It is with great sadness that the family of Brian Chandler say goodbye to a devoted husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother and friend. Brian died Wednesday January 2, 2019 at the LHSC, Victoria Campus.
John “Brian” Chandler, age 75, of Dresden, beloved husband of Sandee (Custance) Chandler. Born in Chatham in 1943, son of the late Roberta (Grover) and John Irvin Chandler. Survived by father-in-law, Jack Custance.
Loving father of Jeff (Carolyne), Brad (Kim) and Michelle (Brian) Coutts. Dearest grandfather of Jacqueline, Kassie, Jessica, Lindsay, Ally, Owen, Abbie, Cameron and Makenna and great grandfather of Kinsley. Dear brother of Gary (Suzanne) Chandler and Bob (Jeanne) Chandler.
Brian graduated from Ridgetown Agricutural College in 1964 and purchased his hobby farm in 1966. He worked for W.G. Thompson and Sons Ltd. for over 40 years, was a member of the Knights of Columbus and St. Michael’s Church in Dresden.
The family would like to give a special thank-you to the Dr.’s and Nursing Staff at LHSC, Victoria Campus Oncology In-Patient Unit and to the Palliative Care Nurses.
Friends and relatives may visit at Hinnegan-Peseski Funeral Home, 156 William St. S. Chatham (519-352-5120) on Sunday, January 6, 2019 from 1:30-4 and 7-9 pm, where Vigil and Knights of Columbus Prayers will be offered at 3 pm.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday, January 7, 2019 at 11 am St. Michael’s Church (698 Tecumseh St., Dresden, ON).
Burial will be in Blackburn Cemetery, Dresden.
Donations to Chatham-Kent Hospice, Ronald McDonald House or Charity of Choice would be appreciated.
Good morning, I am Jeff Chandler the eldest son, we are gathered here today to say good bye to my father, Brian. I was very close to my father, but mine was just one of his many special relationships with others. In fact, this is what defined my father, and why many of you are gathered here today. Each of us has a story about how he touched our lives, how he made us laugh or how he made us feel better in a time of discomfort.
My father loved animals from the time he was a young boy who kept hamsters, chicks and ducklings in the basement of his mom and dads house, much to my grandparents dismay. Grandma Chandler used to tell us that Dad would hear about a wounded or sick animal in Chatham and it would end up at their house. Dad’s last house pet was a gecko named Dash. When he would feed Dash he would inevitably drop all the live crickets and say “Oh, Shucks” then we would all have to catch them. I bet my mother didn’t know when she married Brian that she would go to sleep with the sounds of crickets at night.
My dad loved his job at WG Thompson & Sons where he managed the Kent Bridge operation. He excelled at sales and grew the business because he cared about people and had relationships with all his customers, many of whom became close friends and are here today. He also cared about each and every person who worked with him and during the harvest he made sure that everyone on his team received a meal. Yesterday, without exception everyone who worked with dad said he was the best boss they ever had and they had a laugh every day.
My dad worked harder than anyone I have ever known, and he enjoyed life just as much. He loved to experience new things: cultures, foods and the occasional libation. Last week he had Pepsi the first time without whiskey, he said he liked it better with whiskey. He loved to fish and hunt and be outside with nature, but it was always about being with friends and family. He made sure we knew and understood all the laws and rules because we might need to know how to work around them. Rules weren’t “black and white” but grey, and my dad lived in the grey area.
My father taught us to be humble, kind, generous, loving and strong, and that helping others is a foundation of life. He made everyone feel like they were special and never said a negative thing about anyone. He taught us to accept people for who they are and focus on all the positives traits a person has. He gave freely of his time, talents and resources. His farm ran on the honor system and if people took eggs or beef without paying then “they needed more than us” and that was no problem. The song - Humble And Kind by Tim McGraw reminds us of those values:
“Don't take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you're goin'
Don't forget turn back around
Help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind”
Most of all my father loved his family, his grandchildren and his great grand-daughter. He was happiest when we were all gathered at the farm which we did often. He was excited to show the grandchildren the cows, chicks and ducks; even a dead owl that he kept frozen in the freezer to show the kids how big and beautiful it was. He would love to show the grandchildren a chick being born. He would hold it in his hands as the baby chick picked at the eggshell until it emerged. In disbelief, one of the young granddaughters asked “Papa, how did you do that?” He was magical, passionate and bigger than life to all of us.
My father was 75 but young of mind and spirit. He didn’t accept that he was getting older and was shocked one time when I called him a senior. Last September Dad volunteered at the international plowing match, his job was to shuttle seniors from the parking lot to the event. Seating was limited so dad stood to allow all the seniors to have a place to sit. At the end of the first day his knee was aching from bouncing around all day on the shuttle. Mom told him to stay home and rest the next day, but he told her that he made a commitment and he was going. He couldn’t walk after the event and ended up walking with a cane or walker the rest of his life. He never complained but just said it would feel better with time.
My dad understood the value of life: its artifacts, its ideas, its struggles, its loves. He understood that it is the markers you leave along that road that define you. He knew that it is the trees a man plants, the children he raises and the stories he tells that signify life. It is the places he helped build, the heritage he inspired, the church and community he was involved in that makes a civilization." My father will live on in his family, friends and community and there is a part of him left in all of us here today as well as his friends in Costa Rica, Jamaica and New Zeeland who couldn’t be here in person.
I appreciate you all coming out to remember my father, Brian Chandler, and giving me an opportunity to tell you a little bit more about him. I know he would have been honored to know how many people cared enough to attend.