William Jeremiah Nephi Brown was born on Thursday, April 12, 1934 in Amabel Township to parents Nephi and Rotha Brown. Jerry was the oldest of eleven children and therefore had a lot of extra responsibility around the family farm, near Park Head. In time, he was joined by younger siblings Louis, Walter, Norman, Elmer, Reg, Mary, Violet, Barbara, Edna and Betty. He attended school down the road, outside of Park Head, however left school at the young age of 14 to enter the workforce.
In the beginning, Jerry worked at a variety of neighbouring farms before taking a job repairing telephone lines. In 1951, at the young age of 17, Jerry was repairing lines in Shouldice Settlement when he was invited to a local euchre party. This invitation forever changed his life as he met his future wife, Elva Joanne Bellamy. The young couple soon began dating and were married two years later on October 31, 1953. They enjoyed their first night as husband and wife honeymooning in Toronto where they were entertained by the many children in their Halloween costumes.
The Brown’s spent their first year of marriage in Shallow Lake before moving out to the Bellamy farm on the 14th of Keppel. Elva and Jerry’s family soon began to grow with the arrival of Robert in 1954, followed by Doug (1956), Phyllis (1958) and Ronald (1964). Here the family mixed farm with Jerry picking up some outside work to help support their growing family. Repairs and carpentry work was part of everyday life on the farm so Jerry soon ventured out to begin his own carpentry business. He had a strong work ethic and was extremely hard working so it should be no surprise that he soon began to see success in his new business venture. He worked mostly at home renovations and smaller construction projects and built his business slowly with hard work!
In 1974, friends encouraged Jerry and Elva to move south and they bought an undeveloped piece of property on the south end of Chesley. They went to work immediately and began constructing their home. It was June 1974. By fall, the house was roughed in and the family was moved in before the snow flew. This labour of love remained Jerry’s home until his death.
In their free time Jerry and Elva enjoyed camping and joining their fellow Gypsy Campers. In total there were approximately fifty or so couples who travelled the province attending numerous jamborees. These memorable experiences continued for approximately twenty years. In addition to camping and the jamborees Jerry also enjoyed square dancing and volunteering his time yearly at the Heritage Farm & Steam Show. He was also an active member of St. John’s United Church, where here too, he offered his helping hand whenever he could. Jerry was also known to cut his fair share of wood in his day and he thoroughly enjoyed this time with nature. Other interesting facts about Jerry include his phobia of snakes, that he was extremely ticklish and although he was a meat and potatoes man one of his favourite foods was sardines.
Jerry was an honest, hard-working man who was always helping others, particularly his family. In later years, he was a caregiver to his late wife Elva, and was always there to help her with her every need. Sadly, Elva died in December 2015 and Jerry was left to navigate the road ahead by himself. However, as fate would have it in time he was introduced to Bonnie Hemstock, who herself was also recently widowed. The two connected immediately as they had many similar interests. In recent years, they were regularly seen together, often out for a drive in Jerry’s brown Ford pick-up. Their friendship and companionship continued to grow with time and they both thrived, supporting one another. Their families were also extremely thankful for this relationship as it allowed both Jerry and Bonnie to remain independent.
Sadly, Jerry suffered a severe heart attack days before his death. Although difficult, he got his wish, and was able to remain in his own home until the end. In recent days, he received much love and numerous calls from his family as he recovered, but sadly it was not meant to be. Jerry passed away in hospital, comforted by his sons Doug and Ron, on Thursday, April 29, 2021 in his 88th year.
Devoted husband of the late Elva (2015). Loving father of Robert (Kathleen) of Texas, Douglas (Heather) of Woodstock, Phyllis (Roger) Provencher of Langley, B.C. and Ronald (Karen) of Woodstock. He will live on in the memories of his grandchildren, Sonja (Matthew), Erika (Rhye), Keith, Jeremy, Stephen (Ashley), Kate (Rob), David (Thessaly), Aaron (Amber) as well as his great-grandchildren Victoria, Josalyn, Alexis, Elyssa, Nicholas and Evan. Jerry will be missed by his brothers Norman, Elmer (Darlene), Reg and sister-in-law Sabina Brown. Lovingly remembered by Bonnie Hemstock, his dear partner and friend for the last few years, and the entire Hemstock family. Jerry was predeceased by siblings Walter, Louis, Barbara, Mary, Violet, Edna, Betty Lou and his parents Nephi and Rotha Brown.
A public opportunity to pay your respects to Jerry will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 from 6 – 9 p.m. Please note due to gathering restrictions Jerry’s family will NOT be present for the visitation, to allow for more extended family, friends and neighbours an opportunity to say goodbye to Jerry! In order to attend, all guests must call the funeral home and register – please call (519 363-2525) anytime daily from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. to register. All visitors will be required to wear face masks and socially distance. A private funeral service celebrating Jerry’s life will be held on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. A livestream of the service will be available on the funeral home website through Zoom beginning at 2 p.m. A recording of the service will also be available on the funeral home website on Thursday. Interment in Chesley Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Heart & Stroke Foundation would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.