Paulina Gertrude was born in Hoek, Holland on September 12, 1932 to parents Marinus and Maria Johanna (vanHoeve) Dieleman. Her younger brother Abe was born in 1934 before the family immigrated by boat to Canada in 1935. The Dieleman family soon settled on a tobacco farm near Glen Meyer, outside of Aylmer. In time Paulina and Abe were joined by three younger sisters, the twins Nellie and Marie (1939) and Betty (1947). Life on the farm was busy and everyone had their jobs, including the kids. Paulina attended a local rural school before enrolling in high school at East Elgin Secondary School in Aylmer.
In 1948 the Dieleman family moved to the Port Stanley area where they had purchased a farm. Once again they produced tobacco, and Paulina made the difficult decision to forgo returning to school, to instead help her parents and family on the farm. The Dieleman’s tobacco operation often required the help of additional staff, and in the mid 1950’s hired a young man by the name of James Gordon Parish. In addition to his work, Jim took a liking to a quiet, beautiful Paulina. In time, the young couple began dating before being married in the manse of Knox Presbyterian Church in St. Thomas on September 27, 1958 by Rev. Rodney. Once married, the newlyweds rented a home nearby, remained close to the Dieleman family farm for the next year before going out on their own in 1959, growing tobacco on shares.
Life for Jim and particularly Paulina quickly changed as their family soon began to grow. Janalie was born in 1959, followed by Jim Jr. (1960), Randy (1961), Mark (1963) and Brent (1964). To say life was busy for Paulina would be an understatement as at one point she was caring for four children in diapers… imagine! In 1967 the Parish family relocated to Springfield where they owned and operated a dairy farm. Paulina always cared for the calves, as she had the perfect touch nurturing them along. In the summer months, she could also be found out in the fields raking hay. In addition to raising her young family, Paulina helped Jim where she could, and was always responsible for helping with the farm books. In 1970, Paulina took a job off the farm at a local factory, remaining there for the next three years. By 1972, the family moved to the outskirts of St. Thomas and explored a different avenue in life.
Jim was a gifted musician and by this time had his own band. Paulina soon took to music as well, learning the bass from Jim’s bandmate Neil DeGraw. Their children were also immersed in this love of music and soon followed their parent’s footsteps, beginning their own band. As the kids grew, they eventually teamed up with their parents and formed the Jim Parish Family Band. They played at a variety of events through the years including weddings, anniversaries, and community events. As they grew a name for themselves they started performing at bigger events as well, eventually performing at the CNE for ten straight days. When the kids were in high school, the summer months were spent on the road travelling through Northern Ontario performing at a variety of events. They did this yearly for three summers and even ventured into Manitoba on occasion. In 1983, the family and band headed west and spent the next two years performing as far away as Yellowknife, at a variety of bars and nightclubs. As a family, performing and travelling together for this time period, the memories made were unforgettable.
But like every situation, all good things must come to an end, and the family returned to Ontario and settled on a farm outside of Dundalk. The year was 1984. Here, Paulina and Jim worked together raising veal calves and eventually tried their hand at raising Standardbred horses. In 1988 Paulina and Jim moved farther north, with the family, and settled on a farm, on the 12th of Bentinck, outside of Elmwood. Raising Standardbreds soon led to horse racing and the Parishes remained in this industry until they retired from farming in 2016. Paulina loved spending Saturday nights at the track, spending time with family, and cheering on the horses.
As you can imagine, Paulina had minimal spare time. During downtime, she enjoyed crocheting, canning, and gardening. She and Jim also travelled a bit, spending time in Florida and Nashville through the years. It should be no big surprise that she loved country music, with Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline being two of her favourites. Paulina also enjoyed her four-legged companions, loving and caring for many family dogs and cats throughout her life. She was also a fabulous cook and was renowned for her casseroles, especially the “Racetrack Special.” This favourite was a quick meal for those Saturday nights when they were heading to the track and was a family favourite for not only her children but the grandchildren as well. Although quiet, and a bit timid, Paulina would open up around family and friends. She never complained, no matter the circumstance, never judged people, and always took the positive view on things. These admirable traits gained Paulina much respect throughout her life.
Paulina’s faith played an important role throughout her life. As a child, she and her family attended the Christian Reformed Church in Aylmer and these Christian values remained with her for the rest of her life. She often told the kids of how she prayed for them every night and worked hard to pass these values down to her children. In January of 2015, when she suffered a severe stroke, it was Paulina’s faith again that brought peace and comfort to her and those around her. No one liked the physical limitations she was left to live with, but Paulina continued to put her best self forward and live out each day to its fullest. Sadly, she needed more care and spent some time in Lucknow, before calling Rockwood Terrace her final home in 2017. She loved the regular visits and phone calls from her family, especially Jim, her children, and grandchildren. Paulina was always interested in what was going on in their lives and catching up. Sadly, without warning, Paulina passed away suddenly on Sunday, November 8, 2020 at the age of 88.
Beloved wife of Jim of Chesley. Loving mother of Jan (Reg) Knapp of R.R. #4 Chesley, Jim Jr. (Sylvia) of Blyth, Randy (Julia) of Aylmer, Mark (Joanne) of Damascus and Brent (Aneetta) of Chesley. Cherished grandmother of Dianna, Ben, Corey (Laura), Joanne (Arlin), David (Kirsten), James (Candace), Katelyn, Brendyn (Keri-lyn), Cherise (Ben), Shaylyn and Jessalyn as well as great-grandmother of Molly, Tayson, Charles, Case, Josiah, Alissa, Nicolas, Linnaya, Levi, Macey, Axel, Rémy, Arie, Crosby, Alexis and Denver. Paulina will be dearly missed by her sisters Nellie Montgomery of Burlington, Marie Carter of Midhurst, sister-in-law Theresa Dieleman and brother-in-law Theo Afman. She was predeceased by her sister Betty Afman, brother Abe Dieleman and her parents Marinus and Maria (vanHoeve) Dieleman.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the family has decided to hold a private funeral service honouring Paulina’s life at Geneva Presbyterian Church, Chesley. Although you cannot join Paulina’s family in person, you are encouraged to view her funeral service on the Rhody Family Funeral Home website. Paulina’s funeral service will be available to view beginning Saturday evening.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to Geneva Presbyterian Church, Hanover & District Hospital Foundation or the charity of your choice would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.