St. Thomas-Elgin Branch News

Update from Your Executive

December 2020




A warm December greeting to our members! Susan Bandeen has prepared another great newsletter; just one of many ways we are working hard to keep everyone connected. Enjoy, and stay well as we continue to sail uncharted waters to safer shores one day soon!

Your RWTO St.Thomas-Elgin Team

For the Newsletter Click Here

Executive 2020-2021

First Vice PresidentSue
Second Vice PresidentCatherine
Insurance ConvenorJudy De


Communications ConvenorSusan
Telephone ConvenorRita
Goodwill Convenors

To The St Thomas-Elgin Branch of RWTO/OERO


PresidentLynn Christie519-207-2383
First Vice PresidentSue Bandeen226-980-9719
Second Vice President. Catherine Gardiner519-852-9203
Past PresidentBeth Phoenix519-207-2384
SecretaryDiane Pease519-631-7954
TreasurerMillie Gremonprez519-660-9095


MembershipRuth Quenneville519-633-3267
Building MembershipHazel Sims519-637-1936
CommunicationsSusan Jakob519-773-2287
Central East ElginGisele
West ElginGinny Barfett 519-764-2419
Lunch Attendance NumbersPatricia Legault519-639-2227

 To Our New Retirees

 May You Enjoy A Long And Happy Retirement!



Check out our April Newsletter for meeting highlights and things to know.
Our next virtual Members Meeting will be by Zoom, Wednesday April 21st at 1:00pm. Our program will be a presentation by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, which sounds very interesting. Zoom link Information will be sent a few days before the meeting. We look forward to having as many as possible join us for this hour. One way to see each other!


Thursday January 21st, 2021 at 1:45- 3:00 p.m. Our speaker will be Pete Sheridan. Pete is President of the Elgin Historical Society. He will be sharing photos and stories about the History of Las Vegas. If we can’t easily snowbird, let’s travel virtually to Vegas!

Our ZOOM meetings will only admit 100 people so we will be able to accommodate the first 100 that sign in at the scheduled meeting times. Plan to join us for brief, branch updates and our speakers from the safety and comfort of your own home! Watch for the invite/link which will be sent 2 days before the meeting.

Please click here for the Zoom Meeting Minutes of October 2020

The St Thomas-Elgin RWTO/OERO




Beth Phoenix is Past President of our St Thomas-Elgin RWTO Branch. She was actively involved with ETFO while teaching, so was willing and able to step into the role of our President when she was needed. Beth continues as a mentor and member of RWTO, when she is not busy with grandchildren, golf, quilting, and community volunteering.




Left to Right:

Leslie Carroll-Frey is presently District 3 RWTO Director. This is her second year in this position which she has been thoroughly enjoying getting to know many in all District 3 Branches. She has also been one of the St Thomas-Elgin Branch Archivists for many years.

Susan Jakob has been a member of the St Thomas-Elgin executive since she retired in 2010 holding the positions of treasurer for four years and then going through the Chair positions. She is presently Communications Convenor.

Wendy Glover has worked closely with good friend, Leslie, sharing the St Thomas-Elgin Branch role of Archivist. These ladies have recorded written and photo documentation of all our meetings for many years.

All their efforts are greatly appreciated by our branch!









2008-2009– Theresa Sherratt
2010-2011- Carole Watson
2010-2011- Elsie Parish
2010-2011– Margaret Hulls
2011-2012- Sandra Andrews
2011-2012- Mary Robinson
2011-2012- Fran Wren
2012-2013- Mona Wilkins
Wendy Thomson
2012-2013- Monique Wood
2013-2014- Hazel Sims
2013-2014- Nenagh Craik
2013-2014- Judy De Groote
2014-1015- Bonita Bristow
2016-2017- Ruth Quenneville
2016-2017- Gianna Filipovic
2016-2017- Anna Lunn


1. Backpack Project for children at the St Thomas Womens’ Shelter- an amount equal to what is usually collected from our members is being given to Gianna and Monique to purchase backpacks and supplies.This year, under COVID-19 meeting restrictions, the Executive decided, the following charities would each receive a $200 donation on behalf of our branch. This money comes from our branch bank balance.

2. St Thomas Food Bank/Caring Cupboard

3. Grace Café (provides meals for homeless individuals)

4. East Elgin Community Assistance Program (Aylmer Corner Cupboard food bank and Christmas hamper programs)

5. West Elgin Daffodil Auxiliary Welfare (food bank for West Elgin)

6. St Thomas Christmas Care 


SEPTEMBER- Backpack Project for children at the Women’s Shelter (cash preferred)
OCTOBER- West Elgin Daffodil Society (Food Bank)-(Any non perishable food item, sanitary products, or cash or cheques are appreciated.)
NOVEMBER- St Thomas Caring Cupboard (Food Bank) or Christmas Care (a gift for a child)
MARCH- Grace Cafe
APRIL- Violence Against Women Services Elgin County-VAWSEC-(monetary gift or cheques made out to VAWSEC or new children’s books are requested)
MAY- East Elgin Community Assistance Program-EECAP-(Aylmer Food Bank)
(Any non perishable food item, sanitary products, or cash or cheques are appreciated.)
JUNE- Backpack Project for children at the Women’s Shelter (cash preferred)

NOTE: FYI: For many of our charities rather than donating “stuff” (example, non perishable items) if you choose, rather to donate by cheque, most of these charities give out income tax receipts so it becomes a win-win for both the giver and the receiver.
NOTE #2: The monthly donations are strictly voluntary.

 Elsie Harriet Parish

PARISH – Elsie Harriet (née Pollard) of Valleyview Home, St. Thomas, passed away peacefully at her late residence on Sunday, March 7th, 2021 at the age of 88. Beloved wife of the late Milton Parish (2020). Dearly loved mother of Dianne Jewitt (Charles), Roger Parish (Patty), Brian Parish, Cynthia Parish (Steve), Kevin Parish, the late Barb Donaldson (Paul) and the late Gerald Parish. Cherished grandmother of Bonnie, Chad, Natasha, Scott and Katie. Dear sister of Isabel Reid (Geordie) and Lawrence Pollard. Lovingly remembered by several great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Elsie was born in Iona Station on April 30th, 1932, daughter of the late Ezra and Katie (née McLaughlin) Pollard. Elsie was a retired school teacher and she was a member of Retired Teachers of Ontario and Retired Women Teachers of Ontario.

Due to COVID-19, a private family service will be held on Thursday at Williams Funeral Home, 45 Elgin St., St. Thomas. A public visitation will be held at the funeral home prior to the service from 12:00pm-1:00pm. Please pre-register your attendance on the website or call the funeral home at 519-631-0850. Interment of ashes in Elmdale Memorial Park Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to Alzheimer Society of Elgin- St. Thomas, Canadian Cancer Society, or the St. Thomas Public Library.

Laurel “Sue” Parkinson-Herniman (Tilden)

January 28, 1946 – January 23, 2021

Passed away peacefully at home a er a short, courageous battle with cancer on 23 January 2021. Sue was born in St. Thomas, ON on 28 January 1946 to the late Charles and Gertrude (Kelly) Tilden. Predeceased by her sisters Lois Lambe and Betty Ferguson. Survived by her husband Ken Herniman, brother-in-law Chuck Herniman (Diane) and sadly missed by nieces and nephews Steve (Tracey) Ferguson, Stewart (Aimee) Ferguson, Ann (Kevin) Montgomery, Jane (Pat) Elliott, Sarah (Craig) Robertson, Mart (Scott) Hannay, David (Krista) Ferguson, Ian (Kendra) Ferguson, Sean (Patruschka) McNabb, and Chris (Rochelle) McNabb.

Sue was an avid reader, and loved to sing and attend live theatre. She was a member of various choral groups in the London – St.Thomas area, spending many enjoyable years as a member of the London Fanshawe Symphonic Chorus. Retiring after over 30 years as an elementary school learning resource teacher, Sue volunteered as an adjudicator of amateur live theatre productions.

For over 10 years she also volunteered at the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection. A er meeting Ken she became an avid Toronto Blue Jays fan and discovered another fun family in the players and wives of the Dorchester Men’s Slow Pitch League.

Sue had many relatives and longtime friends who she dearly cherished. A heart-felt thank you goes to Sue’s special angel Dawn Herniman (Ken’s niece), who moved in and helped care for Ken and Sue. The family would also like to express our sincere appreciation for the care provided by the doctors and nurses at the London Regional Cancer Centre. A very special thank you goes to Phil, Candace, and Jared of the VON palliative care program for their excellent care of Sue which allowed her to remain at home.

Sue will be cremated and a celebration of life will be held at a later date when COVID restrictions allow. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the charity of your choice in memory of Sue.

McCALLUM, Frances Marion

Peacefully, on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, at Bobier Villa, Frances Marion McCallum (née Simpson) passed away at the age of 105. Born in Mosa Township on February 18, 1915 to the late Charles F.Simpson and Jemina (née McEachran). Predeceased by her beloved husband Duncan A. McCallum (1984). Loving mother of Dorothy Gillies (late Duncan) of London, Cathy (Arnold) Clarke of Dutton, Mary Howard (late Ken) of West Lorne and Helen McCallum (Jerry Cherwonick) of Delta, British Columbia. Cherished grandmother of Carrie Howard (Bill Lang) and Mike Howard (Teresa). Fondly remembered by her great-grandchildren; Connor and Katie Howard and Hannah and Emery. Survived by her sister, Ina Nelms (late Vern) and brother-in-law, Harvey Parker. Also survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins. Frances is predeceased by her siblings; Douglas (Edna) Simpson, Stewart (Betty) Simpson and Dorothy Parker.

Frances lived a full life, guided by determination, love and faith. In her early years, she taught grades one to eight in various one-room schools in Mapleton, Campbellton, Willies as well as S.S.#3, and later, schools in West Lorne and Dutton. Frances was always able to clearly recall stories from her early teaching years to share with family and friends. Even after retirement, Frances returned to school, this time as a student, to obtain her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Ontario in 1993. While living in West Elgin, Frances practiced her faith as a member of the Argyle Presbyterian Church, Crinan.

Due to gathering restrictions as a result of COVID-19, a Celebration of Life with interment of ashes in Oakland Cemetery, Glencoe, will be held at a later date. If desired, memorial donations to Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario, Argyle Presbyterian Church, Crinan or a charity of choice would be appreciated by the family. DENNING’S OF WEST LORNE (519-785-0810) entrusted with arrangements. Condolences online at

Published on May 9, 2020

Shirley Ann Millington

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Shirley Ann Millington of St. Thomas, passed away at the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital on Tuesday, February 18, 2020. Dearly loved sister of Norma Jean and Beverley Millington. Born in Blenheim, ON, she was the daughter of the late Harold and Madeline (née Willcox) Millington. Shirley was an elementary school teacher in Sarnia for many years, having been a graduate of London Teachers College and the University of Western Ontario. She was a member of the Retired Women Teachers of Ontario, St. Thomas Anglican Church and the former Trinity Anglican Church, St. Thomas. Honouring Shirley’s wishes, a private funeral service was held on Thursday, February 20th at the SIFTON FUNERAL HOME, 118 Wellington St., St. Thomas (519-631-1160), followed by interment in Elmdale Memorial Park. Memorial donations to the STEGH Foundation, St. Thomas Anglican Church or the charity of one’s choice will be gratefully acknowledged.

Jessie Elizabeth Turner

02/04/1930 – 01/08/2020

TURNERJessie Elizabeth (Whitelock) of Maple Manor, Tillsonburg and formerly of Sparta, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, January 8th , 2020, in her 90th year. Beloved wife of the late Basil Myrvn Cadell Turner (2011). Step-mother of Vanessa Turner, Carole Turner (Farooq Fatah) and the late Bill Turner (late Lila). Cherished grandmother of Kira, Kyle, Kathy, Kevin, Malcolm and Zoe and great-grandmother of Jillian, Madyson, Isaac, Ryan and Tyler. Dear sister-in-law of Nina Riches (Stan) and Gaynor Norman (Edward). Predeceased by her two sisters. Remembered by several nieces and nephews. Jessie was born in Dunwich Township on April 2nd, 1930, daughter of the late Archibald and Edrie (Nott) Whitelock. She had a successful teaching career, working in Chatham, Mississauga (South Peel), Sandy Mount and Elgin County. She was a member of the Retired Women Teachers of Ontario. A Memorial Service to celebrate Jessie’s life will be held at Williams Funeral Home, 45 Elgin Street, St. Thomas on Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 at 11:00am. Visitation will be held prior to the service from 10:00-11:00am. Cremation has taken place with private interment of ashes in St. Stephen’s Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to C.N.I.B. or charity of one’s choice.

To see the full obituary for Jessie Elizabeth Turner, click here