Howard Stephen

Rhody Family Funeral Home

Howard Eugene was born at home, in Sullivan Township on October 16, 1943. He was the second oldest son of Harry and Pearl (Gobert) Stephen, joining older brother Roger. In time, the boys were joined by younger brothers Alvin, Robert, Harold, and Grant. The boys attended public school in Sullivan. However, other than Grant, they were not real keen on high school and he attended only for one year.

Howard returned home helping his parents operate their dairy farm. When the house began to feel overcrowded Roger and Howard both left together for Elmira. Their Aunt Etta (on Pearl’s side) lived in Elmira and worked at the local furniture factory. Luckily, both of the boys found paid work at the same factory and also lived with their aunt for a while. Pearl would often say the boys picked up a few habits in Elmira. (LOL)

During this time Howard met and married Johanna Hoita, the year was 1964. They welcomed their first son Gary, later that year. The Stephen family then moved back to Chesley in 1965 were Howard began working at Heirloom. Sons Ron (1966) and Jeff (1972) soon made their family complete. In his spare time, Howard enjoyed helping coach the boy's baseball in Desboro during their youth. Howard also talked about playing broomball in Keady with John Schultz as well as Allan and Orval Kuhl. He only played for a couple of years. The couple decided to go their separate ways in 1980.

During a night out in 1981, Howard was introduced to Donna McCracken by mutual friends Doug Ankerman and Susan Gaeler. The two hit it off immediately and before long moved in together. Howard was quick to welcome Donna's daughters, Gayle, Patricia, and Tammy into the family, taking over as their father figure.

Heirloom soon closed, whereby Howard moved onto Graham's Construction and then later Ralph Kuhl's Fencing before returning to the furniture industry and Crate Design. Over the years, Howard was a member of the Desboro Curling Club, Chesley Snowmobile Club as well as the Chesley Legion. It was while attending these functions that I have been told he enjoyed the "occasional" beer.... maybe a Busch Light! :) Howard also liked to gamble a bit. He and Donna made several trips over the years to Casino Rama, whereby on one occasion he won $50,000. More recently, he frequented the slots and casino in Hanover to get his gambling fix.

Howard also loved the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing. For many years he cherished spending time at the hunt camp, which he partially owned, at Trout Creek. Countless weekends were spent there enjoying friends and family whereby many memories were made. When not fishing or hunting Howard loved a good campfire! In addition to all this, Howard also enjoyed playing horseshoes, cribbage and euchre.

He also had a particular fondness for chipmunks, and on more than one occasion tried to befriend the small creatures, by feeding them. Howard's family have a few stories to share of these often comical encounters.

When not outside enjoying nature, Howard also liked to pass time by reading. It could have been the paper, which I am told he was known to read often more than once, or a good book. When it came to TV, Howard was usually tuned into the news or watching sports, particularly hockey. Playing horseshoes was another favourite pastime of Howard's and he was always up for a new challenge.

Howard was known to his family and friends as a supportive man, who enjoyed a good time. He liked the opportunity to socialize and joke around with others, often being a bit of a tease. He always cherished visits by his friends and family and the opportunity to catch up with them and their lives.

Sadly, Howard Eugene Stephen of R.R. #1 Chesley, passed away suddenly at South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Chesley on Thursday, April 18, 2019 in his 76th year.

Beloved partner and best friend of Donna McCracken. Loving father of Gary (Karen) of Chatsworth, Ron and Jeff, both of Chesley, Gayle (Brian) Cressman of Stratford, Patricia Weidemann (Johnnie Johnson) of Owen Sound and Tammy McCracken of Chesley. He will be sadly missed by his seventeen grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, brothers Alvin (Pat Woods), Robert, Harold (Ruth) and Grant as well as the entire McClockin family. Howard was predeceased by his daughter-in-law Robyn, brother Roger (Margaret), sister-in-law Rubbie Stephen and his parents Harry and Pearl (Gobert) Stephen.

An informal celebration of Howard’s life will be held at the Chesley Legion on Sunday, April 28, 2019 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Memorial donations to the Chesley Hospital Foundation or Chesley Legion would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.

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Jack and Ellen Cavill
April 23, 2019
Our sympathy to the Stephen family, our thoughts and prayers go to you
Ron and Marie Swigger
April 21, 2019
So sorry for your loss Donna and family
Heidi Stephen
April 21, 2019
I’m so sorry Gary, Ronnie, Jeff and families :(
Amy and Chris Stephen
April 20, 2019
Our deepest condolences to all of you on the loss of Howard. May you find strength during this difficult time.
Kim Russell
April 20, 2019
Pat, Johnny and family. I am so sorry for your loss. Sending hugs.
Carol M. Jarvis
April 20, 2019
Deepest sympathy to the Stephen Family on your lose.
Norma Schank
April 20, 2019
Donna...May care and love of those around you provide comfort and peace to get you through the days ahead. My most sincere condolences.
Nancy & Bev Nickel
April 20, 2019
Heartfelt condolences Donna & Tammy. Wishing you comfort and strength through the difficult days ahead
Catherine Krause
April 20, 2019
Sorry to here about Howard. Our deepest condolences to Donna and families. Herb and Catherine Dawdy.
lee-anne moseley
April 20, 2019
so sorry for your loss Donna and family
John and Penny Crawford
April 20, 2019
So sorry for your loss Donna and family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time
Heather Wright
April 20, 2019
Tammy Thinking of you at this time of sorrow. Sending love and prayers that fond memories will help you in the coming days. Heather
Cathy Lund
April 20, 2019
Oh Tammy. I am so sorry to hear of your great loss. This has been a very bad week....My thoughts and prayers are with you. I am sure you will have amazing memories to carry you through.
Amy Sawyer
April 20, 2019
So sorry for the entire families loss. RIP Howard
Cheryle Schuknecht
April 20, 2019
My deepest Condolences Donna and Family.May God give you strength at this very sad time.

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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.

Sarah Rogers

It was 100%. I got many comments on how things were handled.

Eugene Perkins

Nothing could have been done to better improve my experience. Nathan, I was more than pleased with everything. Thank you.

Morris Galbraith

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!!!

Janice Rapp

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

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.

Terrilea Fidler

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

It felt as if you had met and knew John! All of us agreed that John would have approved. Many friends commented on how lovely the service was and how it suited John.

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.


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

“Could not have been more useful – very satisfied! I would highly recommend Rhody Family. Thank you ever so much for your professionalism and expertise.”

Dave Hillier

“Honestly, you and your staff made this time in my life the best it could be and were extremely helpful, respectful, professional and accommodating to my needs and my family’s needs, especially providing me with a space to feed [my child] if needed. Thank you for everything”

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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