeral Service – Palm Bluffs on Jun. 12, 2022.

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