“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”
Grace was a devoted Christian and spent her entire life sharing and spreading the Word of God. She was determined to introduce and share Jesus’ good news with everyone and will be forever remembered as a strong and exceptional woman.
As a 12 year old girl after a tent revival service, she knelt beside her bed that night and asked Jesus to forgive her sins and live in her. She would say, “I do not understand how the God of the universe can live within me, but I know He does!”
Grace Evelyn was born at home, on her grandmother’s farm on the 10th of Brant, on Monday, January 27, 1936. Although the oldest, she was predeceased by a stillborn baby brother in 1933. Grace, along with her parents, Norman Henry and Dora Marie (Emke) Rody, welcomed her younger sister Gloria (1941), and brother, Grant (1946).
Sadly, Grace’s parents had lost their family farm during the Depression, so shortly before she was born, they moved in with her maternal grandmother, then made several moves throughout Brant Township during Grace’s youth. She began her schooling at S.S. #5 Brant, before graduating from Grade 8 from S.S. #6 Brant. As there was no bussing to high school near the family farm, Grace’s Aunt Elsie and Uncle Armin (Schlenker) invited her to board with them and their family, so that she could attend Grade 9 at Clifford Continuation School. The Rody family bought the original Rody homestead on the 15th concession of Brant (Brant Elderslie Townline) in 1950. As bussing was now available near this farm, Grace attended Chesley District High School for Grade 10, before completing Grades 11 – 13 at Walkerton District High School, graduating in 1955. Sadly, tragedy struck the Rody family in 1959 when Grace’s younger brother, Grant, died in an accident. He was 12.
From a young age, Grace was drawn to teaching. After finishing high school, Grace immediately completed a six week summer course to allow her to teach. At that time, because of the shortage of teachers, Grade 12 graduates could take this course and teach for one school year. Following the summer course, Grace taught at a rural school in Carrick Township for one year. Then, she went to Stratford Teacher’s College for one year. Upon graduation, Grace spent two years teaching at Howie’s School in Bentinck Township, before moving on to Walkerton Public School for the next six years. Much of this time was spent teaching in a Grade 1 classroom, while she also trained student teachers there. She also took a Primary Methods course, almost becoming a primary specialist. (She did all but one course of the primary specialist training, because she wanted to remain in the classroom where she could better get to know and assist the children, rather than travel around to different schools.)
In 1963, Grace met a young man by the name of Jacob “Jake” Arthur Redekopp at church. He was a new teacher in the area. She caught Jake’s eye immediately and the young couple began dating the following year. They were later married at the Paisley Missionary Church on Saturday, August 21,1965, by Rev. David Illman. The newlyweds soon called Kitchener home where Grace taught Grade 3 at Lexington Road Public School, before giving birth to their oldest daughter. Carolyn arrived in October 1966, but Grace experienced severe complications and both her and Carolyn’s lives were at risk. Many prayers were made by family and friends, and thankfully, God answered. Both of them lived. At the time, the family called the Palmerston and Harriston area home for a few years, before relocating to Hanover. It was here where the Redekopp family was blessed with the arrival of another daughter, Joy, in March 1974. There were no complications with this birth. Grace treasured both motherhood, and later, being a grandmother. Always a teacher, she homeschooled both Carolyn, then Joy for “kindergarten” (essentially a grade 1 year) before they entered public school. She wanted to teach them herself with a solid foundation, including how to read well. She later helped many of her grandchildren with these skills also.
In 1981, Grace and Jake and family moved to a new house that they had build on a lot that had been severed off from the Rody homestead on the Brant Elderslie Townline, near Ellengowan. This meant that Grace could help her parents stay in their own home on the farm. She also kept herself busy sewing her girls dresses and quilts, planting large gardens, canning fruits, jams, and relishes, cooking and baking. Together with Jake, she attended the local Farmer’s Market for years, to sell many of Grace’s handmade creations, as well as a variety of produce. She was a humble servant of the Lord, always wanting to give of herself to her family and anyone who needed a touch of caring help, sympathy, or encouragement. This was seen especially in her interactions with children and their parents and the elderly.
In 1987, Grace returned to teaching, this time as a supply/occasional teacher, mostly in the primary grades. She (and Jake) were available to all public schools within 20 miles of their home. She’d pack very interesting lessons in her bag for whatever was needed when she’d get a call to come. She always loved children and they appreciated her; she often said she felt like she was just like a big “kid” herself!
It was a priority for Grace to be involved in serving the Lord. It should be no surprise that Grace was very active in the Sunday School, serving as a teacher and superintendent for many years. Jake, she, and the girls were also involved in a variety of outreaches visiting nursing homes and churches in ministry as a family. Jake and the girls normally performed music, while Grace and the girls brought the Word of God to others through puppet shows and storytelling. In later years, she became involved more with seniors ministry and always looked to help where she could. When it got to the point where Jake and she couldn’t physically attend church each week due to their health, they would watch services on television or the computer. Beloved hymns, gospel songs, and children’s choruses were well-recalled and cherished. In recent weeks, Jake, Gloria, and Carolyn often gathered around her bedside to sing together, as she had requested to hear them, even as she passed from this world into the next.
In her free time, Grace enjoyed writing, drawing, crocheting, gardening, and devoting her time to children’s ministry. Grace loved to read. She was particularly drawn to children’s books, vintage readers, and reading from her Bible. Listening to Dr. J. Vernon McGee radio programming was another cherished pastime for Grace, as she enjoyed his messages. She was not big on travel, and much preferred life at home. Growing up as a farm girl she quickly gained an appreciation for the animals around the farm. As to be expected, a farm dog was a constant around the Redekopp residence, with her childhood companion, “Teddy” being her favourite. She also was a fan of Jersey cattle (not Holstein 🙂 and was a member of the Jersey Calf Club in her younger years. Grace was fond of the colour pastel blue, and once joked, “If the Queen looks good in it, so do I!” When it came to a treat, Grace enjoyed a nice big bowl of bread and milk soup, which was a comfort food for her, as well as one of Jake’s homemade hamburgers. In recent years, Cheezies, better known as cheese puffs, became a favourite, which she would often be excited about eating, even when other food was difficult for her to eat.
Grace could be a character and enjoyed a unique sense of humour. She used her talents at writing and drawing to document much of her life (including some of the mischief she got up to). Like most of us, she also had a strong and determined side, whereby she always stood up for her beliefs. She was beloved to Jake, the girls, and most recently her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Grace constantly gave of her gifts and teachings. She was strong in her faith in God because she personally knew Him and loved His Word. She significantly impacted many lives, and this influence will live on through others for many years to come.
In 2015, Jake and Grace moved north to be with Joy and Rob and their family, and called Huntsville home. They enjoyed this period in their life, being cared for and being close to their family. In the summer of 2019, they returned to Bruce County and took up residence in Tiverton Park Manor. Again, some of her family was close by, and they enjoyed their remaining years together. In recent months, Grace’s health declined further, but she was always comforted by family, friends, music, and the Word of God. Grace went to her heavenly home, surrounded by the love of her family on Sunday, October 22, 2023. She was 87.
Beloved wife of Jake. Loving mother of Carolyn Waddell of Tiverton, and Joy (Robert) Delmore of Margaree Valley, Nova Scotia. She was dearly loved and cherished by her twelve grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Grace will be fondly remembered by her sister Gloria Burrow of Chesley and the entire Redekopp family. She was predeceased by her son-in-law Robert Waddell, a brother in infancy, brother Grant, brother-in-law Al Burrow, and her parents Norman and Dora (Emke) Rody.
Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Friday, October 27, 2023, from 1 p.m. until the time of the funeral service at 2 p.m. Interment in Elmwood United Church Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, ShareWord Global (formerly Gideons), Thru the Bible, or a charity of your choice would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.