John Dirstein

Rhody Family Funeral Home

John Frederick was born in Elmwood on Monday, January 22, 1945 to parents George and Elsie (Schuknecht) Dirstein. He was the third of six children, with older sisters Marie and Bernice and younger siblings, Dorothy, Herb and Kathryn following him. The Dirstein family resided in Elmwood where John attended public school. 

Rather than enrolling in high school John decided he would head off into the workforce. He soon began at Krug Bros. in Chesley, a position he held for the next 13 years, before a short stint (4 years) at Heirloom.

At the young age of 15, John along with two friends met up with three young women for a night out. One of those young women, Brenda Marlene Nightingale, also 15, attracted John's eye. Their relationship blossomed and the two were married on August 11, 1962 at St. John's Lutheran Church in Elmwood. In time they welcomed their three children and the family settled in Chesley.

John loved the outdoors, especially the warm, summer months. He was forever out in the bush doing what he loved, cutting wood. Apparently, in John's mind at least, you could never cut enough wood! The Dirstein family also enjoyed camping together. Back in the 70's the family started with the basics. In time they found a permanent summer home at Lion's Head Beach Campground. Over the next 35 years they occupied site 3, building and enjoying the friendships created along the way.

John's appreciation of wood was not just seen in the bush, but at work as well. He was very skilled at his craft. Over the years he held the position of Head Sawyer and then later operated the "Gibben" machine at Hanover Kitchens, were he worked for 34 years, until his retirement in 2005.

In his spare time, John enjoyed watching sports on TV, a good game of cards, particularly Caribbean Stud or Euchre, or the occasional scratch ticket. As you can probably tell he wasn't afraid to gamble a bit, and always had fun at the casino! He appreciated the occasional Old Vienna and later Sleeman product. When it came to music, it had to be classic country westerns with "Maple Sugar" being a favourite. And who could forget his four-legged friends! John and Brenda always had a dog around the house. John was particularly fond of German Shepherds, however in recent years their beloved little terrier, Sadie, won over his heart.

John, or Chief as he was sometimes referred to, was a hard working, charming, "gentle" man. He was a great storyteller but also enjoyed just shooting the shit! He had an exceptional memory and in recent years perfected the art of lip reading, due to hearing loss from the workplace. 

Sadly, John's health had declined recently and he passed away at Hanover & District Hospital on Thursday, April 12, 2018 in his 74th year.

Beloved husband of Brenda. John will be missed by his children, grandchildren and his entire extended family, including his four-legged companion Sadie. He was predeceased by his four sisters and parents George and Elsie (Schuknecht) Dirstein.

At John’s request, cremation will take place and there will be no services.

Memorial donations to SickKids Foundation or London Health Sciences Foundation would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.

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John Dow
April 27, 2018
Brenda , sorry for your loss John was a great guy to work with and so much fun . He really was a gentle soul.
Karen Fischer
April 17, 2018
So sorry to hear of Johns passing. my sympathies to you all!!!
Carol M. Jarvis
April 16, 2018
Deepest sympathy to the Dirstein family.
Jamie and Candi Jarvis
April 16, 2018
Thinking of you at this difficult time.
Sandra Grubb
April 16, 2018
I am so sorry for your loss. John will be greatly missed by all. My thoughts and prayers are with you all in this difficult time.
April 15, 2018
So to hear of your loss we used to have a lot of fun RIP John
April 15, 2018
Thinking of you all during this difficult time Brenda, Marlene, Scott, Paul & families.
Enola Mackinnon
April 15, 2018
My heartfelt condolences Brenda and Family. May he rest in paradise...
Anne benoit
April 15, 2018
So very sorry for your loss
Penny and John Crawford
April 15, 2018
So sorry for your loss Brenda and family. Our deepest sympathy to all
Sue Laver
April 14, 2018
So sorry to hear of John's passing. I will sure miss seeing him with his faithful companion driving around Chesley. To Brenda and family my deepest condolences to you all .
Bob and Susan Byers
April 14, 2018
Brenda and family, we were so sorry to hear of John's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Don Brownlee
April 14, 2018
Brenda and family, so sorry to hear of Johns passing. Fond memories from Hanover Kitchens with you both....
Carol-Ann (Sachs) Beckett
April 14, 2018
Brenda and Family

A leaf in our book of memories is gently turned today.
The sorrow placed upon that page is as fresh as yesterday.
We cannot halt the hand of time or live again the past.
But in our hearts are memories that will forever last.
April 14, 2018
April 14, 2018
My deepest sympathy
Carol white
April 14, 2018
So sorry to hear this
Judy McClement
April 14, 2018

So sorry to hear of your loss. Keep your memories close.
Jim & Linda Murray
April 14, 2018
Brenda and family, deepest condolence for your loss. RIP John
Cheryle Schuknecht
April 13, 2018
My sincere condolences to Brenda,Marlene, Paul,Scott and families. From your cousins Cheryle and Judy Schuknecht
Brenda & Dave Hamel
April 13, 2018
Brenda and family, so sorry for loss
Jim and Yvonne Witzke
April 13, 2018
Our deepest sympathy to Brenda and the family. Our prayers are with you at this time.
Jeanette & Francis Williams
April 13, 2018
• May our condolences bring you comfort and may our prayers ease the pain of this loss.
Lorretta mason and family
April 13, 2018
You are all in our thoughts and prayers at this time. Remembering all the great memories of you all we have. RIP John God bless

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Our Testimonials

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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