Ruth Shillington

A photo of Ruth Shillington


Blenheim Community Funeral Home
Saturday April 29, 2023
11:00 a.m.

Ruth Evangeline (Gordier) Shillington passed away at the age of 93 years at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance on March 29, 2023.

Born in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia in 1929 to the late Ella (Stull) and George Arnold Gordier, she grew up in several small towns in Ontario, graduating from High School in Thornbury.  She graduated from the University of Western Ontario and the Ontario College of Education.  Due to her having one year of teaching experience in a rural public school in Maple Island, she was accepted in 1952 to teach Business at Blenheim District High School, where she met Peter Shillington.  They were married in 1957, this “wouldn’t last” union, which lasted over 60 years until Peter’s death in 2018. Surviving is an adopted son, Harold (Dawn); grandchildren April (Adam), Benjamin (Robyn) and great grandson Noah.  Also survived by Jim (Mary) Shillington, Jean (Neil) Armstrong, Sharon Gordier and many nieces and nephews.  Predeceased by Paul Shillington (2016), Carol Shillington (2013) and Lyle Gordier (2020).  Very close friend to Mike Burke (Shelley).

Ruth taught Business in Blenheim District High School for 13 years, then transferred to Chatham-Kent Secondary School, where she remained until retirement in December 1985.

Ruth was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and served as Worthy Matron, District Deputy Grand Matron, and two years as Grand Representative of the State of Texas in Ontario.  She served the Blenheim United Church Women as pianist and Treasurer and sang in the choir.

Ruth and Peter loved travelling, especially cruising, and visited all seven Continents.  In her spare time, she would knit and crochet.

A special thank-you to Ruth’s caregiver, Mary Giroux and to her special friends Ron and Cathy White, Marion Warwick, Janet Kemp, Paul and Joyce Seagrave, and fellow teacher Dale McReynolds that have cared for her over the past number of years.

A Celebration of Life officiated by Pastor Tim Joyce will take place at the Blenheim Community Funeral Home on Saturday April 29, 2023 at 11:00 a.m.  Friends wishing to remember Ruth with a memorial donation are asked to consider the Word of Life Soup Kitchen.

Online condolences and memorial donations may be left at

Joe McKinlay

A photo of Joe McKinlay

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of the legend, Joe McKinlay.  Cherished husband of 51 years to Linda and proud father and grandfather to Damian McKinlay & Melissa Pickering, Andrew, Amy, Hannah & Emma McKinlay, and Julie, Matt, Ripley & Korbin Smolders.

Joseph Meighan McKinlay was born in Scotland 77 years ago.  The second youngest of 9 children to Isabella and John McKinlay.  He moved to Canada in 1969 and became a Canadian Citizen in 1980.  Joe and Linda moved to Kent County in 1974 when Joe started working at the Southwestern Regional Centre.  He was a DSW for many decades, however, many co-workers will remember him cooking in the kitchen.

He was well known for his love of the Maple Leafs, his fish and chips, and having all the answers.  He was the personification of hospitality.  He was humble, clever, and an amazing cook.  The world is already quieter without him.

Joe did not like to be fussed over so keeping with his wishes, he has been cremated and there will not be a service.  Think of your fond memories of Joe and be sure to have a drink in his honour.  Raise your glass in the air and say “Slainte.  What’s like us?  There’s nobody like us.”

Joe’s family would like to extend their thanks to the nurses and doctors at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance for their wonderful care and kindness.

Joe was very passionate about feeding people.  With this in mind, if you would like to make a memorial donation, please consider the Word of Life Church or your local food bank.

John Giffin

A photo of John Giffin

John Clare “Yule” Giffin of Blenheim passed away at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance on March 21, 2023 after spending 61 years on this earth being surrounded by the unconditional love and support of his family.  He was the son of Florence (Maynard) Giffin and the late Clare Giffin (2008), the brother of James & Roberta Giffin and Wayne & Heather Giffin, uncle of Blake & Whitney, Reid & Bryar and great uncle of Axel and Ozzy.  He will be missed by his best and most loyal friend Sassy-Kitty.

John’s determination in life could never be underestimated and that allowed him to accomplish many things.  A huge fan of rock ‘n roll, he became very musically talented, and without a lesson, he taught himself how to play the guitar and the keyboard.  He was an unwavering fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs who would have dropped whatever he was doing to attend a Stanley Cup Parade and celebrate a victory with them.  

Friends will remember John for his years of work with the Federal Government in the Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan branches.  

Cremation has taken place and John will be remembered privately by his family at this time, with a celebration of life to be announced.  His urn will be placed in Evergreen at a later date with his father.  If you would like to remember John with a memorial donation, the Kidney Foundation was near and dear to his heart.  He would have liked that.

Loretta Bourdeau

A photo of Loretta Bourdeau

A resident of Blenheim, Loretta (Schnekenburger) Bourdeau, sadly passed away at Riverview Gardens on Tuesday, March 21st, 2023 at the age of 89. Daughter of Normand Schnekenburger and Josephine (Trudell) Schnekenburger. Loretta was the beloved wife of Vincent Bourdeau. Dear mother of Norm (Sylvia) Bourdeau, Dwane (Pamela) Bourdeau, and Yvonne (Chris) Callender. Grandmother to Eric, Tanya, Zackery, Tina, Lori, Jeni, and Tiffany. Sister to Hank (Norma) Schnekenburger, Wilma Mylrea, Ed (Mary Ellen) Schnekenburger, Vic (Jean) Schnekenburger, Allan (late Lee) Schnekenburger, Late Paul (Sandra) Schnekenburger and many nieces and nephews. Loretta enjoyed cooking and baking which propelled her to open her own restaurant for 20 years. Loretta loved playing Bingo and visiting Casino’s as a past time. Cremation has taken place. Donations made in memory of Loretta to Chatham-Kent Hospice would be appreciated. Thank you to all the staff at Riverview Gardens for the special care of our dear mother while she was a resident there.

Sue Gardiner

A photo of Sue Gardiner


Kent Belgian Dutch Canadian Club
34 Byng Ave, Chatham
Saturday April 8, 2023
11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

It is with such sadness that we announce the passing of our mother Suzanne Mae (Haydon) Gardiner at Riverview Gardens on Monday March 13, 2023 at the age of 82 years.  She was predeceased by our father Charlie Gardiner in 2019.

Mom and Dad were married for 57 years.  Mom was a strong-willed person and didn’t pull any punches in making her opinions known; not just to Dad but to everyone.  She could argue that day is night or night is day but in the end she was always about love and caring for others.  She and Dad cared and raised us 3 kids; Annette (Mark), Ray and Bill (Jen), always instilling in us the values of family, love and caring, and they encouraged us to be the best that we could be.  We were all heartbroken when Ray passed away in 2016.

Mom was always there for us…through good and bad, she always supported us.  And as many know, her caring did not stop just with her children.  She cared just as much for her many nieces and nephews, her friends and their families and the community at large, even total strangers.  She was involved in Girl Guides, Scouting, Jaycettes/Jaycees and other such organizations over the years.  She and Dad loved their second family at Campers Cove in Wheatley where they were seasonal campers for over 36 years.  They were highly involved in organizing and participating in many camp activities during their many years there and continued to do the same in Bushnell Florida after Dad’s retirement.

Mom lived for her grandchildren Vanessa, Bill (Jr.) and Kate, as well as her Great Grandkids Teagan, Pheobe, Owen, Ryker and Jacob.  She always lit up given the chance to spend time with them.  She was very happy and excited when her little sister Roberta “Bunny” moved back to Chatham as she missed seeing her.

In the last few years Mom suffered from Alzheimer’s and made Riverview Gardens her home.  She was cared for with love and compassion by the staff on 6 West there and our family can’t thank them enough for all they did for her over the past 3 years, especially given all the challenges from COVID.

If you want to do something to remember Mom, do a good deed for someone in your family or your community.  Hug your grandchildren as often as you can, while you can.  And challenge your kids because maybe sometimes day is night and night is day…either way, they’re going to love you for that someday!

A Celebration of Life will take place at the Kent Belgian Dutch Canadian Club, 34 Byng Ave, Chatham on Saturday April 8, 2023 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Jean Phillips

A photo of Jean Phillips


Greenwood Cemetery, Ridgetown
Saturday April 15, 2023 at 2:00 p.m.
Reception at the Ridgetown Legion
to follow.

It is with deep love and sadness that we announce the recent unexpected passing of Jean Phillips (McMillan) of Highgate, ON. Jean passed away peacefully, at the age of 80, at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance on March 8, 2023 surrounded by family and friends. Jean was born in Chatham on February 9, 1943 to her late parents, Doug and Vera McMillan. Those left to cherish her memory include her daughters, Cheryl Hammett (Scott) of Thamesford, Donna Phillips of London, her only sister Ruth Scott (late Bill) of Blenheim; her grandchildren Kelsey Hammett, Brent (Maddie) Hammett, Austin and Bree Merulla, son-in-law Mike Merulla; and extended family members. She was predeceased by her husband, Wray Phillips and her daughter, Karen Merulla.

Jean will be remembered for her many accomplishments and dedication to the nursing profession. She graduated from St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1964 and maintained meaningful friendships with many of her classmates. She enjoyed attending annual reunions with the St. Joseph’s Hospital Alumni. Jean was an active member of the Women’s Institute and volunteered her time at Revera Village on the Ridge (Ridgetown). She was known as an amazing seamstress, as well as a loving mother, wife, grandmother and friend.

Always an avid horse lover, Jean was a longstanding member of the American Saddlebred Association and their Zone Club, as well as the Canadian Arabian Horse Association and their Zone 1 Arabian Club. She frequently entered the ring as an active participant in the Silver Shadow Horse Shows and enjoyed taking part in classes at the CNE, Western Fair and local Fall Fairs. Her love for animals was apparent by her dedication to all of her animals. She will be greatly missed by her miniature horse, Diego, her beloved horses, Ali and Careb, as well as her beautiful and colorful peacocks, chickens and goats whom she lovingly cared for over the years. She also leaves behind her German Shepherd dog, Juno, who she regarded as her faithful companion and best friend. Jean and Ruth also enjoyed group get togethers, day trips, musicals, plays and meals out. We are also grateful to her friends in the horse world who arranged extra gatherings over the years at the farm, including a surprise 80th birthday party where many of us enjoyed “men in kilts”; was a nice surprise for all.

Our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all of her friends and neighbours who took the time to regularly stop by her home for a visit. A special thank you to Caleb Schippers and Brooklyn Bowman for their extra help doing many different tasks; and Jean’s close friend and neighbour, Peg Conroy and family, for accompanying Jean on day trips, taking her to appointments and keeping her company. Thanks to the Doctor’s nurses at Windsor Regional Hospital and Chatham Kent Health Alliance.

There will be a Celebration of Life observance, for those who would like to say their last goodbye to Jean, on the 15th of April, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. at Greenwood Cemetery, 13146 Reeders Line, Ridgetown, followed by a get together at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 243, 75 Main Street East, Ridgetown. In lieu of flowers please consider a Donation to the Four Counties Health Services Adult Day Program, 4-H Programs, Heart & Stroke Foundation, Chatham-Kent Hospice, Animal Welfare or a charity of your choice.

We ask that you take a moment to hug your family and friends.

~Always loved, Forever missed, Never Forgotten~

A tribute to Jean’s life can be viewed by clicking the following link:

Jane Churchill

A photo of Jane Churchill

A resident of Blenheim, Jane Isabella Churchill, passed away at the Chatham Kent Health Alliance in Chatham on Saturday March 4, 2023. Jane was born in Elstow Saskatchewan 96 years ago to Johnston (Bert) and Hootsie (Harvie) Henderson. She was married to the late Vernon Churchill (2007) for over 60 years. Jane is survived by her children Don (Carmel) Churchill of Freeport Bahamas, Doug (Laurie) Churchill of Chatham, Gary Churchill of Toronto, and the late Shirley Brown. Loving grandmother to Elizabeth (Stephen) Corriveau, Andrew Brown (Kendall), Nick Churchill (M.E.), Jacob Churchill (Becky), and Kenroy Churchill. Great grandmother to Anson, Katelyn, Ryan, Ella, and Shirley. Mother in law to Doug Brown (Lynne). Sister-in-law to Dick Conley, Dora Churchill, and Isobel Churchill. Predeceased by her siblings Leonard Henderson, Hootsie Conley, and Estey Henderson. Cremation has taken place and a private interment will be held at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens in Oldcastle, ON. Online condolences may be left at

Helen Hazlett

A photo of Helen Hazlett

Helen Marie Hazlett, loved wife of the late Lloyd Hazlett (2012) passed away on Wednesday March 1, 2023.  Born in Tilbury East Township on August 18, 1928 to the late George & Winnifred (Edwards) Hyatt, Helen is survived by her sisters Jean Borian (late Hector) and Ilene Wharram (late Harold).  She was predeceased by her brothers Millard Edwards and Glen Edwards (survived by Jenny).

Helen was the best Mother, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother that anyone could ask for…a genuine source of strength and courage.  She considered her son-in-laws and daughter-in-law as one of her own.  She will be missed by Linda Willimot (late Tom), Karen Higgins (Rudy), Tom Hazlett (Helen), Bev DeMaeyer (Pam) and all of their families.  Sadly she was predeceased by her son Brian Hazlett in 1983, her daughter Joan DeMaeyer in 2011 and her son-in-law Tom Willimot in 2003.  Despite the sorrows in her life, she always woke up every day with a thankful heart.  She always looked forward to the day that she would be reunited with Lloyd.

A private family funeral, officiated by Pastor Tim Joyce will be held at the Blenheim Community Funeral Home.  Following the service, the interment will take place in Evergreen Cemetery beside both Lloyd and Joan.

Tess Veenstra

A photo of Tess Veenstra


Celebration of Life
Saturday March 4, 2023
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

May we have heavy hearts today and always, as we remember a woman with a gracious, humble, and uplifting spirit as the heavenly gates opened up for a mother, daughter, sister, and friend. May you officially rest in peace and watch down over each and every one of us.

Tess Janet Veenstra enjoyed spending time in the garden growing flowers, fruits, vegetables or in the kitchen cooking delicious meals and baked goods. Tess enjoyed spending time with friends and family especially at the local beaches. With the 29 years that Tess had with us on earth she impacted each of our  lives in various ways. I’m sure we can all share a story, experience, memory, or even a lesson that Tess has imprinted upon us. May we have and hold on to these as we remember a gracious, humble, and uplifting mother, daughter, sister, and friend. May you forever rest in paradise. We love you forever and always. Xoxo

Daughter to Dale Roets & Claudette Veenstra (Norman Plouff) Sister to Taya Veenstra and the late Beau Veenstra. Mother of Three Children one of which is pre-deceased. Granddaughter of Jim & Janet Veenstra and Ruth Walker (late Cyril Roets).

Cremation has taken place.

A Celebration of Life for Tess will be held at the Blenheim Community Funeral Home on Saturday March 4, 2023 from 11:00am until 1:00pm A private interment at Evergreen Cemetery will be held at a later date.


Dorothy Wickham

A photo of Dorothy Wickham


Blenheim Community Funeral Home
Monday, February 27, 2023

Dorothy Wickham of Blenheim passed away at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance on February 22, 2023.  She was the proud Mother of Bill & Deb Wickham of Shrewsbury and Linda Duff (Late Terry) of Toronto. She was loved by her grandchildren Matthew (Gabby), Elizabeth, Joey (Jacqui), Louise, David, James, Joseph and Patrick.
Dorothy was born in Woodbridge, the youngest of 11 children.  She and her late husband  James raised their family in Toronto.  After James passed away she moved to Blenheim, making it her home for the last 20 years.  She loved her daily walks and visiting the local vendors.  She also loved having her grandchildren for sleepovers and spoiling them with happy meals at McDonalds.
Cremation has taken place. Dorothy’s family would like to invite family and friends to the Blenheim Community Funeral Home for a time of visitation on Monday February 27 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.  Dorothy’s urn will be taken to Toronto and be laid to rest with her husband James.