Gary Letcher

Rhody Family Funeral Home

 

Gary Robert was born on December 19, 1940 in Galt, Ontario to parents Henry Robert (Bob) and Ivy Marguerite (Sargeant) Letcher. He was an only child and grew up on Park Avenue in Burlington with his mother, father and Grandfather Letcher, affectionately known as “Gov”. Easterbrook’s hotdogs were a great favourite of Gary’s, especially when Mrs. Crouchley tipped him 25 cents for milk delivery on Saturdays.

Gary attended Waterdown District High School, graduating in 1959. He enrolled in Hamilton Teachers College and obtained a teaching certificate in 1960. He and Marilyn Coleman married and welcomed a son, Shawn Robert Nichol in 1962, with daughter Tara Michelle completing their family in 1969. His first teaching positions were with Beverly Acres and Crosby Heights public schools in Richmond Hill. While working fulltime, Gary continued his education and attained a Bachelor of Arts degree at York University (1970) and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Toronto (1974).

After working for the York Region District School Board, he took a position with the Simcoe County Board of Education. Gary was a talented teacher and quickly became a vice-principal and principal. He loved teaching Math, English, poetry, and many other subjects, as well as being involved in his students’ athletics. Gary was devoted to his students and his staff. He served at several schools, including Hillcrest, Innisfil Central, Goodfellow, Forest Hill, and Assikinack public schools.

Gary also became involved with the Ontario Public School Teachers Federation (OPSTF). During his time with the organization, he served as treasurer for six years and as grievance officer for four years. He then served a one-year term as President. Gary was a forward-thinking administrator, often considered ahead of his time. Upon retirement, he was named an Honorary Life Member of OPSTF.

Tobermory was one of Gary’s great loves. His parents, Bob and Ivy, bought a cottage on Hay Bay in the early 1960s. There were many years of fun and unforgettable family visits, creating wonderful memories for Shawn and Tara. Gary purchased his uncle’s cottage in the 1980s, just down the road from his parents’ cottage. He made the trek to Tobermory on weekends and worked tirelessly on the cottage, cutting brush and landscaping the rugged terrain.

Tobermory became Gary’s permanent home when he retired. He continued to improve the property, expanding the cottage twice, creating a welcoming sanctuary. He loved woodworking, restoring furniture, landscaping, fishing, boating and hunting. The hot tub was a favourite place to relax, usually with a nice cold beverage! However, shovelling a path to it was not much fun, so Gary, Reg and Shawn built an amazing indoor hot tub room, complete with cathedral ceiling and beautiful wooden beams, overlooking the lake. Paradise!

Gary was an excellent euchre player. He was a frequent prize winner for his “lone hands” at events throughout the Peninsula. He loved a good game of Backgammon (especially when he back-gammoned his opponent) and he also enjoyed chess. He was an avid reader, with authors Baldacci, Grisham, Clancy, Cornwell and Patterson being favourites. He also had a great sense of humour; many pranks were played back and forth with friends and colleagues over the years…

Gary was a life-long supporter of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the New York Rangers, attending live games with friends whenever possible; he almost never missed a televised game. He also loved the Chicago Bears. There’s a suspicious tale that he was once mistaken for the famous football player “Bronko Nagurski”. He signed quite a few autographs that day before he and co-conspirator Reg Thacker made a quick get-away!

Gary enjoyed cross-country skiing, travelling and theatre. He went on a number of cruises both before and after he retired. He loved spending winters at the Magic Tree Resort in Florida and had a real fondness for “corner spot” at the Magic Tree pool. Other favourite places included Portugal, Cuba, Mexico, Italy, Hawaii, Ireland, England and Europe, travelling throughout the US, and visiting New Brunswick with Lois for some down-east lobster dinners with family. Everyone who knew Gary knew how much he loved food, especially potluck dinners. And desserts!

Gary was an avid collector of Ontario art and paintings. He also collected Canadian paintings on decorative plates. He especially enjoyed scenes depicted by Cornelius Krieghoff. At one point, his green Depression glass numbered over a hundred pieces. He also loved his chess sets. He refinished antique furniture and loved a good yard sale, especially when there were antiques to be found and bargains to be had! However, he was a master negotiator when HE was hosting a yard sale.

As a youth, Gary joined the Royal Canadian Army Cadets. Then as a young man, he joined the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Reserves and served five years, attaining the rank of Sergeant. He was a Legion member for over 30 years: a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 290 in Tobermory and, most recently, a member of Branch #383 in Tara.

Gary and Lois met at the Toronto Airport during a bad snowstorm in 2005. They fell in love and married in Fredericton, NB. Gary graciously donned a kilt for the ceremony and looked quite dashing. Summers in Tobermory brought relaxing rides on the Chi-Cheemaun ferry, visits from life-long friends, happy hour with fellow cottagers, and delicious dinners at Gary’s harvest table. Winters were spent at Magic Tree. They were devoted to each other. Gary was also devoted to Ivy. He took excellent care of his beloved mom and missed her very much when she passed away, peacefully, in 2008, at the graceful age of 91.

Gary was affiliated with several churches over the years. He served on the Board of Stewards at Burton Avenue United Church in Barrie and has one of their original tiffany lights in his home, a prized possession. He and Lois attended the Tobermory Anglican church with Ivy and later attended the Tobermory and Tara United Churches, as his health allowed.

Their lives changed drastically when Gary was diagnosed with Parkinson’s/Lewy Body Disease in 2014. Their cottage in Tobermory presented too many physical barriers so they relocated to an accessible home in a wonderful neighbourhood in Tara. His strength, fortitude, sense of humour, and courage continued throughout during his illness. Lois cared for Gary’s every need, always putting him before herself. She continued to show unwavering love, tenderness and support to Gary throughout this difficult time, never leaving his side.

Sadly, Gary passed away on Sunday, November 24, 2019 at the Chesley Hospital, at the age of 78. Beloved husband and best friend of Lois (MacLennan). Loving father of his children, Shawn Letcher (Patti) and Tara (Peter) Koeyers, and step-father of Victoria Clowater. Fondly remembered by nieces Natalie and Nikki and nephews Andrew, Matthew, Mark, and Carter. Long-time friend of Reg (Karen) Thacker, Ron (Joanne) Andriet, Linda (Bud) Godhue, Douglas (Joan) Bailey, Bob (Marilyne) Wilson, Keith and Jane Balfour and many others. He will be missed by in-laws Alan (Karen) MacLennan, David (Shonda) MacLennan and Vivian MacLennan. Also missed by his cousins Carol, Judi, Sherry, Ed, Debbie, Yvonne, Pat, Marlene, Sabine and Peter. He will be fondly remembered by his former colleagues, students and neighbours. He was predeceased by his parents, Henry Robert (Bob) and Ivy (Sargeant) Letcher.

Gary’s dedicated team of in-home PSWs went above and beyond to support and care for him (and Lois) during the past few years. The family wishes to extend their sincere gratitude for their kindness, compassion and devotion. They also extend thanks to the dedicated nurses, doctors and staff of the Chesley Hospital and the Owen Sound Hospital for their expert care.

Friends and family are warmly invited to the Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley, on Saturday, December 7, 2019 from 2 - 4 p.m. and 5 - 7 p.m. for visitation; a Legion service will be held prior to visitation at 1:45 p.m. The memorial service celebrating Gary’s life will be held on Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 1 p.m. at the funeral home. Interment will take place in Dunks Bay Cemetery, Tobermory, in 2020.

Memorial donations to the Chesley Hospital Foundation, the Tara United Church or the charity of your choice would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.

Send to friend
Ronald and Judy Smith
December 7, 2019
Lois, we are so sorry that Gary has moved onto his final home well before his time. We only got to know Gary during our years at Magic Tree Resort but loved and respected you both. We will never forget watching hockey (Jets or Rangers) games together, feasting at one of Gary's fine eating establishments or feasting on your famous desserts while watching the Super Bowl together. Gary was simply the best and we will miss him!! God bless!!
Hugh Lundy
December 6, 2019
My condolences to Gary's family. I worked with Gary at Forest Hill P.S. and again at Assikinack P.S. He was great to work for at both schools and always made my job just a bit easier. He really enjoyed his smoked fish for lunch. Rest in peace Gary
Mary Bewick Clowater
December 5, 2019
Dear Lois,
I’m so sorry to hear of Gary’s passing. He was a wonderful man.

Mary Bewick Clowater
Joleen Nickel
December 4, 2019
My deepest sympathy Lois and family. Thank you for welcoming me into your lives, your health care team and your home.
I'll treasure all the conversations and laughs that Gary and I had and all the meals and little treats I prepared for the two of you.
It was my good fortune to have met you both.
Rest in peace Gary, your memory lives on.
Barbara Wilk and Richard Wilk
November 30, 2019
Very sorry to hear of your loss Lois. When Gary was a teenager and dating my sister; I was about 12 years old . I remember how kind he was to me. He would dance with me to the music on my little portable record player. Taking time out just for me was so nice. In later years Rick and I, Nikki and Natalie were always happy to see him.
Paul Cormier
November 30, 2019
Lois and family,

Please know my thoughts are with you all.

I am so fortunate to have met you and Gary in Tobermory - you both welcomed me to the community and into your lives which I am very grateful.

I have very fond experiences with Gary - walking along Simpson Ave, setting up garage sales, attending SEPO meetings together, learning about the area and many terrific conversations while sharing a rum and coke.

A generous, humorous and caring man. He will certainly be missed.
Sharon and Jan
November 29, 2019
Dear Lois,

So sorry to hear about Gary. Our thoughts and prayers.????
Bob & Marilyne Wilson
November 29, 2019
Dear Lois, we want to extend our deepest sympathy to you and your family. Gary really enjoyed his woodworking – refinishing furniture or carving out geese – which “fly” realistically across the exterior of our boathouse. With Gary’s insight into municipal projects his input made him a valuable asset as a member of the Hay Bay Ratepayers Association for many years. Gary had a great sense of humour and we have such fond memories of our great times together with you and Gary. Gary was our friend for over 59 years – we will miss him.
Jean McGrath
November 29, 2019
My condolences to Gary's family. I worked with Gary at Forest Hill P. S. I have many fond and funny memories of him. He always had to park his big Cadillac under the front dormer by the door. He never got wet or had to clear the snow off his car. He was a very smart man. He enjoyed being the boss, but once you got to know him you realized he was a big teddy bear. He was a gentleman. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.




Christina Winkels
November 29, 2019
Hi Lois, so sorry to hear about Gary's passing. We enjoyed having him at our overnight respite program at the Hanover Day Away. Had lots of good times and conversations. He'll be missed. My sincere condolences to you & family.
Tracey and Al McKay
November 29, 2019
Dear Lois,

We are so sorry to hear of Gary’s passing.

I hope you find comfort in knowing you are in so many peoples thoughts and prayers.

May God Bless you and hold you tight now and in the days ahead.

Al and Tracey McKay

Raymond Frank
November 28, 2019
My deepest condolences to Gary''s family. Gary was my physical ed. teacher in the 1960's at Crosby Heights in Richmond Hill. He left a very positive impression on me ..and..when he spoke we listened. A wonderful man and a great teacher. I am blessed to have had him in my life..
Colette Paquette
November 28, 2019
Dear Lois, my deepest sympathies for your loss. It was truly a blessing to know him and yourself throughout the years. Take care and know my prayers are with you and the family.
Colette Paquette
Susan Galbraith
November 28, 2019
Dear Lois...I want to extend my deepest sympathy to you and your entire family at this great loss of one so special. I also want to thank you for the opportunity to have cared for Gary thru some of the journey you both have had in the last year. It is hard to realize he is gone but I can reassure you he will not be forgotten. His love of sweets, cards and you will always remain.I will miss his morning laps and his crumpets with jam. May God be a comfort to you all as you take this last journey with him.He has certainly earned his angel wings!
Doreen Hills
November 28, 2019
Lois:
Condolences on the passing of Gary.
Jessica Sargeant
November 28, 2019
He was a Great Man, Thinking of you and your Family????❤️????
Keith and Janie Balfour
November 28, 2019
Lois, you have lost your Gary, one of the nicest and most caring of people in our memory. We feel very fortunate to have had a share of Gary's life and to have known him and been counted in his group of friends. All our love. God Bless.
Wayne and Dawna Vanwyck
November 28, 2019
Lois and Family

We’re so sorry to hear about Gary. He was a great neighbour and friend and we miss you both in Tobermory. He was kind, generous and had a great sense of humour. He loved his garage sales and was always happy to lend tools or whatever else you might need. Between the two of you, you made us feel welcome and at home. Thanks and take good care of yourself. Please come visit us soon.
Heike Domke Talbot
November 27, 2019
I'm so sorry to hear about the Loss of Gary
I remember all the good times we had in Tobermory, incl all the card games.
My heart goes out to you Lois and all your family
Roger Clowater
November 27, 2019
Lois I am so sorry to hear of Gary's passing. My condolences. He was a good guy.
Dave, Penny, Heidi and Allison McLeod
November 27, 2019
Lois and family. Hugs and prayers to you all. Gary was a wonderful man loved and missed by many
Jennifer Harboruk
November 27, 2019
Lois,
I am so very sorry for your loss. I will remember Gary not only from Goodfellow but even more so as the dear friend he was to my Mom and Dad Linda & Bud. You were both so very kind to my family during our time of need and want you to know my thoughts are with you.
Alvin and Esther Sarchfield
November 27, 2019
Lois
We are so sorry to hear of Gary's passing, we have had some great times visiting you and Gary over the years and I know he will be missed and although we can't be there at this time we are here for you. Call, come anytime you want for a visit. We love you.
Bill and Marlene Price
November 27, 2019
Lois, we are sorry to hear about the loss of such a wonderful guy, he will be truly missed by so many. Our deepest condolences to 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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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.

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!

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.

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.

Mary Harrison

What one thing could we have done better to improve your experience?
Nothing, we were very happy with services and support provided to our family. Well done. We really appreciated everything that was done for us and how well it was done.

Don MacDermid

Overall I am extremely pleased. Your kind, caring and professional services went above what I expected. All our needs were met satisfactorily and more.

Barbara Aikens

Everything was done so professionally that I don’t think anything else could have been done.

Joy Pitman

You go above and beyond with your services and expertise and compassion.

Judy Charlton

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.

Marlowe Emke

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.

Katie

Your services are respectful, accomodating and very professional. An excellent job done. Thank you.

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

“Nathan, you did an absolutely amazing job. People give us compliments about everything from the life story to the beautiful, elaborate displays at the visitation. I tell everyone it was you. All the surprises - the cookies, the recipe cards, the signing picture - all amazing!”

Kim and Alan Grant

“Staff were professional and friendly.”

“Exceptional service.”

Lawrence and Heather Lamarche

“Nathan, you present yourself very well. Facilities were all that could be expected.”

“I would recommend your funeral home to everyone. Nathan’s ability to put you at ease, with a caring attitude is super and very respectful!”

Carol Golem

“We were all very impressed.”

Roberta Godwin

“Dear Nathan - You did a good job. Thank-you for all your help and all the information you obtained for me."

Gloria Albright

“Your sense of humour was a plus! You and your staff clearly have a calling for the work that you do. We all felt that we were in good hands throughout the entire process…. Nathan, thank you for everything. You made things easy for us, as we felt like we were working on Dad’s arrangements with family. We gave Dad a great send off and thank you and your staff for being a part of it.”

Deborah Hart

“Letters cancelling Gov’t services was a great help and was very much appreciated.”

William & Loraine Patterson

“You did everything really well. All needs were met and then some.… We received positive comments on the stationary. Great keep sakes. The book and slideshow were beautiful.”

Elaine King

“We had no concerns- worries, nothing, but confidence in the staff – we knew exactly how everything would happen and when - it was so nice not to have to concern ourselves with anything.”

Rebecca Becker

"I don't think there is anything more you or your staff could do."

Bernice Frook

"No improvement needed. We were pleased with everything."

Susan Taylor

“I would not have changed anything. Thanks very much – Nathan and staff.”

“New renovations are very inviting and warm. All your new cards and books are very heart warming and keepsakes.”

Valerie Long

"Staff were outstanding. Overall, it was great. Everything was perfect."

Susan Laver

“Staff is exceptional!... All needs were met.”

“Service was beyond expectations… Already recommended to various people.”

Steve Thomson

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Dave Hillier

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Olivia Strucke

“Everything was perfect; it’s always nice to have lots of options.”

Kevin Dailey

“Thank you for all your empathy, compassion and professionalism. Our family… is very grateful that we chose Rhody Family Funeral Home to look after our loved one.”

Siobhan Bell

“Your services were excellent. Thank you again.”

Debbie Eidt

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