Monica Schwartz

Rhody Family Funeral Home

Monica Dorthea Louise was born Monday, September 19, 1921 in Bentinck Township to parents Frederick Wilhelm (1880 – 1955) and Sophia (nee Lang, 1888 – 1961) Jank. Frederick and Sophia had been married Wednesday August 14, 1907 and their children were William Charlie August (1908-1966), Edward Albert (1910 – 2000) Frederick Arnold (1913 – 1992), Henry (1919 – 1976) and Monica.

Having been born in Bentinck Monica was actually raised in Sullivan Township and she attended SS #8 Sullivan with her future brother-in-law Mel Schwartz and future husband George Schwartz. The family had moved to Sullivan to be immersed in more of a German community as Monica had faced teasing and even bullying because of her German heritage. Her brothers were able to ward off the unwelcome attention but it was different for their baby sister. In all likelihood, the Jank family attended St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Marmion and Monica was likely confirmed the same year as Mel by The Rev. Walter Bauer.

We will let part of her story be told in her own voice. In her reflections Monica wrote,

In the spring of 1928 I started school. I was seven…. The school was three miles from my home. I remember that I could not walk to school every day when I started, because my legs would hurt too much. My mother kept me at home when she felt that I would be unable to walk that far in a day. My father’s opinion was that an education for a girl was unnecessary. He said girls just got married anyway. He felt that it was a waste of his time to hitch a horse to the buggy to take me to school or to come and get me after school. So, if I wanted to go to school to learn something I had to walk. I liked going to school, so rain or thunder storms in summer or cold, snow and stormy weather in winter didn’t stop me. I didn’t miss many days of school. I was sick very little.

In summer holidays it was my job to get the cows from the pasture for milking and to take them back after they were milked. My dad’s farm was 300 acres and the pasture was about a mile from the barn. So, rain or shine it was up to me to look after the cows. To sum up my time out in the rain and being wet would be quite a lot. But when a doctor asked me if I was out in the rain much as a child, I told him I really didn’t remember.

In June of 1935 I graduated out of grade school. But I did not go to high school that fall. I turned 14 that fall, and at that time, parents could keep their children out of school. My mother’s health was not good at that time. So, I stayed at home to help mom with the work. . . . .
I helped with the house work, taking over the washing, ironing, cleaning, scrubbing floors, and baking bread, cakes and pies. I also had to help outside with the chores. As time went on my brothers spent less time at home. Sometimes my dad had to hire a man to help with the farm work. My father usually had sixteen cows milking. I often had to milk six or more cows regularly.

In 1937 I noticed that sometimes my fingers looked red and swollen. In the morning when I woke up my fingers were numb, and I felt pins and needles in them. It got so bad that I could not bend my fingers when I woke up.… One morning mom came up to see if had gone to sleep again. I was sitting on the side of the bed. I told her I was waking my fingers up. I showed her my hands and that I couldn’t bend my fingers. She told me that it was poor circulation and that I would grow out of it.

In around 1939 World War II started. My brother Bill enlisted in the army. Bill was 13 years older than I. However, Bill was discharged about three months later. He was classified unfit for duty due to muscular un-coordination. He seemed to be alright. He worked for a farmer for awhile. Then he came home and he stayed at home. By this time, he walked like as if he was drunk and he would fall quite a bit. Brother Ed (11 years old than I am) was married and had a family of three children. My brother Fred (9 years older than I) was married and had three children. So, both Ed and Fred were exempt from the Army. My brother Henry (3 years older than I) was twenty. In October he turned twenty-one and was called for army training. The army was preparing him to go overseas for action. So, I was at home on the farm, with my parents and Bill.

Dad was in his sixties and he had rheumatism. My mother was in her fifties and was unable to do a lot of hard work. By the summer of 1942 Bill’s condition had deteriorated to the point where he had to use his hands to help his legs to move up the steps, and often even to walk. He was falling quite often every day. He kept trying to help even though he would stumble and tumble where ever he went. It was not safe for him to work around the horses or the tractor. The day I seen him fall off the tractor when it was moving, in front of the disc, made me realize that there had to be a change take place. I had a very serious talk with my mother. We both agreed that the best solution would be for me to get a job and leave home.

So, in September 1942 right after my twenty-first birthday I packed my clothes and started to work in a knitting factory in Hanover. Dad applied and got farm leave for Henry. He had not enlisted for active duty. So, the army sent him home. In the spring of 1943 Ed and his wife took over the farm. Henry started as hired help. Mom and Dad bought a house on a 1-acre lot near Elmwood. They moved there with Bill. After they had lived there a few years Bill was in a wheelchair and the doctors diagnosed that he had multiple sclerosis

In March of 1943 I had to have my appendix removed. I changed from the factory to doing housework. This gave me some time off between jobs to help mom with her work. In 1945 I went to Kitchener to look for work. I got a job at K.W. Hospital cleaning in the nurses’ residence. . . .

Monica’s Mom had wanted her to be a teacher but Monica wished to be a nurse. Cleaning the nurse’s residence was as close to that dream Monica would get for quite some time.

On Friday, December 1, 1950 Monica and George Edgar Schwartz were married. George, sometimes known as Edgar, was the son of John Benjamin and Lydia Sophia (nee Priebe) Schwartz and was one seven children; Lillian, Raymond, Gordon, George, Arnold and Islah. Monica and George lived in Kitchener for the first couple years of marriage and then bought a farm on the 12th of Sullivan. Together with their three children, Bonnie (1954), Darlene (1956) and Bruce (1960), they lived on the farm until Bruce was less than a year old. The family moved into Chesley and rented an apartment downtown for the next two years.

Having bought a house on 5th Avenue S.W. Monica lived there until a year or so after George died on January 2, 1989. Bruce bought a piece of property just outside of Elmwood and built a home. Monica lived there with Bruce until she entered Elgin Abbey. Except that, Monica being Monica entered Elgin Abbey three times and left on her own steam – twice! She was an independent, and stubborn, woman whose theme was “Use it or lose it!” There was not much that Monica allowed to keep her down and thus she was the “come back Queen!”

Despite her arthritis, Monica played the piano, crocheted, knitted, quilted, embroidered, did needle-point and worked on patch-work quilt tops. She is well known for her handiwork and many pieces have found appreciative homes as Monica was also generous with her work. Christmas trees were beautifully decorated with her crocheted ornaments. Elgin Abbey’s resident council also benefited from a lot of her work although the rumour is that staff bought many of Monica’s pieces before the doors to the bazaars would even open! An afghan of Monica’s was once raffled off and her Christmas Bells were especially popular.

Monica liked to keep her mind busy as well, working on sudokus, word finds, crosswords, memorizing hymns, reading her Bible and writing her memoirs both by hand and on the computer. Much of her time and effort was also spent at helping the women of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Chesley (the LCW) at funeral luncheons, meals, quilting and so forth. Monica’s faith was very important to her and was an integral part of who she was. Once Monica was house bound, home communion and scripture reading were exceedingly important to her!

In her forties, Monica managed to earn her Registered Nursing Assistant license at the Chesley Hospital. Monica was very proud of this achievement and rightfully so! In time, however, her back began to give out and she retired with this disability.

Working outside of her home did not leave Monica with much spare time though she did can and preserve peaches and pears, tended to her flower garden and indoor plants, especially her Christmas Cactuses, Amaryllis and African violets. Saturdays were saved for making pies for Sundays visits. Memories of making and eating sauerkraut are still pungent and not necessarily in a good way! Family reunions on both the Schwartz, Jank and Priebe sides were also of great importance to Monica. Christmas was an especially delightful time for the Schwartz family and it was then that they all got together, rotating the location each year.

Monica loved her animals! Well, not only her animals but those of her children as well! Three dogs; Angel, Pedie and B.J., were Darlene’s pets and took part in the Christmas celebrations opening presents of knitted toys Monica made for them, and a few that were not intended for them! Pictures abound of Bonnie's white cat Jingles, Ginger the white dog and Tia the black dog as well as Monica's orange cat Carmie.

Sadly, somewhere between the age of forty-five to fifty, Monica developed glaucoma. Her fading eyesight stole Monica’s independence and made the simplest things we all take for granted difficult. It was a battle she fought for years and definitely shaped the last few years of her life. It was part of Monica’s story for sure. It has been said that it was the loss of eyesight that Monica died from as she lost her driver license and in time lost the ability to exercise, manage the stairs at home, read and do her handiwork and puzzles. If not for this, Monica could well have lived to the monumental age of one hundred!

Monica was a woman who was ahead of her time. She lived her life outside of the box and encouraged her children, especially her girls, to make their own way in life, which they have. Teaching her children to go after what they wanted was a significant lesson taught!

Peacefully, Monica Dorthea Louise Schwartz of Chesley, passed away at Elgin Abbey, Chesley on Monday, October 1, 2018 in her 98th year.

Loving mother of Bonnie (Keith) Bowen of New Hamburg, Darlene Schwartz of Stratford and Bruce Schwartz of Elmwood. Monica will be sadly missed by her sisters-in-law Lotty Schwartz and Islah Reed, nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews. She was predeceased by her husband George, brothers William, Edward, Frederick, Henry, George’s family Lillian (Bertram) Brown, Raymond Schwartz, Melvin (Mildred) Schwartz, Gordon Schwartz, Harold “Arnie” Schwartz, Arthur Reed and her parents Frederick and Sophia (Lang) Jank.

Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 11 a.m. until the time of the funeral service honouring Monica’s life at 12 noon. Interment in Desboro Cemetery.

Memorial donation to Glaucoma Research Society of Canada or the charity of your choice would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.

Send to friend
Jennifer Soper
October 3, 2018
SSending hugs and prayers to Bonnie, Bruce and Darlene..
What a sweet, wonderful lady!
Rest in peace Monica..xo
David & Brenda Hamel
October 3, 2018
Sorry for your loss
Enola MacKinnon
October 3, 2018
Very sorry to hear of Monica's passing. I had the pleasure of looking after her many years ago in the Lodge at Elgin Abbey. I also have a blanket Monica knit, and was kind enough to sell to me. May she rest in paradise with the other Angel's...

Sandra & Ken McDermid
October 3, 2018
So sorry to hear that Aunt Monica has passed away. Thinking of you all.

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William Hall

I was amazed that I could smell KFC fries when I first walked in at the visitation. That was so lovely. My husband would have loved it. Thank you again for that! 

Sheila Jacobs

[I] have already told many people what an amazing job you did. My entire family and friends couldn’t agree more! Everything was totally looked after. Things I never would have thought of were either done or brought to my attention. Thank you so much for everything you did. It made a really rough time a little easier to handle. Thank you!

Dianne Veen

“One of a kind” service as well as ongoing support! Beyond [our expectations] and Thank You.

Carol Vallie

I received comments on how informative and interesting the life story was. I know how amazing you are!!! I never stop bragging about you !!!

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.

Sarah Rogers

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Eugene Perkins

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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?
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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

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Elaine King

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Rebecca Becker

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Bernice Frook

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Susan Taylor

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Valerie Long

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

Susan Laver

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

Steve Thomson

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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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