Donelda Hewitson

Rhody Family Funeral Home

I don’t believe in age. I believe in energy.
Don’t let age dictate what you can and cannot do.
Tao Porchon-Lynch
97 year old yoga teacher

Donelda had boundless energy. How she managed to get as much done as she did during a day is unknown. She was fearless, brave and strong. Whether she knew it or not, Donelda was well ahead of her time and forged a path for women to come.

Donelda was born November 2, 1930 in Owen Sound to Alonzo and Jessie Lindsay (Cruickshank) Beattie. She was the only girl and third child. The oldest boy, Tracey, died at just a few months, of pneumonia. Leonard Laird was born in 1922 and Albert Alonzo in 1937. The Beattie family lived on a one hundred and fifty-acre farm on the B-Line. The children attended the Allenford School. Like most children of her time, Donelda finished school early, after grade nine, in 1945. She had attended Allenford High School.

While at a Halloween dance in Rockford, in 1946, she was smitten by an air force returnee. George “Lavern” Hewitson and Donelda had grown up only a concession apart and the families were neighbours. The Hewitsons all had farmed in the area. On Wednesday, June 9, 1948 the couple was married in the Harrison Park area of Owen Sound and the reception was held at Paragon Hall. The newlyweds borrowed a car to drive to Montreal for their honeymoon but had to ensure the car was returned the following week for another wedding!

Together Donelda and Lavern farmed and raised a thousand chickens. In fact, Lavern even built a two-floor egg barn. Friday nights were spent candling and cleaning the eggs. The eggs were then sold every Saturday morning at market and at the end of the day they returned home in a car filled with chicken feed! All this happened on a farm Lavern had bought in 1945 on the A-Line, thanks to the Veterans' Land Act of 1942. Daughter Sharon was born in 1951, son Marvin in 1954, Kelvin in 1956 and Darlene in 1958. Sharon attended a one-room schoolhouse on A-Line where she and a cousin were the only two children in Grade One.

The Hewitson family moved back and forth between Allenford and Owen Sound a couple of times before Lavern was offered a job at Putnam Scales located on Highway 401 just outside of London. Donelda began paid work, in quality control, at Essex Wire where she continued to work for twenty-eight and a half years until the plant closed. Donelda, of course, given her boundless energy, won several awards at work for perfect attendance. After working her shift, Donelda would return home and continue her work there. She always put up beets, pickles and chili sauce, just to name a few.

At a Rosy Rhubarb Festival, in Shedden, Donelda won an award for her famous rhubarb pie, beating out even the local bakery! One of her pies went for $100.00! Easter always included her rhubarb pie as just enough little rhubarbs were scalped to make one! Ham and scalloped potatoes, as well as butterscotch pie, were some of Donelda’s personal favourites! In her spare time, Donelda loved to bowl 5 Pin and play cards, especially euchre. A cute story is told of how Donelda brought with her to Bruce County her bowling bag and trophies! And this was just within the last decade.

DoneIda also loved to read. Her romance books were bought at the grocery store and hidden between her mattresses! Donelda herself wrote that a dictionary was one of her favourite things. Spelling and English were her favourite subjects in school. Watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune were another must and given her intelligence Donelda was able to answer a lot of the questions. Watching old movies, the Women’s TV Channel and Christmas movies were also favourite pastimes. She loved mysteries, reading and watching “Murder She Wrote” with Angela Lansbury. Donelda also did a lot of embroidery, runners and pillowcases, and sewing. As a young woman, Donelda loved ice skating, dances and baseball games. Faith was an important aspect of Donelda’s life and she always attended First United in St. Thomas. Donelda was a trustworthy woman who kept one’s confidence and took many secrets to her grave. She was honest, small but strong.

Sending and receiving cards were a must for Donelda. She loved to keep all of her keepsakes and enjoyed staying in touch with everyone! Celebrating both Christmas and birthdays were also a must. Her favourite season was likely Spring when she could open the windows and take a week off work to spring clean her home (image!)! Here is a great hint! Use Avon Bubble Bath, hot water and a towel to clean your windows! It works fabulously!
Red and purple were Donelda’s favourite colours although she was known to wear black and white quite a bit. She still had in her possession a reversible, plaid, skirt that was fashionable in her time. And to know Donelda is to know of her particular attention to her hair. As with a lot of women of her generation, Fridays after work were dedicated to having her hair done and she had the same hairdresser for forty years! Donelda’s list of priorities was Family #1 and her hair #2! (Too cute!) Donelda loved to walk and walk she did. Rain or snow, hail or sleet, nothing stopped Donelda from walking. She was not a sun worshipper and always wore a floppy white hat when outdoors. Friends of her family could always pick her out of a crowd by her hat!

Donelda had a number of close friends and enduring their deaths had been difficult. However, Donelda was also good friends with a number of her daughter’s friends. In fact, a number of the next generation always referred to her as “Momsy!” She was well loved and will be greatly missed by all generations, family and friends! Easter pot-lucks in Keady are still attended by hundreds of Hewitsons.

Donelda managed to live to the age that she did by refusing to feel old, admitting to her age and continuing to get a pile of work done in a day. Her boundless life energy enabled Donelda to even travel to P.E.I. in her wheelchair, on the train! She seldom let anything keep her down. And if the truth be told, Donelda had a real lead foot when driving and was so proud when she bought her first new car! Trips out west and Nashville were highlights for both Lavern and Donelda, especially as they were without the children! Every May 24 weekend was a celebration of Country music in Tennessee. Together, both Donelda and Lavern loved to feed the birds and on a hot summer’s day, Donelda would run out cold Cokes for the sanitation workers! You really have to ask her family about the “Clothespin Chuckle” times.

Both Lavern and Donelda lived their lives and ran their home in a very regimented way and perhaps that was her other secret to getting so much done in a day. This was in addition to starting their days very early in the morning. In fact, some grandchildren have called their grandparent’s home as “Boot Camp!” After suffering from Alzheimer’s, and living in Parkwood in London, Lavern died in 2004 on Donelda’s birthday, November 2. Perhaps it was his way of freeing his beloved wife.

In 2008, Donelda moved into Sharon and Elwyn’s home, which she did for almost three years. In 2008 Donelda finally stopped driving and she chose Brucelea Haven as a place to live out the rest of her days. Donelda lived at The Village in Hanover for a couple of months prior to placement in Brucelea. She moved into Brucelea November 3, 2014.

Donelda Olive Margaret (Beattie) Hewitson of Walkerton, formerly of St. Thomas, passed away in the loving presence of her family, at Brucelea Haven, Walkerton on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 in her 89th year.

Beloved wife of the late Lavern Hewitson. Loving mother of Sharon (Elwyn) McGuire of R.R. #3 Chesley, Marvin – predeceased (Joan) of St. Thomas, Kelvin (Antoinette) of St. Thomas and Darlene (Ernie) MacEwen of Marie, PEI. Loving grandmother of Terry (Susan) McGuire, Shannon (Paul) Rhody, Michelle (Reid) Murray-Neck, Jennifer Hewitson, Dean Hewitson, and Trevor (Alysha) Hewitson. Donelda will be dearly missed by her great-grandchildren, Preston Rhody, Paige McGuire, Cohen Rhody, Cole McGuire, Grayden Hewitson; brother Albert (Maxine) Beattie of Owen Sound as well as by the entire Hewitson family. She was predeceased by her brother Leonard (Ola) Beattie, infant brother Tracey and her parents Alonzo and Jessie (Cruickshank) Beattie.

Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Monday, April 22, 2019 from 12 noon until the time of the funeral service at 1:30 p.m. Interment in Hillcrest Cemetery, Tara.

Memorial donations to the Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario, Children’s Wish Foundation or Brucelea Haven Activation Fund would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.

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Beverly Malton
April 27, 2019
So sorry about your loss. Loved reading all the stories. Brother Ron was living in Owen Sound for several years (just moved back 2 years ago) and the areas you mention I well know. Let's be thankful we had loving, caring parents-they are still here because of what they made us. We miss them but know that they are now in a better place that we will visit them.
Jack and Ellen Cavill
April 23, 2019
Our sympathy to you Sharon, Elywyn and family, hold close to your memories.
Danielle Lamure
April 22, 2019
Our deepest condolences Darlene, Ernie, Mabel and your extended family. I have so many fond memories of your mum. I’m proud to have called Donelda my friend! We love you very much! Love, Danielle, Bella, Ruby and Remi. Xoxo
Eileen Mustard
April 19, 2019
Sending my condolences to you, Sharon and family at this time of loss and reflection of a life well lived.
Susan Galbraith
April 19, 2019
May God grant you peace at this time of grief and may he provide you with wonderful memories of your Mom.
Bob & Diane Murphy
April 18, 2019
Sharon, Elwin & Family,
So sorry to hear of your loss. Please accept our condolences.
Toni MacEwen
April 18, 2019
Darlene and family, I’m so sorry for your loss. From all the stories Darlene has told us Donelda was a very wonderful lady. Sending love and light your way.
Theressa Stade
April 18, 2019
So sorry Sharon and family to hear of your loss. Thoughts and prayers for you all at this time
Susanne Leifso
April 18, 2019
We send you our sincere's not easy to say goodbye to our loved ones. Our mothers were blessed to have been in Bruce Lea Haven for their last days! May GOD's peace & love be with your whole family during this time!!!
Christina Winkels
April 17, 2019
Sharon, Elwin and Family, thinking of you at this time, My sincere condolences to you all with the passing of Donelda. I had the privilege looking after her in your home and at the Hanover Day Away. She was a special lady! She'll be missed.
Krista Kerr
April 17, 2019
So sorry to hear this Shan. My thoughts are with you at this time. I know how very special this lovely lady was to you and your family. Hugs.
Sandra Hewitson Swarbrick
April 17, 2019
With deepest condolences to all of you
(Earl and Edna's eldest granddaughter)
Dave & Brenda Hamel
April 17, 2019
Sharon & Elwin, please accept our condolences with passing of your mom.

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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

Everything was perfect. We had many comments on the service and the little personal touches – that makes it special. Keep up the personal touches!!!

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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. 

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There was nothing that could have been improved. (Except the weather!) The prices were reasonable, especially with the services provided. Thank you so very much. With such a large family, everyone was very pleased on professionalism and presentation.

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I don’t think there is anything more you could have done. Everything was so professionally done, in our experience. I don’t know any place that goes the extra mile to help families accommodate their needs. Nothing could have been improved. We could not have been more satisfied.

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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!

Martie Dorland

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. 

Donna Jones-Baldwin

I feel the professional quality of services my family received was second to none.

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.

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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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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.

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Larry Bell

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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.”

Lawrence and Heather Lamarche

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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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Kevin Dailey

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Siobhan Bell

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