Obituaries

Gloria Boswell

A photo of Gloria Boswell

Service:

Private

Gloria Boswell of Shrewsbury passed away at the Blenheim Community Village on Sunday February 14, 2021.  She was the much loved wife of John Boswell for 50 years and mother of Janet Young of Chatham and Henry Boswell of Shrewsbury.  She is survived by two grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.  She was predeceased by her son Joe Young Jr, her mother and father-in-law Jurald & Elsie Boswell and by 2 grandchildren.  Gloria worked hard in life so that she and John could give their family everything that they needed.

Born 76 years ago to her late parents Kathleen & Oliver Casey, Gloria was one of eight children and is survived by her sisters Janie Boswell of Wallaceburg and Irene Casey of Chatham as well as her brothers James, Otto and Ben.  She was predeceased by her sister Lorraine and her brother Ireland.

Gloria will be remembered privately by her family at this time.  A Celebration of Life will take place at a later date.  Friends wishing to remember her with a memorial donation are asked to consider supporting the food bank at the Word of Life Church.

Gerry Brasier

A photo of Gerry Brasier

Service:

Private

Gerald “Gerry” John Brasier

It is with a very heavy heart that we share the passing of a great man, Gerald “Gerry” Brasier. Suddenly, on February 13, 2021 he left this world and left a huge void.  Gerry was a husband to Betty  (McDermott) for 58 years, father to Scott (Dorothy) Brasier of Warburg Alberta; Judy (Bob) Murday of Courtenay, B.C., Pam (Russell) Daniel of Olive Branch, Mississippi, son-in-law Jayme (Kerry) Prevett.  Loving Grandad to Grant, Bradley, Chelsey, Matt, Sean, Trinity, Dani, Andi, Dustin, Colt, Aaron and Adam and soon to be first great grandchild.  Brother to Beryl (Art) Barker, John (Mary) Brasier, Ann Brasier, Margaret (Doug) Brereton, all of Winnipeg, MB. Predeceased by his daughter Linda Prevett, parents Henry John “Jack” and Catherine “Kitty” Brasier and sister Joan Edwards. Uncle to many nieces and nephews in Canada and New Zealand. His family meant the world to him and he meant the world to us. He was born in Greenwich, London England and made Canada his home since the age of 17.

Gerry was a gifted story teller and no story was complete without his sense of humor and animated exaggerations.  If you ever wanted an emcee, someone to help out to entertain at a special event or do an amazing Mr. Bean skit, Gerry was your guy. During the week he could usually be found having tea at the Blenheim Senior Centre sharing stories and laughs with friends. He traveled the world during his career as a Grain Trader and always had amazing stories and experiences to share. His favourite soccer/football team was the Totenham Hotspurs and he watched his European Soccer without fail every weekend.

His sense of humour, gift to make any stranger a friend, the unconditional love that his family was lucky enough to share will be greatly missed.  Until we meet again, we will cherish and smile at the memories we are blessed to have.

Due to COVID restrictions only a private family service will be held.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Ontario Lung Association or to a charity of your choice.

Josh VanBiesbrouck

A photo of Josh VanBiesbrouck

Josh Arthur John VanBiesbrouck

October 01, 1980 – February 11, 2021

 

It is with broken hearts that we announce the passing of Josh on February 11, 2021 in London.

Son of Barry and Sandy VanBiesbrouck.  Survived by his brother Dane, his Grandmother Lorraine McIntyre and his dog Lulu.  Predeceased by his grandparents Julius & Marilyn VanBiesbrouck and Jack McIntyre.

Josh was a graduate of St. Clair College in Landscape Technician and the Julius VanBiesbrouck School of Stone Masonry.  He operated his own company for a number of years.

Josh will be remembered by his Uncles, Aunts and cousins who he loved and they in return loved and supported him over the years.  He will be mourned by his long-time friend Tanya Horak, her daughter Jade and grandson Hudson.

While struggling with his own addictions, Josh became a spokesperson and advocate for safe injection sights in London, supporting Dr. Mackie by speaking to City Councillors and at city rallies.  This site has saved the lives of countless addicts.  His friends will remember him as a good hockey player, guitar player and someone who was quick to support those less fortunate.

Josh’s family will be remembering him privately.  The family would appreciate donations in Josh’s memory to Brentwood Recovery Home https://www.brentwoodrecovery.com/donate-now/, the Blenheim Food Bank, the Soup Kitchen or the Salvation Army Mission in London https://centreofhope.ca/community-donations/.

Bill Verlaan

A photo of Bill Verlaan

Bill Verlaan 1932-2021

There was a celebration of his earthly life when Bill passed to his eternal home. It was there that he saw those he had loved so much. His mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. Willem Verlaan, his sister Rejcha, his beautiful daughter-in-law Michelle, his in laws Jean and Charlie Varney, Uncle Freddie Hatch, his best friend and brother-in-law Alan Varney, his buddies Vic Knight, Keith Sambel, Tony Marley and his fellow Kiwanian and friend Dr. John Button who would greet him in the same manner he did in his earthly home, “Here comes my favourite Dutchman.”

Bill was born in Holland. When he was a young lad, his country became occupied and because of lack of food, he, his sister and brother were sent to different farms. It was there that he ran messages for the underground, it was there that he saw sights no young child should see and it was there that he witnessed something that he carried with him for the rest of his life.

One day two German soldiers stopped at the farm house and the lady invited them in for lunch. While eating, the two young soldiers broke down and cried. They said “We don’t want to fight. We just want to go home.” It was then, that Bill realized that the majority of the German people were as much under siege by a maniac leader and his thugs as the Dutch people were. It was there when Bill learned not to be judgemental and to always give people the benefit of a doubt.

Bill would leave Holland to make his home in Canada and his workplace became the Royal Bank of Canada.

Bill would go on to have 3 children- Monique, Marcel and Margot by a previous marriage. Bill took fatherhood seriously and was devoted to his children. He soothed their sorrows and applauded their achievements. He was always there for them when they needed him.

When the Royal Bank transferred Bill to Ridgetown he met his beloved wife Mary Helen Wilson and his chosen son P.J. Wilson. Their loving commitment to one another through the years was a joy to see. Bill and Mary Helen would be blessed with two grandsons, Brody Robert Verlaan and Brock William Verlaan.

There was another very important loved one in Bill’s life and that was his faithful lab, Jessie. He would walk down the street with her and the kids who saw them so often would shout, “Here comes Mr. Wilson and Jessie”. Bill didn’t correct them. Instead, he greeted them and smiled. Bill knew who he was. A different name did not diminish him.

Bill’s eyesight began to deteriorate until he became legally blind. His only lament was he worried he would pass someone on the street who he knew and wouldn’t recognize them because of his eyesight. He accepted his loss of sight without complaint.

Bill would not want us to hail his achievements in life although, there were many. He was a proud man but, never sought out recognition for all his accomplishments.

Bill often told his daughter Margot that life was short and that is why he so appreciated his longevity.

For us to tell you who Bill Verlaan was, we would say that he was a man who loved life, loved his family and friends deeply and unconditionally, he had a tremendous work ethic, he believed that actions spoke louder than words, he hated injustice and spoke out when he saw it, he was not afraid to show tears in his eyes when he saw or heard something beautiful or news that was sad, he recognized his feet of clay and he loved to joke around and laughed the most when the joke was on him.

Keeping with Bill’s wishes there will be no Celebration of life. For those of you who walked with Bill during his life’s journey, please pass on to others what he believed in so deeply, in memory of him.

Bill passed away peacefully in his home with “his Sweetie” Mary Helen, Margot and P.J. at his side.

Bill is also survived by his brother Casey (Michel) in Alberta, Margot’s loving husband Don and many extended family members.

To paraphrase the beautiful song of Bette Midler we, who loved him, would say to him, “We could fly higher than an eagle, for you were the wind beneath our wings.”

Gary White

A photo of Gary White

Service:

Private

Gary Wayne Kenneth White of Blenheim passed away on Thursday January 28, 2021 at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance at the age of 75 years.  He will be missed by his son Richard (Kerri) White and his grandson Alexander of Quebec as well as his brothers Ron White (Kathy) of Blenheim and Dennis White (Deb) of Chatham.

Gary was born in Toronto to the late Kenneth & Nettie (Lucio) White.  His family moved to Saskatchewan for several years and then Erieau before settling in Blenheim in 1957.  Gary pursued his post secondary education in Windsor before taking a job at Chryslers in Windsor where he eventually became the manager of customs and excise working out of Detroit, Michigan.  After retirement, Gary undertook several business ventures enjoying a yacht charter business, Craig Cat distribution, and a modelling agency which allowed him to live life to the fullest.

Gary’s family will remember him privately at this time and will gather to celebrate his life when they are able at a later date.

Friends wishing to remember Gary with a memorial donation are asked to consider the Parkinsons Society of Southwestern Ontario https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/11203

Shirley Clayton

A photo of Shirley Clayton

Shirley B Clayton of Ridgetown passed away at Victoria Hospital, London on Wednesday January 27, 2021.  She was born 85 years ago, one of four children to George and Elsie (Wildblood) Spence.  She is survived by her brother John Spence and her sister Marion Teskey (Al).  She was predeceased by her sister Donna Underwood and her husband Jack, as well as John’s wife Marion.

One day at a Junior Farmer Field Meet in Ridgetown, Shirley met Ralph Clayton, the person she would marry and share her life with for the next sixty years. Their life’s journey took them from Ridgetown to Newmarket and back and also brought them two children who she loved dearly; Lynette Scott (Ken) and John Clayton (Micheline Lacombe). Shirley was a very proud grandmother to Carlene, Colin, Craig, Caryn and Laura Joy.

In her teen years she was active in church,4H and Junior Farmer activities before attending Normal School in London and becoming a school teacher.  She taught in Glenwood, Bethel and Tilbury. Following her marriage, she devoted her life to being a very supportive wife, mother and grandmother – all bringing her a life of joy.”

It was Shirley’s wish that this stage of her life be regarded with quiet dignity, and that her family would gather together at a later date to celebrate her life.  Friends wishing to remember her with a memorial donation are asked to consider the London Regional Cancer Program.

Garth McDowell

A photo of Garth McDowell

It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the sudden passing of Garth McDowell on Monday, January 18th, 2021 at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. Born 73 years ago to the late Orville (Sam) and Ruth McDowell, Garth lived his entire life on the family farm.

Beloved husband of Sue (Vegso) McDowell for 48 years and dear father of daughter Shannon and Jim Rose of Abbotsford, BC, and son Shane and Wendy McDowell of Chatham. Cherished grandfather of Sophie, Katie, Josie, Charlotte and Eddie.

Dear brother to Wanda (Don) Burse of Blenheim and Lawna McDowell (Marcel Trepanier) of Windsor. Special brother-in-law to Sandy and Ken Chauvin of Cedar Springs.

Garth worked as an auto mechanic in Blenheim and Chatham for 25 years before moving to the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance as a refrigeration mechanic. While there, he was actively involved with CLAC and served on the National Board.

Garth always had a passion for flying and he obtained his private license when he was 16. He then went on and received his commercial and instructor’s licenses. He spent many years working, on the weekends, as a flight instructor at the Chatham Airport where he developed many lifelong friendships. He also enjoyed making and flying model airplanes.

Garth was a kind and considerate person who loved animals. In the past few years, he was able to renew his love of horses and riding. He and “Colonel Bob” became quite the team.

Garth will be forever remembered as a caring and friendly man and he will be missed by all who knew him.

With our deepest gratitude and appreciation, the family would like to thank Dr. Segeren, Dr. Huffman and the wonderful nurses and staff in the Emergency Department and the first responders for their outstanding efforts and compassion.

In keeping with his love of animals, friends wishing to remember Garth with a memorial donation are asked to consider Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue Centre (whhrescue.com) or CK Animal Rescue (ckanimalrescue.com).

Joseph Tunks

A photo of Joseph Tunks

Service:

A Celebration in ;memory of Joseph's life
will be held at a future date.

It is with great sadness the family of Joseph Thomas Tunks announces his passing on Wednesday, January 20, in his 89th year. Joe is predeceased by his wife Gloria and is lovingly remembered by his children Tom (Monica), Terry (Ronda), Tammy, Tim (Brenda) and Howard (Christine). Joe will also be fondly remembered by his grandchildren, Leslie (Tom), Seth (Patty), Holly (Jason), Alec (Sheila), Stephen, Shelsie (Nicholas), James, Tamara (Mike), Shasta, Carissa, Maggie, and AJ. Joe is also survived by his sister Margaret and close and special friend Diane Thompson. Joe was predeceased by his infant son and brothers Ernie and Sam, sister Irene, son in law John and grandson Benjamin Joseph.

Joe was born in 1932 in Zone Township to Jack and May Tunks. He left home at the age of 13 hitchhiked to Montreal and joined the Merchant Marines. Joe also eventually enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces. In 1964 he was hired by Ontario Steel and retired after 30 years service.

He will be sadly missed by his two small dogs Callie and Chaz.

The family members would like to express sincere gratitude to Dr. Kate Bailey, Mr. Marc Eskritt and the staff of the Blenheim Community Funeral Home, the members of the CKPS and EMS who attended.

A celebration in memory of Joseph’s life will be held at a future date. Those who would like can make a memorial donation to the Pet and Wildlife Rescue (PAWR).

Glenda Wilson (Wheeler)

A photo of Glenda Wilson (Wheeler)

Service:

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Glenda Wilson (Wheeler) formerly of Cedar Springs, passed away peacefully at her home in Lake Alfred Florida, Wednesday January 13, 2021.  Glenda was born in Chatham, ON.  She was the daughter of the late Glenn & Elizabeth “Honey” (Legue) Wheeler.

She was the beloved wife of Frederick Wilson of Dayton Ohio and dear Mother to Sean Mandeno, Rebecca (Mandeno) Mann & Jeremy, and Erin (Burns) Prangley & Jason. She will be missed by her grandchildren Kristyn and Trevor Clayton, Amber Mandeno, Avery, Alivia and Leah Prangley, her great grandson Allan Cousins and by a dear family friend Steve Baker of Ohio.  Glenda was the sister & sister in law to Cathy Wheeler (late Clayton), Mark & Karen Wheeler, Susan & Craig Attewell, Mary Kay & Brian Major, Terry Wheeler and Barrie Crozier (late Tammy).  She loved and enjoyed her many nieces, nephews and cousins and will be greatly missed by them.

Glenda grew up in Cedar Springs but made Spring Valley, Ohio her home with the love of her life 25 years ago.  There she worked in Dayton at the Marianist Mission performing clerical duties.  Glenda & Fred spent their retirement years travelling in their RV where they made many good friends & memories along the way. They were known to have travelled up & down the US making stops to spend time with their grandchildren, family & friends.

In 2018, Glenda organized the best ever family trip to a beach house in Navarre Beach Florida.  The memories made on this trip will last forever and will be added to the memories made on our annual family camping trips (often in Rondeau) for Thanksgiving with family & friends. This is a tradition we will continue each year, knowing she will be watching over us.

Glenda’s family will make plans for a celebration of life at a later date in Blenheim for friends and loved ones to share memories.

Friends or family wishing to remember Glenda with a memorial donation please consider The Lung Association.

Randy Smith

A photo of Randy Smith

Service:

Randy's family will remember him privately.

Randall James Smith of Blenheim and formerly of Erieau passed away peacefully on January 5, 2021.  Randy was born 67 years ago to his late parents Carmen Stanley Smith and Viola Jean “Tootie” (Fields).  He is survived by his only brother Dana & Sherry Smith and their family.

Randy was a long time resident of Erieau where he made many friends over the years.  Many thanks go out to the staff of the Blenheim Community Village for the care and compassion that was shown to him in the final chapter of his life.

Cremation has taken place.  Randy’s family will remember him privately.