John Brotherston

Rhody Family Funeral Home

John William Brotherston was born on May 3, 1940 in Montreal, Quebec to his single mother, Margaret Brotherston. John’s grandfather, Bruce, was the general manager of a large construction company in Montreal and brought Margaret to the city during her final weeks of pregnancy. Upon John’s safe arrival the Brotherston family returned home to Chipman, New Brunswick. Here, John enjoyed his youth, attended school and became a young man.

At the age of 14, John decided that he had had enough schooling and wanted to head out into the real world. His grandfather soon lined him up an apprenticeship as an oiler. By 15, he was on a train heading north into the Quebec wilderness to work on dams and hydro plants. John would be on these jobs for months at a time, alone with his co-workers, putting in long hours and became bilingual speaking French fluently. To say he did a lot of growing up during this time would be an understatement.

In the early 60’s John met and married a young French woman, Laurette Ensbury. Together they soon welcomed their three sons, Richard “Rick”, Terry and Steven. A few years later, work took the Brotherston family to St. Catharines. John worked for Hugh Cole Construction as a heavy equipment operator. Over the years a few of his bigger jobs included working on the Welland Canal and helping with Lake Ontario shore protection. Unfortunately it was during this time that John and Laurette’s relationship dissolved and she and the boys moved back to Quebec.

In 1985, Catharine’s brother, Peter Adams, set John and Cathie up on a blind date. They had dinner in Port Dalhousie that first evening and hit it off immediately. Over the coming weeks and months their relationship continued to flourish and in time they moved in together. In 1990, John and Cathie left St. Catharines and headed north to their 25 acres of paradise on Grey Road 25 in Bentinck Township. This property was set in the wilderness, with two streams and had everything the two needed. A few years later the trailer on the property was replaced with their new home and “the farm” was complete! He soon started working for Wayne Schwartz and remained with the company until his retirement in 2014, at the age of 74.

If you didn’t guess it already, John loved the outdoors. He was an avid hunter and angler and owned a variety of guns and crossbows. He enjoyed the summer and fall months, but winters were not for him, so instead Cathie and himself would head south to the sunny State of Florida. Cedar Key, Florida was their home away from home and they started their yearly pilgrimages there in 2000. This small fish village is located on an island on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Here he quickly made friends, fished and enjoyed the local cuisine as this community reminded John very much of his childhood home, in Chipman, New Brunswick.

John also loved his food. He loved starting the day off with a good hearty breakfast and had a particular fondness for potlucks. :) Other staples always on his menu included meatball subs, chicken wings, Miss Vickie’s Salt & Vinegar chips, anything BBQ’d and dulse! Yep, you read that right, dulse, or salted seaweed was always at John’s disposal.

He loved his four-legged friends as well. Over the years there was the dogs Wolfie, Lupa, Zoe and now Blue, and beloved cats Thomas and Socks who always kept John and Cathie company. John also enjoyed old country western music, western novels and the colour black. It didn’t matter if it was his clothes or his trucks, John always looked best in black. He was also quite particular about maintaining his vehicles, they always appeared clean both inside and out, a trait I am told that has been passed down to his sons.

John, Papa John, John Boy or JB was a happy, charming, social extrovert who always took an interest in everyone around him. He was kind, generous and maybe a little stubborn, but always positive. John was dependable and loved Cathie dearly. His big smile, belly laugh and storytelling, “Let me tell you…” will live on in all those he touched and loved.

John was first diagnosed with cancer in 2000. It reappeared in 2014 and treatments soon followed. In 2016, John and Cathie sold their rural property and moved to Owen Sound to be closer to his healthcare providers. He continued to fight day in and day out, always remaining positive. Sadly, John’s time on this beautiful earth ended on Thursday, November 1, 2018, when he passed away, surrounded by his family at Chapman House, Owen Sound. He was 78.

Beloved husband of Cathie Stauffer. Father of Rick, Terry and Steven (Lonnie), all of St. Catharines and grandfather of Richard. Papa John will be fondly remembered by Cathie’s children, Laurel Stauffer-Daly (John Daly) of New York State, Dan Stauffer (Donna Holman-Stauffer) of New Hamburg, Tim (Kathryn) of Ayr and Elizabeth (Joe Mineo) of Kitchener. He will live on in the hearts and minds of Cathie’s grandchildren, Brittany (Davian), Zachary (Chrissy), Brandon (Candace), Kristen, Benjamin (Sara), Madeline, Alex, Joey and great-grandchildren Nevaeh, Leniah and Jahraiya, and adopted great-grandchildren Connor, Tyler, and Sophie (Miskie). John was predeceased by his mother Margaret Brotherston.

Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Saturday, November 17, 2018 from 1 p.m. until the celebration of John’s life at 2 p.m. Inurnment in Redbank Cemetery, Chipman, New Brunswick.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to Chapman House, Owen Sound Regional Hospital Foundation or the charity of your choice would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.

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Doug & Ann Reid
November 13, 2018
Sorry to hear of John's passing.
We always said we should pop around & visit Johnnie B & Cathie but it never happened...lesson to be learned...don't procrastinate.
Doug always respected his knowledge & friendship when they worked together.
He will be missed by many
Lynn Carbert
November 6, 2018
My condolences to Cathie and John's family. You were a special patient of mine. I will miss your smile and laughter. May you rest in peace.
Debbie Auger & William Tucker
November 5, 2018
Danny & sorry to hear about Papa John. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Take care. All our love, Deb & Bill.
Mandy Wilson-Wilde
November 4, 2018
Cathie, Danny, Donna, Tim and Kathy, condolences to you all Poppa was an amazing man he will certainly be missed. We have an awesome Angel looking over us. Love Mandy, Harry, Kenzie, Madi, Bob and Brad ????????
Geri Staines Staines Yager
November 4, 2018
Dearest Cathy ..I am very sorry to hear about the passing of your John .. He was much Loved .. I am sure that by now my Billy has found him and they are already reliving some good times .. Take care Dear, Love Geri
Elda Mae Knapp
November 2, 2018
So sorry to hear about John.
My sincere sympathy.
Rita and Harry Cronkwright
November 2, 2018
Sending our deepest condolences to you cathy and your family and John's family.
Lorretta, Bill & Paul Mason
November 2, 2018
Sending our deepest condolences to Cathy and family. The memories of Big John will live on in our hearts forever from morning coffee to gathering at the race track to just walking around the property on the 25th exploring...God bless you all. Xoxo
Richard & Edith Pepper
November 2, 2018
Sending our deepest condolences to Cathy and family. John will be fondly remembered by all that knew him. oxox

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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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