Feb. 3, 2016
OBITUARIES AND DEATH NOTICES
Alvin Edwin Runnalls
Alvin Edwin Runnalls died suddenly on Sat., Jan. 30, 2016 in his 77th year.
He was born on June 2, 1939 on Manitoulin Island, the fifth child and youngest son of Effie (Hern) and Percy Runnalls.
Alvin was a gregarious, community-spirited man with an insatiable curiosity about the world. When his childhood dream of becoming a bush pilot proved unrealistic, Alvin turned instead to teaching. He went to North Bay Teacher’s College in 1961, and began his career at Meldrum Bay Rural School, teaching students in a range of seven grades. After two years, he was offered positions at Moose Factory on James Bay, and Redditt in Northwestern Ontario, but though he was drawn to the north, he chose a job in Niagara Falls, where he felt there would be more opportunities to pursue running and road races; he had developed a love of running as a teenager. There, he met Dawn Vanhorn, a beautiful strawberry blonde colleague at Heximer School. They married on April 10, 1966, and two and four years later, expanded their family with daughters Rachel and Gretchen.
Alvin grew up on a sheep and beef farm, and farming was in his blood. Although teaching was a rewarding career, he and Dawn chose to take on a new challenge, first joining his sister and brother-in-law at their dairy farm in Spencerville, then moving to Winchester Township in 1973. They worked in partnership to build a successful dairy operation, becoming the very first couple to win the county’s Farmer of the Year Award in 1991.
He donated his time to so many organizations it’s difficult to keep track. He served on the Federation of Agriculture’s executive, both locally and provincially. At various times, he sat on the boards of the Winchester District Memorial Hospital, the Chesterville Historical Society, the Canadian Club, and the Dundas County Players, and was chair and vice-chair of the Dundas County Food Bank. He canvassed for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. He was a 4-H leader, and a participant in community theatre. A dedicated member of the Anglican Church, he served as warden, and represented his parish at Synod. He had a passion for politics as both an engaged observer and an active participant. Alvin was enormously proud to serve two terms on Township of North Dundas, two terms as mayor, and a term as warden of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry. And his generosity extended beyond his time; he donated so much of his income to charity that the Canada Revenue Agency became suspicious and singled him out for audit.
He was a voracious reader, always with several books, and an enormous stack of magazines and newspapers on the go. He also nurtured keen interests in history, geography, and current events. He had a renowned sweet tooth, which was a major influence in adopting another of his passions: beekeeping. He was a life-long Liberal and a die-hard Leafs fan; he was delighted to see at least one of his beloved teams score a major victory last year. In 1980, he revived his interest in long-distance running and participated in the first National Capital Marathon. The marathon became an annual event in his life until hip replacement surgery curtailed his ability to run in the early ‘90s. The arthritis that sidelined his running also forced Alvin and Dawn to make a switch from dairy farming to cash cropping—and gave him the time to run for politics instead.
Over the past few years, Alvin had scaled back his farming operations, but he insisted that he would farm at least until he was 80. Although his beekeeping activities kept him busy, he had begun to supplement his sweets production, adding maple syrup to his output. One of his favourite activities was driving huge loads of corn and soybeans to the elevator at harvest time. True to his nature, he was active until the end.
Last Saturday, Alvin had an accident while cutting wood on his fencerows. He died instantly. His great spirit, generosity, and enthusiasm live on in our hearts.
Alvin was predeceased by his sister, Doris Cleary, and brother-in-law, Jim Scott. He is survived by his wife, Dawn, daughters Rachel and Gretchen, and siblings Lewis Runnalls (Anne), Shirley Scott (Wes), and Richard Runnalls (Shirley).
Visitation will be held at St. Clare’s Anglican Church, 2530 Falcone Lane in Winchester on Sat., Feb. 6 at 1 pm until the time of the funeral service at 2 pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Anglican Parish of North Dundas will be accepted.
Online condolences may be made at
Donald Shay, a lifetime resident of the Chesterville area, passed away peacefully at home on Wed., Jan. 20, 2016. He was 88.
Donald was born in Winchester Township on July 20, 1927 to his parents, Asa and Eva Shay (nee Servage). As a young man, he worked on his father’s dairy farm. A self-taught man, he proceeded to establish his own dairy farm, which was originally known as the Willie Allison homestead, and he started with only 10 Holstein cows.
Donnie married Betty Servage on July 21, 1951, and together they and their six children built their farm into a thriving enterprise, which is now known as Bethune Bush farms.
He was a very hardworking man, and in addition to farming he worked in construction, moved houses, did carpentry work on multiple homes and cottages, and built both furniture and many treasured keepsakes for his family and friends.
He was a dedicated member of Christ Church United in Chesterville, and has touched many lives throughout his lifetime with his generous, kind ways and gentle manner. He was respected by all. He learned from the past, lived in the present, and built for the future — a legacy.
He led by example, which to this day and from this day forward, will benefit those fortunate enough to have known Donnie Shay.
Donald is survived by his wife of more than 64 years, Betty; his children, Donna Fawcett, Doug (Bonnie), Kathy Beckstead (Greg), Glendon (Debi), Kenny (Kathy), and Mark (Vicky), all of Chesterville; and his sister, Shirley Durning of Wiarton. Donald will be fondly remembered by his grandchildren, Jason, Erin (David), Laura (Matthew), Sarah (Mike), Meghan (Chris), Colin (Shaelynn), Kaitlin (Nathan), Mitchel, Brittany (Robert), Justin, and Amanda; and great-grandchildren Colton, MacKenzie, Lilah, and Lincoln. He was predeceased by his parents, his sisters, Emma Miller and Edna Dubois, and brothers Hubert, Lyle, Harold, and Clifford, and son-in-law Dwayne Hall. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home in Chesterville on Sun., Jan. 24 from 1 to 4 and 7 to 9 pm. The funeral service was held at Christ Church United in Chesterville, on Mon., Jan. 25 at 1 pm with Rev. Deborah Poirier officiating. The pallbearers were Doug Shay, Glendon Shay, Kenny Shay, Mark Shay, Greg Beckstead, and Jason Fawcett. Interment of cremated remains will be in the spring at Maple Ridge Cemetery in Chesterville.
Donations to Christ Church United, Dundas County Hospice, or Maple Ridge Cemetery would be gratefully acknowledged by the family.
Online condolences may be made at