Vern McGilveary

Rhody Family Funeral Home

Vernon Thomas was born on Monday, February 23, 1953 in Owen Sound to Dan and Catherine “Electa” May (Hill) McGilveary. Vern was the youngest child of ten; Herb, Blanche, Nelson, Murray, Reta, Dean, Lyle, Lawrence, Sharon and Vern. He also had two older half-siblings, Jean and Mazie, as his father's first wife died at a young age. The McGilveary family farmed in Elderslie Township on the 20th Sideroad, where Vern attended Elderslie Central School before moving onto Chesley District High School.

Vern did not finish high school and soon entered the workforce at Pittsburgh Glass. Over the coming years, he spent time at Douglas Point, Heirloom and even tried his hand at building houses. He then went to work at Gaylea, first in Teeswater and then Guelph. It was during his time in Teeswater that Vern officially became a 3rd Class Stationary Engineer.

In 1974, Vern was introduced to Lorraine Gail Hyslop. He had been visiting friends that lived below Lorraine's apartment and the two hit it off immediately, becoming friends. In time their relationship blossomed and they were married on August 16, 1975 at St. John's United Church in Chesley. A year later Vern and Lorraine adopted Lorraine’s sons Kenneth (1967) and Thomas (1969), before completing their family in 1978 with the addition of Joseph. In 1989, the McGilvearys purchased a 100-acre farm just outside Scone where they raised a variety of animals. Vern loved the farm life and spent countless hours caring for the livestock and working around the farm. He also loved his four-legged companions, which included Missy, Chimo, and Laddie through the years. Don't forget his love of cats as well, with Bijoux and Callie sharing their lives with Lorraine and him for a number of years.

In 2000, Vern took the opportunity to work at Golden Valley Farms in Arthur. He was Chief Operating Engineer, 3rd Class with Golden Valley Farms Inc., Arthur for the last 19 years. Over his 49 year career he had many years of experience on boilers ranging from low pressure to high pressure, involving sawdust, gas and oil, as well as in air compression and cooling systems, ammonia refrigeration, wet and dry systems and performing industrial maintenance work.

Lorraine and Vern moved to Durham in 2002, to be closer to work as he was on call. Vern loved his work and could have easily been referred to as a workaholic. He also loved to collect tools to help him with this work. When not busy with work Vern loved to cut the grass, often relaxing with a beer while mowing his 7 1/2 acres of lawn in Durham. He definitely had a western spirit about him as he loved anything cowboy. He loved western movies and anything written by Louis L'amour. In fact, he collected these novels and had an expansive collection, many of which he donated to the local library. When he had an opportunity to watch some TV he always enjoyed taking in a hockey game or shows like Highway Thru Hell, and North Woods Law. Like any cowboy, Vern always looked good in black. When out for something to eat, he always had a soft spot for KFC. He and Lorraine always looked forward to their yearly trips to Midland, whereby they would spend their days walking around the Bay and enjoying boat rides with evenings spent at the Highland Inn.

Vern was a hard-working, honest man who was very trustworthy. He was a loving family man, with a large network of friends. However, he probably is best known for his dedication to his work as an Engineer. He loved his chosen career and will be sadly missed by his friends and former colleagues.

In January of 2019, Vern decided to retire to enjoy the finer things in life. Sadly, that was not in his cards, as he was diagnosed with terminal cancer in February and spent his remaining days fighting this horrible disease. He passed away, in the presence of his loving family, at South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Durham on Saturday, October 5, 2019 at the age of 66.

He is survived by his best friend and loving wife of 44 years, Lorraine (Hyslop). Dear father of Kenneth (Amanda), Thomas (Sherry), all of Hanover and Joseph of Arthur. Vern will be sadly missed by his grandchildren, Kaitlynn (Samson) of Listowel and Megan (Malcolm) of Hanover. Loving step-grandfather of Alicia Winter (Bill McBride) of Clifford and step great-grandfather and guardian angel to Madison McBride. Vern will be lovingly remembered by his brothers, Herb (Elizabeth) of Chesley, Murray of Grand Island, NY, Lawrence (Arlene) of Tonawanda, NY and sisters Blanche Beckett, Reta Steward, both of Chesley, Sharon (Arthur) Becker of Varney. He will be sadly missed by sister-in-law Marion (Don) McAllister of Paisley. Vern will be remembered with fondness by many nieces, nephews and their families and Callie, his feline friend, as well as the entire Hyslop family. Vern was predeceased by siblings Dean, Lyle, Nelson, Jean and Mazie as well as Alex in infancy (1932).

Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Thursday from 2 – 4 and 7 – 9 p.m. where a funeral service celebrating Vern’s life will be held on Friday, October 11, 2019 at 1 p.m. Interment in Hillcrest Cemetery, Tara.

Memorial donations to the Canadian Cancer Society or Durham Hospital Foundation would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.

Send to friend
Jack and Ellen Cavill
October 11, 2019
Our sympathy to all of the family of Vern, he will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of you.
Dale and Dianne Ahrens
October 10, 2019
Our deepest sympathies to the entire family!
We had many great times and memories!
Hugs to all!
Steve Arnold & John Quish
October 9, 2019
So sorry to hear of Vern's passing. Our sincerest condolences to his family & friends. He was well liked and will be missed.
Robert and Susan Byers
October 9, 2019
Please accept our sincere sympathy in Verne's passing. Treasure the memories. God Bless you all.
Sharon and John Ball
October 8, 2019
Please accept our deepest condolences to all the family. So sorry to see the notice of Vern’s passing.
Paul & Brenda THORNTON
October 8, 2019
SINCERE SYMPATHY Lorraine & Family:
May You find Strength in the Love of Family, and in the Warm Embrace of
Love and Heartfelt Prayers
Paul & Brenda (Stevenson)
Dan, Tracy and Jenn
October 7, 2019
Lorrie, Tom, Ken, Joe and families. Vern was a terrific uncle and good friend. he loved his family and his work. he will be sadly missed by many.
Catherine Krause
October 7, 2019
Tom and families our condolences .
Theressa Stade
October 7, 2019
Lorraine, Ken snd Tom I was deeply saddened to here of Vern’s passing. Lots of memories with the entire family in earlier days. Deepest sympathies go out to the entire family Herb and Lib, Blanche and Reta thinking of you all at this time.

Submit A Condolence

Fill in the form below to send a public condolence.

To send a private condolence to the family please click here


If you are having difficulty posting a condolence, please email it directly to and we will post it for you! Sorry for any inconvenience.


accommodations in the chesley area

Our Testimonials

Words to describe Rhody Family Funeral Home comes easy to myself and my family. Nathan and his staff are professional, kind, patient, thoughtful, listened intently, non-judgmental and always available to answer questions without making anyone embarrassed. Ending one's life is difficult for survivors however, Nathan and staff made my mother's life a celebration as he does for all his clients. Although we were saddened by losing mom, during our meeting with Nathan he asked personal questions making us stop, think, discuss each question which truly reflected on mom's life. Moving on, Nathan would have us laughing and laughing together. Remembering the good times spent together. Thank you to Nathan and his staff for going above and beyond. The extras Rhody Family Funeral Home provides were unimaginable! They take time to truly get a sense of each family. Once a funeral is over, Nathan offers ongoing assistance ensuring the process for necessary paperwork is completed and submitted, giving direction on the next step as well as taking time to reach out to families checking on them and letting them know that he is always available if you need to chat. Keeping in touch moves mountains!
I recommend Rhody Family Funeral Home to everyone. 

Carol Vallie

Well Nathan…due to COVID and everything going on, you did an excellent job and you went above and beyond our expectation. COVID changed a lot of things, but in the end we were very satisfied. Thank you! 

Mary Kaufman

I can think of nothing you could have done to better improve our experience. My grandchildren & I all felt relaxed and so appreciated your quiet, excellent care of our family. You provided dignity & caring – so much appreciated. I somehow knew we were in good hands.

Joan Saunders

We were very pleased with everything. So much positive feedback was received! We felt so very supported and cared for throughout!! We would recommend your funeral home in a heartbeat. We were so happy to travel from Barrie to Chesley to have you take care of our John. Thank you all so much!

Margaret Ellis & Family

Because of COVID-19 we had to do the complete service from home via D.V.D. GREAT!

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

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

Back to Top