Chris Elder

Rhody Family Funeral Home

Christopher (Chris) Brownlee Elder was born on Saturday March 27, 1976 to Debra Ann (Cain) and Bryan Douglas Elder at Owen Sound General and Marine Hospital. Chris was very fortunate to have the majority of his grandparents and great-grandparents present in his life from a young age. He was the first grandchild for many of them. At the age of four he welcomed a little sister, Marcia Jean and then later in life a brother, Adam Lloyd. 

His first years were spent in Chatsworth where he later attended Holland Chatsworth Central School. In time, his parents went their separate ways and he and Marcy moved with their mother. Chris then became a student at Sydenham Central School before later moving to Bradford, Alcona Beach, Aurora and Barrie. He began high school at Dr. G.W. Williams Secondary School in Aurora. Chris decided to leave school early finding a number of places in which to dedicate his time and energy.

He spent time at Granny Tarts Factory, Bacon Basketware Ltd., a drycleaner, and ZieBart Tidy Car. In 1997, Chris and Marcy moved out on their own, sharing an apartment as Marcy was attending school and Chris working. Sadly, it was at this time whereby Chris was already beginning to struggle with alcohol abuse.

He soon moved back home with Debbie and began a new job with Irwin Steel. Here Chris learnt how to weld. In short order, Chris was promoted to Lead Hand and then Foreman, which he did for fifteen years. Unfortunately, his boss died, which meant he had to look for another job opportunity. Luckily for Chris carpentry was another area of expertise. Whether it was flooring, drywall, crown molding, or anything in between Chris was quick to make use of his talents. He was very talented in carpentry and welding. Many of his woodworking products were something he could be very proud of. 

Chris enjoyed playing hockey and baseball as well as soccer. He had a heart of gold and was willing to do anything that was asked of him and would do an amazing job at whatever he began. Chris had a soft spot for children and animals. He loved them all especially his five nieces and nephews who he loved dearly. Chris also had a stray cat who he adopted and called “Kitty.” Kitty lived in their garage for quite some time and with some coaxing Chris finally got her to come out of hiding. She then had a special place in the house and was a wonderful pet. 

Chris was a good cook and loved to prepare big meals, even for a crowd. He loved steak, corn on the cob and could cook a mean pot of chilli or anything he attempted. The family recalled a past Christmas whereby he and a cousin had a pie eating contest. It was a new recipe called Pumpkin Praline that was almost sickly sweet but very good. The winner was promised $5 and they both ate the better part of a pie until they appeared green and had to go to bed with a belly ache. Both boys were awarded five dollars in the end.

He had a love for anything John Deere, all country music, especially Kenny Chesney’s “American Kids”. He had a contagious belly laugh that was easily recognized as it seemed to originate all the way from his toes.

Sadly, Chris lived a life full of pain and suffering as he dealt with alcoholism for the past two decades. Thankfully life changed for Chris in September of 2017 when he realized that his life was worth living, without the need for alcohol. He sought treatment, and with the love and support of his new family at G & B House in Owen Sound, Chris just celebrated seven months of sobriety. His family and friends were all so proud of this amazing accomplishment, knowing it was no easy feat for Chris.

Just a couple weeks before his death, Chris had transitioned from the G & B House to his own apartment. He was close with his sponsor, also named Chris, and attended support meetings regularly. Chris had recently started back to work at Vokes Furniture Inc. in Owen Sound and was slowly working his way back into a new and regular way of life. Sadly, Chris' past lifestyle caught up with his body and he suffered a fatal heart attack at home on Saturday, March 17, 2018. He would have celebrated his 42nd birthday next week, a man too young to die.

Cherished son of Debbie Smith of Newmarket. Loving brother of Marcy (Jeff) Kerr of Newmarket and Adam Smith of Toronto. Beloved uncle of Ethan, Avary, Kyle, Esme and Olive. Chris will be fondly remembered by his grandparents Doug and Evelyn Elder of Chatsworth, Aunt Penny (John) Crawford, cousins Darryl (Leanne) Hampton and LeeAnn Hampton (Chris Wells) and their families. Chris was predeceased by his stepfather Lloyd Smith and his grandparents Brownlee Cain and Lila McKay.

A Celebration of Chris' life, including laughter, stories and food, will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 11 a.m. Inurnment in Hillcrest Cemetery, Tara.

Memorial donations to G & B House, Owen Sound would be appreciated. Chris’ family will be forever grateful for all the love, support and guidance he received during his time there.

Chris, we love you dearly and miss you already. God has gained another angel. Rest in peace.

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Deb Hepburn
March 22, 2018
My thoughts are with you and your family. This touches very close in my heart, as I have dealt with the same in my family. My deepest sympathy!
Joe Nugent
March 21, 2018
Too Soon, much too soon,
I met Chris a few months ago
and was able to see him grow and loving his new life, smiling all the time.
He will not be forgotten,
My condolence to his Grandpa Doug and the rest of his wonderful family.
Joe Nugent
Evelyn Mattonen
March 21, 2018
Debbie and family, I am so sorry for your loss. You are in my throughts and prayers as you go through this difficult time xoxo
March 21, 2018
Chris was living the righteous life. So sad. You are in my prayers, brother.
March 21, 2018
My deepest condolence, I was lucky to know Chris at his worse and at the beginning of his recovery journey. He made great changes and fought battles that allowed him to stay sober. Please know that you and family are in our thoughts and prayers
Nancy pringle
March 20, 2018
I am so sorry for this sad news .I have fond memories of Chris .and remembering the talks .so proud of his accomplishment for this change he was making in his life .Hugs to the Family .????????????????
Carolyn Bowers
March 20, 2018
Taken way too soon. I will always hold fond memories of Chris as a nephew, and my condolences to Debbie, Marcy and Family at this difficult time.
Leeanna & Shawn Fisher
March 20, 2018
Our Deepest Condolence to all the family.
Debbie my Heart aches for you may your Son rest in peace
March 20, 2018
Still in such shock that you have left us. Our Family truly loved you. Always the first one to offer help where ever and when ever we needed it, a kind kind Heart .. Im so proud of you Chris . To make that change for your life is truly incredible and something i always hoped would find its way to you. I will never understand, and find it so unfair that after all you accomplished these past 7 months, ended this way.i couldn't hug you to show you just how proud i am of you. Our Family will always and forever feel a void by your absence . I loved you. And will never let our good memories disappear. You became my best friend. I hope you are free of a world that let you down. Love Forever Chris

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There was nothing that could have been improved. (Except the weather!) The prices were reasonable, especially with the services provided. Thank you so very much. With such a large family, everyone was very pleased on professionalism and presentation.

Terrilea Fidler

I don’t think there is anything more you could have done. Everything was so professionally done, in our experience. I don’t know any place that goes the extra mile to help families accommodate their needs. Nothing could have been improved. We could not have been more satisfied.

Reta Steward

It felt as if you had met and knew John! All of us agreed that John would have approved. Many friends commented on how lovely the service was and how it suited John.

Cathie Stauffer

I really can’t think of anything you could have done to better improve our experience. The only other funeral that I helped arrange was for my father, and at that time I didn’t get the same sense of professionalism or sympathy. Nathan was willing to accept our suggestions, and also to “take the lead” in showing us the next step and what was expected, even to putting details of the funeral into my computer!

Martie Dorland

You did a wonderful job from start to finish. I can’t think of anything you need to improve on. Great job! Helping us to wade through the government forms was great! Saved us a lot of anxiety. We will definitely recommend your funeral home. Wonderful service with kind and caring staff. 

Carol Ryan

I don’t see how you can improve exceptional services. Whatever was necessary on your part to provide was done without question. You eliminated much paperwork and guided us through a painful process with empathy and professionalism. 

Donna Jones-Baldwin

I feel the professional quality of services my family received was second to none.

Kim Moylan

Nathan, I can’t tell you how much your care and support has meant to my whole family. You obviously take great pride in the service you provide. I can’t think of anything you could have done to help us more. You, your mom and Terri-Ann make an excellent team. I had so many compliments on the set up and the service. I sing your praises to everyone who asks. Keep up the fantastic work.

Ruth Stephen and family

It was exceptional how Nathan opened our hearts and minds to give info; then transferred into so many ‘on target’ ways. Also very comforting and understanding to us all. Many comments, impressed, liked all that was done, respectful family-like atmosphere at all times. Especially kind to young members of family as well. Above and totally beyond expectation – Thanks.

Mary Harrison

What one thing could we have done better to improve your experience?
Nothing, we were very happy with services and support provided to our family. Well done. We really appreciated everything that was done for us and how well it was done.

Don MacDermid

Overall I am extremely pleased. Your kind, caring and professional services went above what I expected. All our needs were met satisfactorily and more.

Barbara Aikens

Everything was done so professionally that I don’t think anything else could have been done.

Joy Pitman

You go above and beyond with your services and expertise and compassion.

Judy Charlton

You have succeeded in taking the sadness out of a funeral and made it into a celebration of life and remembrance, which we truly appreciated... Continue doing what you did for us. It was exceptional in every regard.

Marlowe Emke

Our law office often has had many estates involving families who have obtained funeral services from Nathan. He is regarded by my staff and myself as outstanding for his professional, pleasant, and efficient manner. We would highly recommend Rhody Family Funeral Home to anyone.

Ross McLean, McLean Lawyers

Dear Nathan, I cannot say thank you enough for everything you and the rest of the Rhody Family Funeral Home team done for our family with Mom's passing. From the moment you got to Mom's house your professionalism was second to none. You listened and read between the lines yet missed nothing, every little touch was simply perfect, you left nothing undone, your care and compassion to ensure our family made Mom proud one more time, and for that I am forever grateful. You took a very difficult time for us and made it as simple and stress free for us as humanly possible. Nathan you should be very proud of yourself and the rest of your team. You have definitely set the bar very high for any other funeral home in the province to follow. Again thank you

Sincerely, Deb and Doug

Nathan: Thank you so very much for all that you have done for my Mom and my family. Your friendship during this difficult time was truly heartfelt. You made us feel welcome and like a part of your family. The whole time we spoke both at the nursing home and then at your place was a very peaceful experience. Not once were we made to feel like we did not belong there. Your attention to detail in everything that all of us said shows in the story of my Dad’s life and the video. Where there were concerns, you set them all at ease. I so appreciate all that you did for my Mom in helping her take care of cancellations and notifications for my Dad. It set her mind at ease knowing that you were taking care of all of this for her. It set me at ease knowing that she would not have to deal with the frustrations that sometimes come in taking care of these things. You and your family have gone above and beyond in all that you have done for us and I am truly thankful. The warmth and caring went home with us that day. We knew that the right choice had been made in allowing you to take care of my Dad. Again, thank you.


Your services are respectful, accomodating and very professional. An excellent job done. Thank you.

Darren Goodayle

Our aunt & uncle were buried from a different funeral home and we noticed a huge difference in the funeral home services provided. Our mom and dad looked so natural (thank you!) while our aunt and uncle did not. Thank you Nathan, we can't begin to tell you how much we appreciate you and your staff this year!

Ann Legge, Patricia Tibbo & Jane Lembke

All the worlds a stage and all the men and women merely players." Rhody Family Funeral Home takes this and runs with it in an intricate and tasteful manner. The beautiful funeral home sets the stage to reflect the deceased's individual personality. Nathan's artistic ability is only surpassed by his compassion, sincerity and understanding. He goes above and beyond the required duties. His staff is second to none. Darlene Rhody soft spoken and sympathetic and Morris Emke gentlemanly and obliging. Pastor Terri-Ann is like no other with her comforting words of wisdom and encouragement and so compassionate. Her service was nothing short of beautiful. A very heartfelt thank you to Nathan and his staff for making an unpleasant experience bearable. And hats off to Rhody Family funeral home for sending dad -Ross Hammond off in the fashion he deserved. From my mom and my siblings our sincerest gratitude.

Nancy Nickel

Personnel, facilities, advise & support all exceeded our expectations - it helped to communicate details by email. In particular, both Nathan and Terri-Ann did an excellent job! I was surpised at the after service documentation - all details well organized.

Larry Bell

Nathan and staff were kind and helpful throughout the process. They really went above and beyond to make the experience as positive as possible.

Amy Stephen

Everything was great - many great comments made about the story alone on Pearl's life and we sent copies to people who could not attend - a very nice addition.

Family of Pearl Stephen

Our experience was amazing under the circumstances. Your services were perfect. You went above and beyond our expectations. You are very caring, compassionate and professional in your approach. You create a very therapeutic environment.

Elmer Ward

"Dear Nathan, your many caring and creative touches from the notice to the burial in the days following Catharine's (McKeeman) passing meant so much to all of us. You honoured her life in so many meaningful ways. Your compassion and celebration of her life will always be remembered by all those Catharine held dear."

Ian Campbell, Catharine's Brother

“Nathan, you did an absolutely amazing job. People give us compliments about everything from the life story to the beautiful, elaborate displays at the visitation. I tell everyone it was you. All the surprises - the cookies, the recipe cards, the signing picture - all amazing!”

Kim and Alan Grant

“Staff were professional and friendly.”

“Exceptional service.”

Lawrence and Heather Lamarche

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“I would recommend your funeral home to everyone. Nathan’s ability to put you at ease, with a caring attitude is super and very respectful!”

Carol Golem

“We were all very impressed.”

Roberta Godwin

“Dear Nathan - You did a good job. Thank-you for all your help and all the information you obtained for me."

Gloria Albright

“Your sense of humour was a plus! You and your staff clearly have a calling for the work that you do. We all felt that we were in good hands throughout the entire process…. Nathan, thank you for everything. You made things easy for us, as we felt like we were working on Dad’s arrangements with family. We gave Dad a great send off and thank you and your staff for being a part of it.”

Deborah Hart

“Letters cancelling Gov’t services was a great help and was very much appreciated.”

William & Loraine Patterson

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Elaine King

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Rebecca Becker

"I don't think there is anything more you or your staff could do."

Bernice Frook

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Susan Taylor

“I would not have changed anything. Thanks very much – Nathan and staff.”

“New renovations are very inviting and warm. All your new cards and books are very heart warming and keepsakes.”

Valerie Long

"Staff were outstanding. Overall, it was great. Everything was perfect."

Susan Laver

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“Service was beyond expectations… Already recommended to various people.”

Steve Thomson

“Could not have been more useful – very satisfied! I would highly recommend Rhody Family. Thank you ever so much for your professionalism and expertise.”

Dave Hillier

“Honestly, you and your staff made this time in my life the best it could be and were extremely helpful, respectful, professional and accommodating to my needs and my family’s needs, especially providing me with a space to feed [my child] if needed. Thank you for everything”

Olivia Strucke

“Everything was perfect; it’s always nice to have lots of options.”

Kevin Dailey

“Thank you for all your empathy, compassion and professionalism. Our family… is very grateful that we chose Rhody Family Funeral Home to look after our loved one.”

Siobhan Bell

“Your services were excellent. Thank you again.”

Debbie Eidt

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