Gus is home with Jesus
On February 7, 2012, Gus heard the doctor say that he had cancer in his pancreas and liver, and on March 17, 2012 he left earth for his home with Jesus. Gus was 84 and still looked like he did when I met him nearly 35 years ago. He and Diane have been diligent to walk every day and eat healthy all the years I’ve known them. This year in May they would have celebrated their 47th anniversary. Between them they have seven children, plus one adopted child, 22 grandchildren, and 22 great grandchildren—more now since this article was written. Their testimony is one of being totally transformed by the grace of God.
Both had failed marriages early in their life and Gus was a confirmed alcoholic. But they encountered the true and living God and their lives were changed for eternity. What AA did not do for Gus, Jesus did; and, as he testified, in an instant he was delivered from alcohol addiction. Since then, he and Diane spent their lives helping others. Although he rarely mentioned it, he was ordained as a minister by his pastor at the Lord’s House in the 1970’s.
While doing prison ministry they met a pregnant lady who asked them to take her baby at birth and raise her. Their consent did not come easy. By this time, they had raised their seven children and all were married and had families of their own. They cried out to God for His leading and, after dying to self, they agreed. Baby Willetta was born prematurely. She was kept in the NICU for several weeks then released to Gus and Diane. When Willetta was just over a year old, her birth mother was released from prison and Gus and Diane brought her to live with them. Within a short time, she ran back to her former life and ended back up in prison. After a while, Gus and Diane were granted permanent custody of Willetta and finally when she was 12 years old, they were permitted to finalize her adoption. What a happy, happy girl. She loves her parents so much; and Jesus is more than life to her. She is a blessing to her family, her friends, and her church. She graduated from Teen Mania Honor Academy in Texas and spent some time on a mission trip to China.
Over their 46 years of marriage, Gus and Diane continued to be active in church, Bible Studies, and volunteering time for miscellaneous jobs that needed to be done around the church as well as for numerous people at home. His hobby was carving small crosses out of wood and making them into necklaces that he gave away. Many of us had the privilege of spending some time with them in the summer at their cottage in the Upper Peninsula.
If ever a man loved a woman and a woman loved a man, it was Gus and Diane. They did everything together after he retired. They fasted every Thursday for their children. They were on the lookout for people they could help—especially the less fortunate. They brought joy wherever they went.
Thank You Jesus for the life of Gus and Diane Hassenrik. We’ve all been touched by You through their lives. Give us more couples like them! Thank You for the strength and grace you give to Diane as she continues to bring glory to You on this journey of life without her husband.