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Wyonna McCulloch

Rhody Family Funeral Home

Wyonna Laura Ann was welcomed into the world by parents Walter and Ruth (Leifso) Hamel on July 2, 1952 in Walkerton. She was the proud older sister of Glenna and Mark. Wyonna grew up on the 10th of Brant on a dairy farm now in its 5th generation. From the moment she could walk, Wyonna was wearing rubber boots in the barn and helping her father with the milking and working in the fields. She attended Malcolm SS#10 Public School, a one room school house, where she completed grades 1-8. She went on to attend Chesley High School, graduating in June of 1970. In the summers, Wyonna worked for the United Co-Op in Elmwood as book keeper, and began to work there full time after graduating high school. She only made 92 cents an hour, making just $7.00 a day. Time with her Leifso grand-parents was especially important to her as also were family and church gatherings

During high school, Wyonna made many good and lifelong friends, especially when playing volleyball and softball. She excelled as the catcher for teams in Elmwood Chesley and Kitchener and soon after spotted another good catch. She and Bill started dating and danced together at their high school prom. Before long, Bill knew Wyonna was the one. With his parents’ blessing and encouragement, he visited Primmer’s jewellery store to select a ring and proposed to Wyonna on her 20th birthday. With support from both families, they married 13 months later on July 28th, 1973, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Elmwood. The newlywed couple started out on a farm across from Bill’s parents. They bought another 100 acres as they welcomed their first son, Stephen in March 1976. Later that year, the McCullochs dealt with a barn fire at the home farm across the road. Bill was in the barn attempting to get the cattle out. Wyonna was home, with a new baby, worrying that she may lose the love of her life. Thankfully, Bill was safe and their family was reunited.

In September of 1978, Wyonna and Bill welcomed their second son, David. On August 1, 1980 they bought the home farm and moved across the road taking over the milking operation. These were extremely busy years with two young boys and Wyonna pregnant with the third child. In November of 1980, they welcomed their third son, Andrew, completing the family. Bill and Wyonna immersed their sons in the farming lifestyle. By this time the milking operation had grown to over 60 cows. If Wyonna saw land or cows for sale she would find a way to make it work. Her family joked that they could never get Wyonna to buy a new dress, but when it came to the farm, she had no reservations. And at the end of the day, everyone reported back to Mom! Over time, the farm grew. Wyonna was proud of her sons for carrying on the legacy of farming and expanding and incorporating the latest technology.

Aside from farming, family and community and her faith were important to Wyonna. She and Bill were dedicated members of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Elmwood. Wyonna led the Sunday School and worked with the ladies’ group at the church. She was a director at Lutheran Manor, and worked as treasurer for the ELW. In later years, Wyonna was also the treasurer at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. Her faith inspired her, and helped her through struggles. She relied on God’s guidance and was honoured to be a godparent many times over.

In addition to her work on the farm, Wyonna continued her education and contributed in her work with OFMA, HARC, and Parkview Manor. She liked sitting down with a good book, reading her way through the Chesley library. She enjoyed Sudoku puzzles. She wrote in her diary every single day from the time she was 8 years old, documenting everything that happened in her days. She loved ice cream…any flavour, especially Chapman’s. Wyonna and Bill travelled to Calgary, Kingston, Toronto and Florida to visit family. A favourite trip was their 40th-anniversary excursion to Manitoulin Island. She enjoyed annual gatherings with her girlfriends. Wyonna and Bill enjoyed entertaining friends and family at their home where she delighted in creating a welcoming environment with hearty, home cooked meals and baking often helped by her mother. She was dedicated to her mother with daily calls or visits.

Wyonna was unstoppable. Whenever someone would tell her to stop to take a break and have some fun, she would reply, “I am having fun!” She was determined, persistent and even a little stubborn. She was selfless. She would give the shirt off her back to help someone and treated everyone with kindness. Family was the most important aspect of her life. Bill and Wyonna were two weeks away from their 50th anniversary and she was enjoying making preparations for the party.

Despite dealing with health issues in later years, these were some of the best years of her life, bringing her great happiness with the addition of four wonderful grandchildren – Quinn, Joseph, Leeann, and Hannah. Finally some little girls in the family! Music, cookies and family parties brought her tremendous joy and huge smiles.

A quote that depicts Wyonna’s life reads “In any marriage, a woman makes a commitment to the man she loves. When marrying a farmer, the commitment doubles. A farm woman joins her life with a man who is dedicated to a working partnership with God in creation. He plants where there was nothing, he assists in giving life to animals and he improves the land he farms. The land goes on forever, the occupants come and go, and the time span that a farmer has to perform his brand of miracles is small. He is keeping it in trust for the next generation.”

Sadly, Wyonna passed away suddenly at London Health Services Centre – Victoria Hospital, on July 12, 2023 in her 72nd year.

Beloved wife of Bill for almost 50 years. Loving mother of Stephen (Amanda), Andrew (Roseann), both of R.R.# 1 Paisley, and David of R.R.#3 Chesley. Cherished grandmother of Quinn, Joseph, Leeann, and Hannah. Loving daughter of Ruth Hamel of Hanover. Dear sister of Glenna (David) Raymond of R.R.#1 Cargill, and Mark (Cathy) Hamel of R.R.#2 Elmwood. Wyonna will be missed by the McCulloch family, as well as many nieces and nephews. Predeceased by her father Walter Hamel.

Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley, on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, from 2 – 4 and 7 – 9 p.m., and at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Elmwood, on Thursday, July 20, 2023, from 10 – 10:45 a.m., with a funeral service followingat 11 a.m. Interment in St. Andrew’s Cemetery, Elderslie.

Memorial donations to St John’s Lutheran Church, Elmwood, St Mark’s Lutheran Church, Chesley, or the Heart and Stroke Foundation would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.

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