Mary Biermans

Rhody Family Funeral Home

Mia (Mary) Elisa Rys was born in Maasniel, Netherlands on September 10, 1925 to parents Johannes and Maria (Verhaggen) Rys. Mary and her twin sister, Lydia (Lit), were the fifth and sixth of eight children, all born within six years (yes, you read that right!). They joined older siblings Pete (1921), Louis (1922), Annie (1923), Lisa (1924) passed away at 14 mos. later on the day Mary and Lit were born. In 1926 Bertha was born with Theo following in 1927. Sadly, Theo also died in infancy. The Rys family resided in Maasniel, a farming village, yet farmed on the outskirts of town. After her public school education, the family came together because the war broke out. Sadly, Mary's father died in 1943 and her role at home increased. The war lasted until October 1945. After the war and the liberation of Holland, Mary’s family began to rebuild their lives.

It was five years later that Mary and Harry Hubertus Biermans wed. Harry had always been a friend of the family. He immigrated to Canada for work and a better life, the year was 1949. He began corresponding by letter with Mary’s mother to encourage her to visit Canada and see how great it was. Mary left by boat for Canada in May of 1951 to stay with her cousin. Harry and Mary’s courtship was very short due to immigration policies. They were wed in Woodstock on June 20, 1951, and took up residence there, while Harry continued to work on a local farm.

The couple soon welcomed Joseph in 1952 and John in 1953. In November of '53, the Biermans' relocated to St. Mary's where their family grew even bigger with the additions of Mary An (1954), and Harry (1956). The couple’s hard work paid off when they accomplished their life-long dream of purchasing their own farm. On April 25, 1959, the Biermans family moved north, buying a 100 acre farm on the 8th of Elderslie. In October 1959, their youngest child Margaret was born. In addition to caring for her young family, Mary helped Harry whenever she could on the farm. She also took great pride in her housekeeping. The kids fondly remember their mother keeping a spotless house, hanging out the clothes and burning “the stuff”. She was also known for her ironing skills, which included ironing everything from sheets to underwear. To say she was a bit of a perfectionist would be an understatement.

In 1991, Mary and Harry moved off the farm and into town. Here they remained active within the community in a variety of roles. They also spent more time with their children and grandchildren, loving every opportunity they had to be together as a family. Sadly, Harry died suddenly in 1998. Although Mary’s world drastically changed, her faith and the love and support of family and friends allowed her to continue to enjoy life once again. She was a strong-willed, tenacious woman who always enjoyed laughter. These traits and the many memories she left us all will remain in our hearts forever.

Mary's faith played an important role in her life. Growing up she was always close to her Oma but it was her relationship with Tante Maria (Johannes’ sister, a nun) who encouraged her faith. They had an exceptional bond, and Mary looked to her as a role model. The Bible, religion and her church soon became staples in Mary's life. Mary and Harry shared their faith with their family and could always be seen on Sundays at church for Mass. Mary also became involved in the C.W.L., remaining active for the remainder of her life. In addition to reading her Bible, Mary also enjoyed reading Catholic Digest. She led a faith-filled life and was always there for her family and friends, with prayers, love and support. Mary had a way of connecting with people. She showed interest in whatever you were doing and wanted to be informed of your life. Her conversations would often end with,. “Make sure you thank God”.

In her spare time, Mary enjoyed knitting and needlepoint. She loved word searches and a good game of cards, especially euchre and solo. She was also fond of watching a variety of sports like, Hockey, Baseball and Basketball. The Montreal Canadiens were her favourite, this passion led the family to buy their 1st TV in 1955. She also had a weakness for game shows, with Wheel of Fortune, The Price is Right and Jeopardy being some of her favourite. She loved nothing more than being surrounded by her family. She always enjoyed hearing the latest crop update from Harry and Joe. Consequently, she was always in tune with the weather and loved going on crop tours. A farmer to the end. She loved being surrounded by her grandchildren and in recent years, great-grandchildren, enjoying their company at variety of family events.

Mary loved the summer months, always monitoring the rain for friends and family. She adored music, particularly the Bee Gees, The Moody Blues and Simon and Garfunkel, just to name a few. Mary loved to sing and dance, and even though Harry had two left feet, it did not deter her from dancing the Waltz or Polka. When not reading her Bible, Mary enjoyed anything Danielle Steele or a variety of Mennonite stories. The kids tell me if you wanted to get mom to relax and get on her good side, you offered her a Caesar or mixed a beer and Clamato juice! Mary and Harry also enjoyed travelling. Throughout the years they experienced a variety of destinations which included trips back home to Holland, as well as stops to visit family in South Africa and California. They also travelled east to Quebec as well as out West. Apparently, Harry was not the best driver, so Mary was forced to be a great back seat driver.... or at least that is what I am told! Smile

As Mary's mobility changed in 2018, she decided to move from her home in Chesley to Central Place in Owen Sound. She enjoyed her life by playing cards, exercising, Spa days and making new friends. Unfortunately, her age and health caught up with her, as it does to all of us. Mary passed away surrounded by her loving family at Chapman House on Friday, September 13, 2019 at the age of 94.

Loving mother of Joseph (Linda) of Chesley, John of Sacramento, California, Mary An Blythe (Mike Fisher) of Owen Sound, Harry Jr. (Jennifer Healey) of Tara and Margaret (John) Ellis of Barrie. Cherished grandmother of twenty grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren with more to come. Mary was predeceased by her husband Harry Sr., and seven siblings.

Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Monday from 6 - 9 p.m. A Funeral Mass celebrating Mary's life will be held at St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church, Chesley on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 11 a.m. Interment in Chesley Cemetery.

Memorial donations to Chapman House or Dobbinton United Church Food Grain Bank would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.

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Bernadette McCormick
September 20, 2019
My deepest sympathy to the Beiman family. My prayers are with you at this difficult time
Brenda Misch
September 19, 2019
My sincerest sympathies on the passing of your dear mother Mary. I always enjoyed catching up with her with news of her family. She and your dad were very special friends to my parents and enjoy many card games and visits. So sorry to be unavailable at the time of her passing. Thinking of you all
Judy McEwen
September 19, 2019
Deepest sympathy to Mary's children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. For many years we sat in the pew behind the growing Biermans family. Mary and my mother (Anna VanderVoort) were dearest friends till Mom's relocation kept them apart.
David and Barbara Gowan
September 17, 2019
Please accept our sympathy to the entire Biermans family.
Mary was a grand lady
David and Barbara Gowan
September 17, 2019
Please accept our sympathy to the entire Biermans family.
Mary was a grand lady
Eric and Sandy Weatherall
September 17, 2019
We extend our deepest sympathy to the Biermans family. What a blessing Mary was to many of us and will be fondly remembered.
Carol and Jack Patterson
September 17, 2019
Joe and Linda. We are sorry to hear of your Moms passing. Jack and I didn't know your Mom but did meet her at your restaurant when we were there with Betty. Our thoughts are with you at this time. Carol and Jack
Bryan Legge
September 16, 2019
Joe,Harry and the rest of the Biermans family. My deepest sympathy for the loss of your mom Mary. May you think back to all the wonderful memories and good times and cherish them deeply in your hearts. Thoughts and prayers are with your families.
Tim and Pearl Sweiger
September 16, 2019
Deepest sympathy to the entire Family on the passing of Mom. She had such a great smile.
Wally & Rebecca Thomson
September 16, 2019
Kindly remembered and our deepest sympathy for your loss.
Lisa Rodgers Logan
September 16, 2019
Matt and family,

May the memories held deep within your heart, help to soothe you. You are in our prayers.
With deepest sympathy,
Lisa and Caitlyn Logan
Sharon Westenberg
September 16, 2019
Thinking of you at this difficult time..
Barry Mutrie
September 15, 2019
I loved Mary's spirit and her compassionate heart. She would often be able to join us for our Mission Zimbabwe fund raising events and you could see how much she loved others. I am so thankful for having had the opportunity to visit Mary and to listen to her share about her faith.
Bob & Glenys Johnson
September 15, 2019
Deepest Sympathy to Mary's Family. She never failed to call you by name and greet you with a huge smile. Always interested in knowing what was going on in your family is what made her so easy to talk to. She will be missed.
Derek Aitken
September 15, 2019
Like to send my condolences to the Bierman's family. Sorry for your loss.
Robert and Susan Byers
September 15, 2019
Our deepest sympathy to the entire
Bierman family.
Josie MacFadden
September 15, 2019
Dear Margaret and family,
I was saddened to hear of the passing of your dear mother. What an amazing woman, what an amazing life! She will definitely be missed but will forever remain in your hearts along with so many loving memories. Sending my sincerest condolences, Josie MacFadden.
Rita and Harry Cronkwright
September 14, 2019
To joe and the rest of the beirman families,
Our sincere sympathy on the loss of your mother.
Eldon and Judy MacKinnon
September 14, 2019
Our sincere sympathies to the Bierman
family. May the many memories of times together help at this time.
Keith Coleman
September 14, 2019
Condolences on your mother's passing. Mary and Harry were the best of neighbors.
Carol M. Jarvis
September 14, 2019
Deepest sympathy to the Bierman Families. It was a joy knowing Mary.
Brenda and Michael Danyluk
September 14, 2019
We are so sorry for your loss.We'll keep you in our thoughts.
Jeff and Karen Kerker
September 14, 2019
Our hearts are with you as you grieve. We are so very sorry for your loss. Imagine your mom dancing now.
Leonard Calhoun
September 14, 2019
My condolences to the Biermans family. Mary and Harry were a very integral part of our community. Mary always had a smile and always remembered my name.
Melissa Cutler (Soers)
September 14, 2019
I was so sorry to hear the news of Mia's passing. I have too many memories to share, but one that stands out is when she and my Oma came to Ottawa to visit me. We had lots of laughs and lots of card games! I can imagine that they might be playing some cards up in Heaven right now. Please accept my deepest sympathies to the whole family. She will be missed.
Tom & Karen Sweiger
September 14, 2019
Deep condolences to the family. Mary’s passion for family, farm and faith is truly evident in her life story. She left a great legacy and will be missed.
Bernadette and Ed Boersma
September 14, 2019
Condolences on the passing of your Mother our thoughts and prayers are with all of you
September 14, 2019
Such a happy lady. Over the years.she gave me some very good advice on some family issues,
Rest in peace Mary. Karen

Sherry Anstett
September 14, 2019
Thinking about all of you at this sad time for your family
Mark & Michele Smailes
September 14, 2019
We are very sorry to hear of Mary’s passing. She was a fine lady.
Ron and Marlene Calhoun
September 13, 2019
Our deepest sympathy to the entire
Biermans family.
We farmed beside Mary and Harry
for many years, and fondly remember
many good times and their kindness to us!!
Hugs to everyone.
Doug and Brenda Calhoun
September 13, 2019
Sending hugs to the entire family. Mary was such a lovely person and she was always interested in what we were doing. She will certainly be missed by many.

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Lynn Jackson & Family

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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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. 

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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

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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.

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Barbara Aikens

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Joy Pitman

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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.

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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.

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

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“Exceptional service.”

Lawrence and Heather Lamarche

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“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

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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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Elaine King

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Olivia Strucke

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Kevin Dailey

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Siobhan Bell

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