David Stephen

Rhody Family Funeral Home

A good teacher, like a good entertainer,
First must hold his audience’s attention,
then he can teach his lesson.

John Henrik Clarke

David was a people person and an excellent mentor. He loved interacting with people. In fact, it was the people that David enjoyed most about his job. He recognized the importance of everyone’s contribution and never failed to show his appreciation to every-one he worked with. He was a true gentleman.

David Waddell was born on Friday August 18, 1967 in North York to Douglas Browning and Sheila Anne Mowat (McEwan) Stephen. Douglas and Sheila were married on March 24, 1962 in Scotland and had already welcomed David’s older sister Fiona in 1963. It was in 1965 that the Stephen family had moved to Canada looking for work. Douglas had arrived on Canadian soil seven months prior and then Sheila and Fiona joined him. Following David’s birth the family moved back to Scotland for just under a year.

After returning to Canada at the age of 3, David and his family resided in Toronto where he attended elementary school in Rexdale. He later began high school in Allenby, a small community on the outskirts of Toronto before moving with his family to Wasaga Beach. Rumour has it that David definitely did a victory lap year of high school there. Once out of school, David worked a number of jobs which included time spent at a group home, Honda and even Becker’s Shoes, to name a few.

As luck would have it, in 1990 David became a Millwright Apprentice, following in his father’s footsteps. He joined the Millwright’s Local 2309 and worked on various jobs in the GTA area. Eventually David became a member of Millwright’s Local 1592 out of Sarnia. In time, he became more and more involved in union activities, including being Union Steward, as he was very knowledgeable about union procedures. David’s strength was his commitment to the concept of “Brotherhood”; standing by his union brothers and sisters and offering support and encouragement whenever he could. This was a quality that David’s father Douglas instilled in him from an early age.

On a blind date in October of 1992 David was introduced to the woman he would come to love as his life partner, Ruth Ann Doughty. As the story goes, they dated for six months and then took a four year hiatus from each other. By late 1996 they were back seeing each other again. The two love birds were married on April 24, 1999 at Wesley United Church in Jarvis. The happy couple soon welcomed their daughter Heather in 2000. Heather joined her older sister Jessica and their family of four was complete. Over the coming years the family spent time in Angus, Collingwood and New Lowell before settling in Hanover in 2011.

David knew the meaning of hard work as well as the necessity of having balance in one’s life. So he worked hard and played hard, primarily with his family. He loved his three girls; Ruth, Jessica and Heather and was looking forward to welcoming his future son-in-law Rob (another boy!) into their family. Of course, this did not preclude his Mom Sheila who had moved in with their family after his father’s death in 2012. And who could forget his beloved furry, four-legged friends, with “Hooch” topping that list.

Being surrounded by women apparently meant that David had no choice but to like musicals. He especially liked Westside Story (because there was a fight scene) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the 1954 musical, (likely because of the unrealistic dance with axes!). He did not, however, like Momma Mia! To say that David had an eclectic taste in music would not be a lie. He loved everything from Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” to Camila Cabello’s “Havana”, from Rihanna to Dwight Yoakam (we kid you not!) to The Sugarhill Gang’s 1979 single, "Rapper's Delight." Anything that had a beat was fair game for David. In actuality though, David’s love of music likely came from his family. His grandfather was a talented drummer in his day and his mother loved to sing.

Seeking balance, the yin and yang of life, also meant golfing, fishing, cheering for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and enjoying holidays, especially Halloween and Christmas. He absolutely loved having people over and would work side by side with Ruth to create a very hospitable and delicious evening. Summer holidays also meant sun bathing and time on the beach! David didn’t always remember to apply sunscreen though and on more than one occasion Ruth would be forced to help with the application. With a smile on her face, Ruth often remembered adding a little sand to the lotion to make the application just right!

Following NASCAR was another way David balanced his life. Going to Las Vegas and attending Richard Petty’s Driving School was a definite highlight. David never forgot the exhilaration of driving a race car! Kyle Busch was David’s favourite driver to watch. This is not to downplay David’s love of blackjack, however. He was a really good dart player (just ask Rob!) and enjoyed a good game of euchre or cribbage. Collecting baseball caps was another passion for David. Now this may, or may not, have had anything to do with sitting in the sun so much. It did, however, definitely have something to do with giving Ruth a cap as a gift and then desperately needing to go out and buy a new one for himself!

David enjoyed watching the Food Network, Gusto, TSN and the History Channel on television. And of course, to know David was to know of his love of reading (Not!). It has been said that he read the same one book over and over again or was it that he only read the first page of his one book, over and over again? In recent years, David came to enjoy a glass of red wine. He loved any type of gummies, especially Jube Jubes ( he always saved most of the red ones for Ruth), and he loved his steak! But why go out to eat steak when he David did such an incredible job of BBQing them at home? According to David, turkey was not just for Christmas. One had to have turkey at least several times a year!

David was the champion of one liners. In fact, they were more than just one liners, they were life lessons in just a few words. “Go hard or go home” was one such phrase. “Eat before you go somewhere” was another catchy saying as one could never know what you would be fed. “If you have fight with someone don’t go to your Mom because I will back you up.” “Make it happen!” inevitably meant one wasn’t moving fast enough. “Tree…. Apple” was yet another. You really have to ask his family about that one!

David also had an astonishing ability to do impersonations. David could mimic anyone or anything. He especially enjoyed giving a voice to their dog, Hooch! There was one particular voice he was really good at but you definitely have to ask the girls about that one! :) David was the life of any party. He was charismatic and people were drawn to him often confiding in him. He loved entertaining, was loud, a great cook (Smore’s and the best pizza ever!) and enjoyed hosting wine and cheese parties. Anyone who knew him would understand that this sweet, loving, dedicated, loyal and genuine man would do anything to help those around him.

In the last 3 years David found new Brotherhood in joining the Masons Forest Lodge in Chesley. It had been a wish of his father’s that they attend together but sadly, it was not possible for Douglas. David was so proud to be a member of an ancient Brotherhood that embodied all of the values that he also embraced.

In 2007, he suffered a heart attack and although a large setback, David used this experience to become more empathetic when dealing with others. In the years that followed his health continued to present challenges however, David would never complain and always focused on the good things in life. Unfortunately, his declining health forced him to step away from work in the Fall of 2017 and he passed away suddenly on Monday, March 26, 2018 in his 51st year.

Beloved husband of Ruth. Loving father of Jessica Stephen and her fiance Rob Thomas of Welland and Heather Stephen at home. Cherished son of Sheila Stephen of Hanover and brother of Fiona (John) MacGillivray of Elliot Lake. David was predeceased by his father Douglas Stephen.

A Masonic Lodge service will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home on Friday evening at 6 p.m. Friends are invited to join David's family following the service from 6:30 - 9 p.m. A Celebration of David's Life will be held at the funeral home on Saturday, April 7, 2018 at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Heart & Stroke Foundation or The Lung Association would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.

Send to friend
Margie Wathke
April 7, 2018
My deepest sympathy to all of you. Treasure all of the laughter and memories. Sending strength! - Mrs. Wathke
David & Joan Cook
April 5, 2018
Ruth, Jesse Heather,
Our hearts are torn that our great friend David has left you and us way too early in life. We will always cherish our time as your neighbors and your trip to NL with us. Be strong knowing David has loved his three girls so much. David will be fondly remembered always.
Peggy and Lloyd Savery
April 3, 2018
Ruth, Jessica and Heather, we are so sorry to hear of your loss. Please remember we are here if you need us. Thinking of you all.
Charlie & Donna Wylie
April 2, 2018
Dear Ruth, Jessica and Heather
Charlie, myself and the girls offer our deepest sympathy to you and your family. Words cannot express how sorry we are for your loss. Our thoughts are with you.
Sheena Middleton
April 2, 2018
Ruth and family: So sorry to hear about the passing of your husband. You are, and have been, in the thoughts and prayers of all the staff at Paisley Central.
James & Pamela Lee
April 2, 2018
With heavy heart we say goodby to one of the most fantastic individuals you could ever meet a real gentleman a great father and a true friend a honour to to worked and associated with him
Larry And Carolyn Banfield
April 1, 2018
So sorry to here this our deepest sympathys to you Ruth and also to your family
Shelley Deschenes
March 31, 2018
Its with heavy heart that I am writting this. Dave was a superior mentor and teacher as I worked with him on many jobs. The universe just gained a bright new star, Whenever his family looks up he will be the brightest one shinning down on all of you. He will be greatly missed by each and everyone of us.
Darlene MacIsaac
March 31, 2018
Dear Ruth and family, my sincere condolences to all of you as you mourn the passing of your husband and father. My heart breaks for you as I know how much you all loved him. Prayers to you in your time of need
Cory king
March 31, 2018
Iam honored and blessed to have known Dave. He was a great man that could light up any room with his smile, he will be missed. My deepest condolences go out to his family
Wanda & Aurelio Lopes
March 31, 2018
Ruth,Jessica and Heather,
We send our heart felt condolences. We enjoyed our time with you two immensely. I can’t express my heartfelt sorrow at your loss . Hugs and sympathy Ruth .
Sue Hilton
March 30, 2018
Ruth and family, deepest condolences to all of you. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Karen and Shawn Pineo
March 30, 2018
Dear Sheila, Ruth, Jessica and Heather,
We are so very sorry for your loss. You are all in our thoughts. Love from the Pineo family
Anne & Ian McMillan
March 29, 2018
Ruth, Jessica & Heather,
We are so sorry to hear of your loss. Please know that your extended Doughty family is thinking of you at this difficult time.
Love from your Cousins.
Duncan McIntosh
March 29, 2018
Ruth and family,
On behalf of the members and staff of Millwright Local 1592 i would like to send our deepest condolences on your grave loss. Dave will be missed by his brothers and sisters of which he shared his work life and home life with. He was always a positive person to speak to. Our prayers are with you and your family.
Donna MacMillan
March 29, 2018
Dear Ruth and family: It is with great sadness that I learn of Davids passing. Such an amazing man and all around great guy to those that knew him. He will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathy. I keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Take care
Scott and Susan Thomas
March 29, 2018
Ruth, Jess and Heather - We were so sorry to hear about Dave's passing. We are here for you if you need anything. Our thoughts are with you.
Heather & Daniel Albert
March 29, 2018
Ruthie, Jess and Heather. My heart goes out to all of you. Had so many laughs when we all lived in the neighbourhood and afterword. I truly do believe we went around the world together. Dave was such a great guy and I know “his girls” were his total life and loved you all so much
Jacquelyn colling
March 28, 2018
It is with great sadness that I write this message. There are so many things that I could say but I'm sure you have heard them all. He was a great man, & by the way he talked about his family, he was a wonderful husband and father as well. Its sad to think about not seeing him around or being able to contact him for his Superior advice & honest opinion. You ladies should be proud of the impact he had on his fellow millwrights. Dave will be deeeply missed. Hugs
Terry Murphy
March 28, 2018
Ruth I will dearly miss Dave coming in with his coffee and talking my condolences to the family he WILL be missed
Paul Mueller
March 28, 2018
Ruth,Jessica and Heather;
I send you my deepest sympathy during this time of unfortunate grief that yous are going through now. Davey was great person and he always lightened any room up with is smile and great sense of humor. I along with many of his brothers of Local 1592 will greatly miss the chance to not work your husband/father anymore, there was never a shortage of entertainment with him around. May all the great memories be cherished forever.

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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

“Nathan, you present yourself very well. Facilities were all that could be expected.”

“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

“You did everything really well. All needs were met and then some.… We received positive comments on the stationary. Great keep sakes. The book and slideshow were beautiful.”

Elaine King

“We had no concerns- worries, nothing, but confidence in the staff – we knew exactly how everything would happen and when - it was so nice not to have to concern ourselves with anything.”

Rebecca Becker

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

Bernice Frook

"No improvement needed. We were pleased with everything."

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

“Staff is exceptional!... All needs were met.”

“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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