Obituaries

Henry Pokornik

A photo of Henry Pokornik

It is with saddened heart to announce the passing of Henry Frank Pokornik on Wednesday March 4, 2020 at the age of 90.  Henry was the beloved husband of Phyllis (Payne) Pokornik and son of the late Bessie and Frank Pokornik.  He is survived by his siblings Frank Pokornik and Mary Goodison and was predeceased by his brother Jerry Pokornik.

Henry was a certified welder and machinist.  He was a family member of the Frank Pokornik & Sons business.  He was the person who designed and fabricated the cradle that holds the Town of Blenheim bell.   He will be remembered for many years to come on New Years Eve when everyone gathers to ring in the new year.

There will be no visitation or service.  Cremation has taken place.  In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Chatham-Kent Hospice.

John Nealey

A photo of John Nealey

John William Nealey of Chatham and formerly of Blenheim passed away at the Chatham-Kent Hospice on Monday March 2, 2020 at the age of 78 years.  He will be missed by his loving wife Linda (McLean) Nealey who he was married to for over 54 years and by his sons Glen Nealey, Len Nealey and John Nealey.  Survived by his siblings Jim Rooks, Lee Rooks, Glenna Skarbo, Ian Rooks, Lynn (Shawn) Noury and Maureen Rooks.  Predeceased by his sister Sharon Anderson.

John was raised near Bothwell and attended High School in Glencoe.  He served in the Army being stationed in Egypt.  He drove truck for many years until his retirement and was able to see many parts of Canada and the United States with Linda by his side.

Cremation has taken place.  A Funeral Service for John will be held at the Blenheim Community Funeral Home on Sunday March 8, 2020 at 1:00 p.m.  Friends wishing to remember him are asked to consider the Chatham-Kent Hospice or the Cancer Society.  Online condolences for the family and memorial donations may be left at www.blenhiemcommunityfuneralhome.com

Madeline Donahue

A photo of Madeline Donahue

Madeline Donahue, much loved mother of Michael and his wife Angela and grandmother of William and Christopher, passed away at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance on Sunday February 23, 2020.   She was predeceased by her husband Bill in 1971.

Madeline was born in Tilbury 88 years ago; one of 7 children born to Leah and Adelore Benoit and is survived by one sister Lorine Goodreau of Tilbury.  She was predeceased by her sisters Dorothy McKinlay, Corine Bechard, Bertha Pickering, and her brothers Clarence and Leo Benoit.

Madeline was a part of the Southwestern Regional Centre family, working in the dietary department until her retirement.  She was a kind and caring person who made friends with ease.  Madeline had a great sense of humor and a contagious laugh.  She loved golfing, playing cards, and watching Ohio State football as well as making rice crispy treats and strawberry jam with her grandsons. She will be dearly missed by her lifelong friend and co-worker, Molly Meloche of Rondeau, and all the wonderful friends she made at the Chatham Retirement Resort.

On her retirement Madeline spent six months of each year with Michael and Angela in California where she was able to form an unbreakable bond with her grandsons whom she simply adored.

It was Madeline’s wish that this stage of her life be regarded with quiet dignity.  Cremation will take place and her urn will be interred with her husband Bill in California.

Ron Jessome

A photo of Ron Jessome

Ronald Thomas Jessome

November 7, 1950 – February 26, 2020

Ron Jessome – formerly of Gorrie, ON, recently of Chatham, ON – passed away suddenly on Wednesday, February 26 at 69 years of age. Ron is survived by his children Matthew and Sarah, Rachel, Kaitlyn (Justin), and his best friend Cindy Davis. Beloved Papa to granddaughters Sophie, Charlotte and Lyla. Ron was predeceased by his father Jerome Jessome. He will be dearly missed by his mother Aline Jessome, his siblings Allan and Marilyn, Michael and Mona, Elizabeth and Al, and Lorraine. He was loved by his many nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews and many friends. Ron especially enjoyed spending time with his little buddy, Jeremy.

Ron was a kind, friendly man with a great sense of humour and the gift of gab. He had the wonderful ability of quickly making friends wherever he went. He enjoyed reading, playing cribbage and taking in the sceneries from his RV (Ron’s Rig). He was a loyal Montreal Canadiens fan and enjoyed watching curling, football and drag racing.

As per Ron’s wishes, his body has been donated to McMaster University School of Medicine.

A Celebration of Life will take place at a later date.

If friends so desire, donations can be made to the Canadian Lung Association, Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada, or a charity of one’s choosing.

Cheers, Ron. We love you.

Bonnie Greene

A photo of Bonnie Greene

Service:

Private

Bonnie Lynn Greene, passed away at the Blenheim Community Village on Wednesday February 26, 2020.  She will be missed and always loved by her daughter and son-in-law Melissa & Doug Jansen and by her grandchildren Tanner, Taylor, Hunter and Maci.

Bonnie was born in St. Catharines, Ontario on April 25, 1951.  She was the last member of her family, having been predeceased by her mother Doris (Hoy) Knight in 2017, her father William Knight in 2019, brother Rick Knight in 2019 and sister Sherry Knight as an infant.

Bonnie was a kind and passionate person and never one to complain. She spent time with groups such as Parents Without Partners,  Beginning Experience and the CNIB. Bonnie worked for a number of years in Sarnia at the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation.

Cremation has taken place.  Friends wishing to remember Bonnie with a memorial donation are asked to consider the CNIB.

Christina Blanchette

A photo of Christina Blanchette

Visitation:

Blenheim Community Funeral Home
Sunday February 23, 2020
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

After a rich and wonderful life, Christina Blanchette passed away peacefully at the Blenheim Community Village on Friday February 21, 2020.  Born in Holland 97 years ago to her late parents Christian & Wilhelmina Van Zeist, Christina was the last member of her family, having been predeceased by her sisters Dien Hamer and Geret Weggalar as well as her brothers Gerrit, Herman, Rene and Albert Van Zeist.

Christina met and married her husband William Blanchette who was a Canadian soldier stationed in Holland.  After the war she and their first child Elise boarded a ship with six hundred other war brides and their children and headed to Canada where she was reunited with William.  Their family would grow to include six children; Elise Roy (late John), Rose Hamilton (John), Marianne Blanchette, Emile Blanchette (Connie), Raymond Blanchette (Pat) and Norman Blanchette.  Following William’s death in 1999, Christina moved to Blenheim to be closer to her family.  She enjoyed visits with her grandchildren Mark, Rick, Deb, Michael, Nicole, Jason, Wade, Ben, Katie, Tiffany and Josh as well as 19 great-grandchildren.

A time of visitation will take place at the Blenheim Community Funeral Home on Sunday February 23, 2020 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.  Cremation will follow.  Friends wishing to remember Christina with a memorial donation are asked to consider the Chatham-Kent Quilters Guild.

Linda Breese

A photo of Linda Breese

Service:

Blenheim Community Funeral Home
Wednesday February 19, 2020
1:00 p.m.

Visitation:

Blenheim Community Funeral Home
Wednesday February 19, 2020
11:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Linda Breese, much loved wife of Ken Breese passed away at home on Saturday February 15, 2020.  Linda was born in Chatham 65 years ago to the late George & Mary Lou (Dawson) Crewe-Thompson and is survived by her sisters Lee & Earl Davidson and Charlene & John Ireland, her brothers Ed & Sheri Thompson and Michael & Sharla Thompson and her chosen sister Julie Zuo.

Linda and the late George Randall were the very proud parents of three boys; George Randall, Ed Randall and Tim & Missy Randall.  When Linda married Ken in 1995, her family grew to include Tina Wood and Adam Breese.  She will be remembered fondly by her grandchildren Geordan, Grace, Gabriel, Michael, Samantha, Dylon, Kaitlynn, Dylan, Ella, Alexa, Jocelyn, Megan and Sabrina, her great-grandchildren James, D-Andre and Luka, many nieces & nephews and her fur family.

It is said that you can take a child out of the country but you can’t take the country out of a child and Linda was a true example of that.  She loved the country.  She loved back yard barbeques and road trips with her family.  She loved loud music and a good game of euchre.  She was a hard working person whose faith in God was shown through the way she respected the world including all of her family friends over the years.

Family and friends are invited to the Blenheim Community Funeral Home on Wednesday February 19, 2020 where visitation will take place from 11:00 – 1:00 p.m.  A Funeral Service for Linda will take place at 1:00 p.m.  Refreshments will follow at Julie’s Restaurant.

Friends wishing to remember Linda with a memorial donation are asked to consider addressing two of her greatest concerns, the Lung Association in order to help others with COPD and the Pet & Wildlife Rescue to help animals.

Lee Kirkwood

A photo of Lee Kirkwood

Service:

Private

Surrounded by his loving family, Lee Kirkwood of Blenheim passed away at the Chatham-Kent Hospice on Friday February 14, 2020 at the age of 77 years.  He leaves behind his sons Chris & Janice Kirkwood and Troy & Kelly Kirkwood both of Blenheim and his daughter Lindsay & Glenn Soucie of Amherstburg. He was the proud grandfather of Asher, Cohen, AJ, Charlotte, Brandon, Kashia, Shae-Lyn, Wade, Todd and Alexa and great-grandfather of Seth, Austin, Brady, Charlee and Noah.

Lee was one of four children born to the late Clarence & Elsie Kirkwood.  He is survived by his brother Gerry and his sister-in-law Pauline Kirkwood.  He was predeceased by his brother Clare Kirkwood and his sister Lorraine and her husband Ray Hands.

Lee worked for many years as the Manager of the Goderich Community Credit Union, retiring in 1999 and was a member of the London Real Estate Board.  He was an avid Red Wings fan who enjoyed golf, classic cars and dancing.  In 2008 he left his home in Westdell Beach and moved to Blenheim to be closer to his family.

It was Lee’s wish that his family would remember him in their own ways.  Cremation has taken place.  Friends wishing to remember Lee with a memorial donation are asked to consider the Chatham-Kent Hospice.

Fred Ryckman

A photo of Fred Ryckman

Service:

Blenheim Community Funeral Home
Tuesday February 18, 2020
1:00 p.m.

Visitation:

Blenheim Community Funeral Home
Monday February 17, 2020
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
and
Tuesday Februry 18, 2020
11:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Fred Ryckman of Blenheim passed away with his family by his side on Wednesday February 12, 2020.  He was 69 years old.  He leaves behind his wife Pat (Nealey) Ryckman who he married 33 years ago but who he loved for many years before that and his son Jeff Dunlop (Candace).  He was predeceased by his son Mike Dunlop in 2018.

Fred was one of 8 children born to the late Neil & Alice (Kemp) Ryckman and is survived by his siblings Rose Ryckman (late Harold Want), Frances Hearns (late Art), Dorothy Ivison (Ken), Irene Bell (late John), Jim Ryckman and Kathryn Want (Ray).  He will be missed by many brothers and sisters in law, nieces and nephews, all of whom were his favourite.  He was predeceased by his infant brother Robert.

Fred was a country boy at heart.  He was raised in a time when helping your neighbour wasn’t a chore, but a natural order of the world.  He would do anything for anybody, any time of the day or night.  He was a loving son who took care of his mother after his dad died.  He was the man whose patience shone through while he helped folks at New Beginnings in Chatham.  He was humble and he was kind.  He and Pat enjoyed many cruises over the years with family and friends and had just returned from their final one together last month.

Family and friends are invited to gather at the Blenheim Community Funeral Home on Monday February 17, 2020 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. and again on Tuesday February 18, 2020 from 11:00 – 1:00 p.m.  A Funeral Service conducted by Pastor Bill Terris will follow at 1:00 p.m.  Interment to take place in Evergreen Cemetery.

Friends wishing to remember Fred with a memorial donation are asked to consider New Beginnings in Chatham so that they can continue to support survivors of acquired brain injuries and strokes as well as their families or the Canadian Cancer Society.

Jo-Anne (Embury) Laurie

A photo of Jo-Anne (Embury) Laurie

Visitation:

Blenheim Community Funeral Home
Monday February 17, 2020
2:00- 4:00 p.m.

LAURIE, Jo-Anne (Nee Embury)

Peacefully and quietly yet with a little sass and attitude, the wings we always knew were there took flight and she left us on February 10th, 2020.   Gone to find her treasured son Mike and picking up Mandy, Snicker, Seagram, Chopper, Bumble and Hermie along the way.

Beloved wife of 59 years to Jim. The best mom ever to Jen and her husband Michael Bush and the late Mike (2011).  Loving and often hilarious grandma of Tyler and his mother Liz, and grand dogs Nugget and Timber.  Predeceased by her parents Ken and Evelyn Embury.  Much adored sister of Ken and his wife Sheila, Kim and her husband Terry St. Pierre and the late Bruce Embury. Caring sister-in-law of Carol Embury, Shirley Dawson, the late Gord and the late George Laurie. A very special aunt to her nieces and nephews. A kind and wonderful lady to many.  Following her wishes cremation has taken place. A time to remember Jo-Anne will be held on Monday, February 17th. 2020 from 2 pm to 4 pm at Blenheim Community Funeral Home, 53 Stanley Street, Blenheim, 519 676 9200.  In lieu of flowers please consider donations to your local humane society or animal shelter.