Don Beckenhauer

Rhody Family Funeral Home

Donald Edward was born on August 23, 1941 in Hanover. He was the youngest child of Henry and Laurine (Schilling) Beckenhauer, joining older siblings Gordon (1935), Harry (1936) and Ruth (1939). He attended public school in Elmwood and was among the first group of high school students sent to high school in Chesley. By this time, Don was already working side-by-side with his father in the family business, Beckenhauer Garage, which was established in 1949. He soon left school, passed his mechanic license, and began working full-time as a mechanic at the garage at 16.

Through his late teens and early 20's, Don picked up a few nicknames that included "Abe" and "Shore." Don's sidekick in many of his early day adventures was Don Ahrens, a.k.a. "The Squire" or "Joe Black." I am told they made quite the duo, and many of their outings gave them stories that lasted their lifetime. Don also decided at the age of 16 to join the Elmwood Fire Department. He remained a member for the next 49 years, as he was forced to retire (by current legislation) at the age of 65. During his tenure, he acted as Fire Chief for ten years.

In 1963 Don attended a dance at the Rendezvous (Knights of Columbus Hall, Hanover) where he was introduced to a young woman by the name of Verna Jean Reay. They danced the night away before Verna drove Don home, as his friend whom he came with wasn't real happy with him dancing with Verna. :) The two began dating immediately and were soon married at St. James Anglican Church in Hanover on July 9, 1965. They moved immediately into their newly built home in Elmwood and soon welcomed their first two children, Holly (1967) and Scot (1970). Don bought the garage from his father in 1972, which included a fleet of school buses as well. Their family was complete after the additions of Erin (1978) and Trevor (1979).

In 1983, Verna and Don purchased a rural 40-acre property on the outskirts of Elmwood. This soon became their country oasis and weekend home. In the early years, they camped on the property, working to clear it and make it their own. Over the years they built it up and it soon became known as "Cedar Rose." Don loved this property and it became home for him and Verna in 2014 when they built their final home. When not hunting on the property Don could often be found building or repairing something. He also loved entertaining friends and family at the property. When alone, he was also accompanied by his furry four-legged friend, with Dallas and Rosie being favourites.

When not busy at work or play, Don remained active within the community. He was a member of the Elmwood Chamber of Commerce and St. John's Lutheran Church, whereby he was active with the Church Council and the Property Committee, clearing snow at the church for years. Other free time was spent snowmobiling, flying his remote model airplanes, woodworking, and hunting. He always looked forward to his yearly trip north to Nipigon for moose hunting with the boys and I am told was a great shot!

Don and Verna explored much of the east and west coast of Canada in their motor home. He also enjoyed taking bus trips down to the Blue Jays game and was a big fan of the team. He was known to enjoy the occasional beverage, with a beer or a shot of Wiser's being his favourites. Following getting a guest a drink, Don would often follow that up with an offer of a pepperette from Bentinck Packers. He was also well known for his sauerkraut and odd mixtures when it came to combining foods for a meal. He read the paper daily, to keep up on local news. Reading was also used to gain knowledge as Don strongly believed that you "never buy anything you can make yourself!"

He was a patient, easy-going man who led a simple life. His smile was contagious and he was always in search of the next bargain. He could literally fix anything, big or small, and was known to do things his own way, which might have frustrated Verna on more than one occasion. Don was slow to anger, but apparently Trevor had one run-in with the dishwasher, that stirred his dad up a bit and was quite memorable. He was very close with friends and family and his absence will be dearly missed during family meals and holidays. 

In 2008, Don began to experience early symptoms of dementia. His dad had suffered the same fate, so he was diagnosed early. Verna and her family worked hard to continue to care for him at home as his condition worsened. In May of 2017, he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and remained at home with Verna until July of this year. He passed away at Parkview Manor, Chesley on Thursday, October 17, 2019, in his 79th year.

Beloved husband of Verna (Reay). Loving father of Holly (John) McCurdy of New Hamburg, Scot (Rhonda), Erin (Doug) Cowell, all of Elmwood and Trevor (Tina) of Sherwood Park, Alberta. Don will be dearly missed by his grandchildren Laura (Nick), Sean (Ascacia), Ian (Megan), Emily, Sarah, Benjamin, Gracie, Vanessa, Shea, Erick, and great-grandchildren Michael, Evelyn and Ethan. Sadly missed by his brothers Gordon of Waterloo, Harry (Lorraine) of Kelowna, B.C., and the entire Reay family. Don was predeceased by his sister Ruth Beckenhauer (George Kelly), sister-in-law Doreen Beckenhauer and his parents Henry and Laurine (Schilling) Beckenhauer.

A memorial service honouring Don’s life will be held at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Elmwood on Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 11 a.m. Inurnment in St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery. A celebration of Don’s life will follow in the upstairs level of the Elmwood Community Centre from 1 - 4 p.m., all are welcome.

Memorial donations to the Elmwood Fire Department, Hanover Day Away Program (please make cheques payable to HCSS) or St. John’s Lutheran Church would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.

Send to friend
Jane and Ben Eckensweiler
October 31, 2019
Sending our sincere sympathies to Verna and family. Whether at the garage, at various Elmwood events or during Norm's bus driving days, Don's smile will always be remembered.
Sorry for your loss.
Mike and Lori Thompson
October 26, 2019
Sending our condolences to your family at this time.
Leanne Borton
October 25, 2019
My sincerest condolences to the Beckenbauer family. I have so many great childhood memories of time spent with the family.
John and Jessie McCurdy
October 24, 2019
Our deepest condolences to John, Holly and family and to all the Beckenhauer family.
Christina Winkels
October 24, 2019
Thinking of you all, my sincere condolences. I enjoyed looking after Don at the Day Away
Ford family
October 23, 2019
So sorry for your lose my condolences to the family I have heard the odd story about donny from my dad before he to passed away that are probably having a laugh together already
marilyn brocklebank
October 23, 2019
What memories I have of Don and Verna from past years at Cameron Lake and Elmwood. With Gary owning the hardware store across the street from the garage there were many good times. My sympathies to Verna and the family.
Brent, Cheryl Leifso & family
October 23, 2019
Please know that you are all in our thoughts as you remember Don. Our sympathy is extended to the entire family during this difficult time.
Todd&Tammy Harris (Miller)
October 23, 2019
Condolence to the Beckenhauer family.
Kevin Dailey
October 23, 2019
Sorry to hear of your loss. Please accept my condolences.
Dwayne Frook
October 23, 2019
Deepest sympathy to each of you, Don’s family. My thoughts are with you at this difficult time.

Dwayne Frook
Donna Hatten
October 23, 2019
Sending my sympathy to the Beckenhauer family. So sorry for your loss. May all your memories bring you comfort and peace at this sad time.
Karey-Lane Reid & family
October 23, 2019
Verna, Scot, Rho, Em, Sarah and rest of the Beckenhauer family..... so sorry to hear of Don's passing. You will have many family memories to cherish in the years to come.
Ken and Leesa swigger
October 21, 2019
Sending our deepest sympathies to all at this very sad time! We have fond memories of Don that we will always treasure! Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers!
Jo-Anne Cook
October 21, 2019
Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this time. Lots of memories of Don and the Garage in Elmwood. Going over to get chocolate bars as a child and then seeing Don at the ADP program. I will remember his smile forever.
Roger Jacklin
October 21, 2019
So sorry for your Loss, i have many great memories of going out Snowmobiling with Don and Scott.
My Deepest condolences to your family,

Kathy and Bev Bailey
October 21, 2019
So sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Paul & Colleen Schultz
October 21, 2019
Condolences on the passing of Don. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
Wayne & Linda McLeod
October 21, 2019
Our thoughts and condolences go to your family .
Dale and Dianne Ahrens
October 20, 2019
Deepest sympathies to the entire Beckenhauer family. It was a pleasure to hangout with Don at Day Away, playing solo and just chatting.
We remember all the good times and laughs you had with Norm and Audrey.
The bus rides you gave to us and our kids over the years!
Hugs to you
Dale and Dianne
Kathy Russwurm
October 20, 2019
So very sorry for the lose of your husband, Dad and Grandpa. He will be missed by so many and remembered as a true gentleman. You are all in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. Xo
Theressa Stade
October 20, 2019
Sincere sympathy to the entire family at this difficult time. Thoughts and prayers
Amy and Chris Stephen
October 20, 2019
Thinking of you all at this time, and holding the entire family in our thoughts and prayers. So sorry for your loss.
Ron and Ingrid DeVisser
October 20, 2019
Praying that God will comfort you all in this time of loss. Our deepest condolences.
Mike Gateman
October 19, 2019
Our thoughts are with the Beckenhauer families during this time.
Vanda & Darcy Wagner
October 18, 2019
Keeping your family in our thoughts and prayers. So sorry for your loss.

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Margaret Ellis & Family

Because of COVID-19 we had to do the complete service from home via D.V.D. GREAT!

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I was amazed that I could smell KFC fries when I first walked in at the visitation. That was so lovely. My husband would have loved it. Thank you again for that! 

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[I] have already told many people what an amazing job you did. My entire family and friends couldn’t agree more! Everything was totally looked after. Things I never would have thought of were either done or brought to my attention. Thank you so much for everything you did. It made a really rough time a little easier to handle. Thank you!

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Nathan and his staff are kind, compassionate and gentle as they guide you through the process of celebrating the life of your loved one. My family has worked with Rhody Funeral Home five times now and each time they have went above and beyond to support us and to honour our loved ones. We will be forever grateful for the professional yet personal way they approach funeral planning. Their sincere empathy and passion for helping families during this difficult time of life is a gift.

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I found yourselves very helpful and can’t think of anything negative in our experience with yourselves. We were satisfied [nothing could have been done to better serve us, including] also the travel to Tapleytown (Hamilton) at a low cost where the burial took place.

David Kuiper

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Nothing comes to my mind as to what you could have done to improve our experience. My whole family was so pleased, as was I, with every detail. All of the details were so well presented and the full staff were so helpful. In terms of pricing, we received what we asked for ten-fold. Every aspect of Jim’s funeral was so well presented and we would certainly pass this on to others. 

Karen Siegrist

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Reta Steward

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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!

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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. 

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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.

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What one thing could we have done better to improve your experience?
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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.

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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.


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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

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Kim and Alan Grant

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“Exceptional service.”

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Carol Golem

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Roberta Godwin

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Gloria Albright

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Deborah Hart

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William & Loraine Patterson

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Elaine King

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Rebecca Becker

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Bernice Frook

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Susan Taylor

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Valerie Long

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Steve Thomson

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Dave Hillier

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Olivia Strucke

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Kevin Dailey

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Siobhan Bell

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Debbie Eidt

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