Helmut Welsand

Rhody Family Funeral Home

"Accept the things to which fate binds you,

and love the people with whom fate brings you together,

but do so with all your heart.”

― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Helmut Welsand

July 24th, 1943 – October 20th, 2018

Helmut was born on July 24 1943, to Rudolph and Olga (Barth) Welsand. The family owned and operated a farm near Jakobow, Poland.

The Welsand family immigrated to Canada aboard the ship "The Beaverdale" which sailed into Quebec City, on September 3rd, 1951. They settled in Hespeler, Ontario, joining extended family that had arrived prior to WWII.

As a young boy of eight, Helmut had to overcome many challenges—a new language, a new culture, making new friends—in order to adapt to his new home. But his determination to overcome these things would help to define him in the years to come. Like many other young boys, his first job was as a paper boy, which instilled a strong work ethic that he never forgot. Whatever he did, he gave it his best, which included his favourite sports of baseball, and of course, hockey.

As a young teen, he set about transforming himself through weight training at the Galt YMCA and boxing in Cambridge and Kitchener. These interests developed strength and confidence, earning him a "reputation" as a "capable" young man, and these characteristics would define him throughout his life.

During this time, he discovered the game of pool—his first love. In fact, he became exceptionally skilled at the game. So much so that he became known to some as "The Minnesota Fats" of Cambridge, a character in one of his favourite movies "The Hustler". At Shanos billiards hall, he would develop his passion for the game....and make a "little extra pocket change” on the side.

By chance or fate, the billiards hall was next door to The Cozy Restaurant, where in 1960, a cute waitress named Alice, would catch his eye. They would become soul mates and constant companions. Alice would become his new love. Helmut’s flare for style would ensure they were always well dressed on any occasion.

Helmut became a father and husband. Over the next seven years Helmut and Alice would have four children, Valerie, Sandra, James, and Christine to round out the line-up. They purchased their first home in Hespeler, affectionately named "The Ponderosa". Along with the four children there where numerous pets, one of which was a goose named Matilda. Matilda was a very effective watch dog, she would eat out of any outstretched hand and she would wait for breakfast at the kitchen door. The much-loved Matilda was originally destined to be Christmas dinner entrée; however, Helmut would end up raffling her off because the family could not bring themselves to eat her.

Not only did Helmut look after the pets he was a hands-on father. He did everything from cloth diapers to laundry and bedtime routines because Alice and Helmut worked opposite shifts for many years. Helmut would have a variety of jobs but the one he enjoyed the most was working for the city of Cambridge at the Hespeler cemetery. Helmut took great pride in landscaping, opening and closing grave sites and meticulously maintaining the grounds of the cemetery which were always groomed to perfection for the public.

Seasons change, and so too does life. In 1974, Helmut and Alice moved the family up to Bruce County, briefly living in Tara, then ultimately moving to Chesley, where he would live the remainder of his life. During the middle part of his life he worked as a labourer in the construction of Bruce Nuclear and followed that by the physically demanding work at the Findlay Pallet Factory in Chesley.

With children, fun and games are mandatory, but Helmut never had to be grudgingly forced to play. He loved all games, for skill, for competition, and simply for entertainment. And he would bring the fun with his faux serious attitude, jesting, baiting, and using absurd strategy and play—all to befuddle and amuse friends and family.

A surprise to no one, he was a Montreal Canadians fan. He received much good-natured ribbing for this over the years, that he of course responded to in kind. Knowing Helmut's sense of humour, one may suspect that he simply liked the contrarian position, enjoying the debates with, and chiding, of rival Maple Leaf fans. Of course, that is not the case, he would regal memories of their past glories, and bemoan their unfortunate times. He loved hockey his entire life, and it would be a poignant circumstance that the Stanley cup would come to Chesley, and he would he get to see and touch it just a few months before his passing.

Helmut enjoyed a beer or two, and the Chesley Inn sold beer, it could be as simple as that. Alas, it never is, for it was the two billiards tables in the middle of the room that was the real draw. Whether with peers for fun or competition or with others—young or old, new to the game—the tables allowed him once again to enjoy the game he loved and excelled at in his youth. With a few tips and pointers or simply demonstrating the sport, he peaked some interest, generated some fun, instigated some competitive spirit, and in some a passion of their own, which can be fondly attested by his son James. And when he wasn’t playing pool, he was having a quiet pint with Alice or discussing the latest goings-on with acquaintances and the locals.

As he grew older, Helmut developed a deep inner life and became more solitary and reflective. Summer was his favourite season and he loved having bonfires while listening to music with family and friends. Memorable times spent at "Bluewater" with cousin Heinz and Jean highlighted summer weekends for more than 20 years.

On a practical side, a good fire was essential to his ritual of turning the task of barbequing on the small hibachi into an epic culinary process. Something we hungry bystanders could never truly appreciate. However, in his view there was nothing better for relaxation than a comforting fire in the yard, especially at night. He would pass many an evening simply reflecting on life by himself, or conversing with Alice, family, and friends—all drawn to the flame and Helmut's company. Time spent by the fire also provided lots of opportunity for star-gazing, and to ponder and muse over extra-terrestrial goings-on, a topic he loved to discuss.

Sue Laver's music always stirred his love to dance and he favoured Yanni for peaceful times. He had a close relationship with Alice’s family, especially her sisters Gene Martin, Betty Karn, Dorothy Schultz and their families. Helmut made a lasting impression on two generations of nieces and nephews. He was “Uncle Helmut” in every sense of the word.

Diabetes complicated by Parkinson caused many health issues, and Helmut moved into Parkview Manor in 2012. Alice’s daily visits, chats with the residents and staff, visiting family and friends, day trips, movie nights, and of course televised hockey games, were all interwoven happily into his days there.

“The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard,

but must be felt with the heart.”

—Helen Keller

Helmut H. Welsand of Chesley passed away suddenly at South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Chesley on Saturday, October 20, 2018 in his 76th year.

Beloved husband of 54 years to Alice (Robinson). Loving father of Valerie Welsand of Kitchener, Sandi (Dave) Conner of Kingston, James of Etobicoke and Christine (Jeff) Borton of Elmwood. Cherished grandfather of Sabrina MacDonald, Stephanie Vetero, Wyatt Borton, Alicia Fischer, Zoe Conner and great-grandfather of Nathan and Vienna MacDonald. Helmut is survived by his siblings Gerhard (Karola) of Kitchener, Bruno of Cambridge and Anita (Bob) Banyard of Waterloo. He will be fondly remembered by his aunts Jean Welsand and Greta Barth and the entire Robinson family. Helmut was predeceased by sisters Erica Welsand, Irene (John) Alt, sister-in-law Charlotte Welsand and his parents Rudolph and Olga (Barth) Welsand.

Please join Helmut’s family and friends for a casual gathering celebrating his life at the Chesley Legion on Friday, November 2, 2018 between 3 - 7 p.m.

Memorial donations to Parkview Manor Residents Fund, Diabetes Canada or Parkinson Canada would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.

Send to friend
Mike and Donna Robinson
October 30, 2018
Aunt Alice and family deepest sympathy for your loss.
Ruth Hines Mckay
October 30, 2018
Alice i'm so sorry to hear of the passing of Helmet. I have great memories of you and him in Chesley. Again i'm sorry for your loss.

Tina Winters
October 29, 2018
Aunt Alice, Val, Sandi, James and Christine, my sincere condolences to all of you. As stated in the reflection of his life he was “Uncle Helmut”. I hope your memories bring you comfort at this time.
Leanne Borton
October 29, 2018
My sincerest condolences to the Welsand family. May you find comfort in the cherished memories and love and support of friends and family at this time of loss
Catherine Krause
October 29, 2018
So sad to hear of Helmut's passing . Going to miss that little smirk of his. Our sympathy to all families . From Herb , Dorian Emma And Cathy.
Catherine Krause
October 29, 2018
So sad to hear of Helmut's passing . Going to miss that little smirk of his. Our sympathy to all families . From Herb , Dorian Emma And Cathy.
Ron and Marie Swigger
October 29, 2018
Our deepest sympathy Alice and family
Wade & Lois (Robinson) Welsh
October 27, 2018
Our prayers and condolence to the family. We send our prayers as you go though the next few days. God Bless
Rebecca Robinson
October 27, 2018
Aunt alice sorry to hear sending hugs my condlences
April wilson
October 27, 2018
Alice my deepest condolences to you and yr family
James Woods
October 25, 2018
My Deepest Sympanthy to Alice and your families at this time.
Ray Howard
October 25, 2018
So sorry Alice for your loss.
Roseann McCulloch
October 25, 2018
My condolence to the family
Dave and Shari Martin
October 24, 2018
Dear Alice and family. Our heart goes out to you for your loss. May all your fond memories get you through these trying days. Love Dave and Shari
Ric Swigger
October 23, 2018
My deepest sympathies to all of you. I have the fondest memories of a die-hard Habs fan, and caring father, with a quirky sense of humour. He will remain the self-proclaimed Prince of Poland in my mind... always watching the stars. I hope you find solace in those memories during this trying time. My condolences.
Kelly Hallman
October 22, 2018
I like to send my deepest sympathies to you Alice and your family I spent many of days growing up around your home and will cherish these memories.
Vicky and Ed Myers
October 22, 2018
Our deepest condolences to the Welsand Family. Take comfort in your memories.
Terry Murphy
October 22, 2018
Alice very sorry to hear of the loss of Helmut, always had good times with him he will be missed. My sympathy to the family
Marie Osborne
October 22, 2018
Sending condolences to you Alice and Christine and family. Helmet will be greatly missed by many. Hugs to you all
Leesa Swigger
October 22, 2018
Alice and family,
Please accept our deepest sympathies. May your fond memories help you through this sad time.
Sincerely Ken, Leesa and Heddy Swigger
Pat miskie
October 22, 2018
My deepest sympathy to you Alice and Christine for your loss. I will miss Helmet’s adorable grin.
Abigail Bushell
October 22, 2018
My deepest sympathies to you all. Helmut was always my favourite. I hope you find comfort in the memories you have to cherish.
Jayne Tibbo
October 22, 2018
Alice, Val, Sandi, James, Christine & Family
Deepest sympathy to you all❤️
Robert L. Robson
October 22, 2018
Alice and Family, Our thoughts and prayers are with you at your time of loss of Helmut, Loving husband and father. Bob and Sally Robson Kitchener, Ontario
Karen and Jim Siegrist
October 21, 2018
So sorry to hear about the loss of your Father Christine. Always hard to lose someone we love. Karen and Jim Siegrist.
Helen Holt
October 21, 2018
I am at loss for words.. thinking of you all and sending HUGS one of the sweetest men I knew. Sending prayers to you all!!
Jim & Judy Sloan
October 21, 2018
Our sincere sympathy Alice and Christine and families. So sorry for your loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Wayne Cindy Cronkwright
October 21, 2018
Are sympathy to you Alice and family he was a good man. Now he is in a good place.
Rita and Harry Cronkwright
October 21, 2018
Our sincere sympathy on the loss of your loved one.
Rebecca Thomson
October 21, 2018
Andy and I wish to express our sincere sympathy to you and your family.
Carol M. Jarvis
October 21, 2018
My condolences to you Alice and your family.
Carol Golem
October 21, 2018
I wish to extend my sincere sympathy to you Alice and to your family! You surely did what you could to keep your husband comfortable, it has been a long time. He will now rest in peace! You worked very hard and now need to rest and take care of you! Please know I am thinking of 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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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. 

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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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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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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.

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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

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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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“Exceptional service.”

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Carol Golem

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Roberta Godwin

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Deborah Hart

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Olivia Strucke

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Kevin Dailey

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Siobhan Bell

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