Obituary of Dwain Maxwell Ketcheson
Ketcheson, Reverend Dwain Maxwell
With heavy hearts, the family announces the sudden passing of Reverend Dwain on July 13, 2020 in St. Catharines at the age of 55. Beloved husband of Colleen for 32 years. Devoted father to Felicia and Edward. Predeceased by his mother, Yvonne and his father, Maxwell. Loving brother to Tanya (Bob), and Shawn (Sue). He will be sadly missed by several nieces and nephews.Reverend Dwain was ordained as a minister in 1997 and called Mountainview United Church home since 2012. He enjoyed golfing and playing games with his family. His sense of humor will be greatly missed.Funeral arrangements have been entrusted with the George Darte Funeral Home 585 Carlton Street St. Catharines.Visitation will be held at Mountainview United Church on Saturday July 18, 2020 from 1:00PM-2:00PM with funeral service to follow. Cremation has taken place. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for memorial donations to be made to Mountainview United Church. Visitation and funeral attendance is on an invitation only basis. The funeral service will be recorded for those who are unable to attend and placed on Rev. Dwain's tribute page.
As per the Province of Ontario Covid-19 regulations - visitation attendance is limited to 30% building capacity. Funeral attendance is limited to 120 attendees. Attendance will be monitored to maintain capacity and physical distancing for the health and safety of our staff and guests. All guests attending the visitation or funeral MUST wear a mask.
Rev. Dr. Alan Minarcik
July 18, 2020
I am Alan Minarcik; let me share with you where I fit into this whole picture:
Dwain and I were friends, colleagues in ministry and shared a passion and loved the church.
Such a cherished passion.
We would talk about our families and the church.
We both experienced much heartbreak.
We grew up in a different time; cherished the church.
It was where I met my wife.
And now the church as we knew it was disappearing before our eyes.
Dwain and I shared many high holy days together which included:
Super Bowl Sunday with sacramental pizza
Buffalo Bison's baseball games with mutual friend Richard Jackson
Jokes about like we were both Saskatchewan survivors and we knew that Pamela Wallin
came from Wadena, Saskatchewan.
These were the kind of things friends do which we ministers need to do more of.
Our friendship stretched over 12 plus years leavened with laughter and tears.
In our last phone conversation, Dwain shared his concerns about the future:
The efforts Mountainview Church was going through and basic concerns about his employment.
I was utterly astonished the church could dismiss his talents; gifts which I admired in him.
And I remembered the interview with the Mountainview Church search committee.
I was contacted and asked by the committee to name his greatest gift.
I replied his steadfastness; he would be with you through thick and thin.
He would not walk away nor leave you.
And Dwain did not leave you.
To my mind he was one of the most faithful ministers I have ever known.
His word was his bond.
I admired his talent; His words with you on the journey of faith.
As I prepared this message, I realized how much my life will be impoverished by his absence.
We went to all kinds of events; he was a lifelong learner.
Dwain was open to new ideas.
We attended many Festivals of Homiletics events held all over USA for ministers.
At the Chicago event we were coming back from dinner with a group. When my leg suddenly ached with pain; I realized the group I was walking with was a block ahead of me. Dwain came back to me and asked if I was OK.
Later I learned I had an aneurysm in my left leg.
But what I remember most was that Dwain came back to me.
The church does not need flashy dressers or charismatic ministers.
No, the church needs now are ministers like him who care deeply; and notice others who have fallen behind.
A final thought is Dwain, why did you leave now ????
I am reminded of the passage where Jesus is with his disciples. They are arguing who will be first in the Kingdom of God and a fight breaks out.
Jesus tells the story of his father’s house that has many dwellings.
Home is the place we go for affirmation.
Home is a place where someone greets you at the door and says,
“The coffee pot is on, Welcome Home.”
Dwain is now at home.
Now I pause and hear angels on high saying :
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Bless you, Dwain.
Colleen Ketcheson's Eulogy
Most of you know Dwain the minister, and some of you know Dwain the friend, and of course there is Dwain the family member. But as my sister-in-law Sue pointed out, I am the only one who knows Dwain the romantic.
My family and I attended church in Peterborough, and I was asked several times to come to the youth group meetings. I had sworn off men, and was not looking for a relationship, as I had recently been hurt by a rejection from someone I had liked for over 9 years. I finally attended with my friend Linda. Our second meeting was a Halloween party, and I saw a young man named Dwain dressed in a very flamboyant costume, acting his part, and I pegged him for a guy who would never be interested in someone like me. Flash forward to December, and that was when Dwain and I became friends.
We were at a Christmas dance, and we began talking and never stopped the entire night. We didn't dance with each other, but two girls came up to Dwain at different times and asked him to dance, and I could tell he was quite embarrassed. Months after he confessed to me that he only danced with them out of politeness.
On Valentine's Day we had another dance, and because it was my brother Sam's birthday I was late. I heard later that Dwain was sad as he thought I wasn't coming. He asked me to dance and we were on the floor for most of the night. Now, back in our day dances always ended with Stairway to Heaven, which is 8 1/2 minutes long. It was pretty much an unwritten rule that you didn't pick just anyone for that dance. You chose someone special. Well, that didn't work out because a friend of Dwain's approached me for the last dance.
Come April it hit me. I liked him. A lot. But I didn't know how he felt. I found out after that he knew from the moment he met me that I was the one.
A bunch of us would gather at the movies on Tuesdays, since it was cheap night. It was very casual, and people just showed up. Dwain approached me after youth group one night and was asking if I was going to the movies that Tuesday. Or so I thought. We agreed to meet. When I arrived only Dwain was there, and I quickly realized that this was a date, and I had been dense.
On April 23rd, exactly five years before our wedding, we sealed our new relationship with a kiss. Three weeks later I was hesitant to ask him to attend a boring obligatory function with me, and he said that someday we will be married so why wouldn't he go?
I was 20, and I thought he was only 16, and when I told my parents they gave each other the look, but didn't say anything. Not long after I realized he would be 18 in a couple of months. Dwain's parents weren't overly impressed at first either, because as an older woman I had a car.
I think it is fitting that Dwain proposed to me in a church, after asking my dad for permission. For our reception we decided we would sing a verse of a song to each other, and I took the entire 6 months' engagement to pick out my song and practice daily. He in typical fashion learned his song the morning of our wedding, and sang it perfectly, of course.
I would just like to mention the last thing that Dwain did for me out of love. Dwain had read perhaps five novels in his life as he was never one to read just for pleasure, due to reading so much for work. This spring I wrote a novel for teens, and I really wanted him to read it as I valued his opinion. The evening before he passed away he finished reading it, and told me he thought it was really good. He showed me love by doing something he really didn't enjoy and didn't often do. I was incredibly touched.
Dwain made me laugh almost every day, which for me was paramount. I trusted him explicitly, and could depend on him to keep our family safe. He has been a part of my life for almost 38 years, and I can't wait until we meet again.
Felicia Ketcheson's Eulogy
I’m Felicia Ketcheson, Dwain’s daughter. I’m going to talk about ways in which I know my dad loved me followed by memories which demonstrate how he liked to have fun.
My dad officiated his first wedding shortly after being ordained. He married Edward’s and my Cabbage Patch dolls. Even though it wasn’t a real wedding, my dad took it seriously by wearing his clergy robe and white stole.
When I was 11, I told my parents I wanted a snake. After a few years of this, my parents realized I was serious and finally agreed to me getting one. You may have seen a picture in the slideshow of my dad and I sitting on a couch as I hold my snake Rocky. My dad has this apprehensive look that says “I can’t believe I let my daughter get a snake”. But it was my dad who noticed how Rocky enjoys being near people and suggested we move him from the underused family room to the well-used living room. Rocky’s aquarium has been beside the living room couch ever since. Years later, my dad started calling Rocky his grandsnake, since he didn’t have grandchildren. If people made comments suggesting Rocky is ‘just’ a snake, my dad would say “Rocky is part of our family”. My dad showed his love by allowing me to get Rocky, even though he was apprehensive. But his uncertainty disappeared and I know he loved Rocky as much as I do.
As many of you know, I live in London, which is not quite 2 hours away. I live close enough to work to not need a car. As such, whenever I come home to St. Catharines my parents pick me up. A few years ago, a friend of my dad’s was selling his car. My dad and I talked for an hour about whether I should buy it. I said I felt bad he spent time picking me up and said if he wanted me to, I’d buy it. But my dad said no, telling me he enjoys being able to spend the time with me.
Lately, my parents and, in the last couple weeks, Edward and I, have been biking along the Welland Canal Trail. On July 11, my dad and I left home at the same time and since he has a faster bike he went on ahead. Later we crossed paths as he doubled back to return home. Sometime after, two dogs chased him until the owner called them off. Knowing I’m scared of dogs, my dad considered waiting for me so we could bike home together in case there were more unleashed dogs. He decided not to tell me what happened because he didn’t want to scare me and cause me to no longer want to bike the Trail. Mom told me all this the day he passed away to show me how much he cared about me and wanted to protect me.
My dad liked to have fun in many ways. I have three examples to share.
When my dad was 18, he bought a Commodore 64 computer. He introduced me to it when I was 7-years-old and I instantly loved it. I have many fond memories of us playing 2-player Ms. Pacman and other games. I know he enjoyed sharing a part of his younger self with me.
My dad loved being goofy. For longer than I can remember, one of the silly things he’d do was ‘spider hands’. This involved him crawling his hand up our arms as if it were a spider and having ‘spider hands’ talk to us in a silly voice.
My dad enjoyed teasing people. In fact, the last memory I have of my dad is him teasing me. The evening before he passed away, the four of us played Cribbage before going to bed. Despite having played many Cribbage games in the past six months, I’ve only won a handful so that evening the four of us agreed I suck at Cribbage. Not wanting me to feel bad, my dad said there’s no way he’d ever be able to beat me at the spatial reasoning game we played the other day. Near the end of our game, mom played a Queen which meant, as you may know, if my dad had a Queen in his hand it was likely the obvious card to play. My lack of Cribbage skills prompted my dad to show me his hand which had a Queen and a nine in it. He teased me by asking “now, which card do you think I should play?”. As my dad lovingly teased me so much over the years, this being my very last memory of him makes it very special.
I’ll remember my dad for many things including his gentle teasing, his humour such as the way he’d make up his own lyrics to songs, his love for his family, the devotion and caring he showed to his biological and church families, and how he did all he could to ensure Edward and I grew up to be successful adults. Dad, I love you so much and couldn’t have asked for a more loving dad. So much of who I am is thanks to you. Thank you for everything.
Edward Ketcheson's Eulogy
When I think of my dad, it’s clear there were two very prevalent and contrasting sides to him: serious/responsible dad and goofy dad.
Serious/responsible dad was always there to drive Felicia and I anywhere, without question, even when we were old enough to drive ourselves. He saw it as his duty and didn’t want to have to worry about us. He often had to rush to finish his workday so Felicia and I wouldn’t have to wonder where he was after our high school band practices ended. On one occasion he didn’t realize that practice had been cancelled, and we were already home. He waited patiently for at least a half hour for us to come out of the school. Years later, he drove me all the way to Waterloo and back just to view one single apartment I was interested in renting during my masters degree.
When driving us to high school he loved to comment on the things he saw, like houses and trees. He would notice all these little details that I never paid any attention to, like: “Oh! That person painted their garage doors!” But by far his favourite thing was to comment on other drivers.
Whenever he saw someone do a rolling stop at a stop sign, he would comment every single time, saying “Did you see that guy? He didn’t even stop!!!” as if it were some big newsflash. I would just roll my eyes – oh boy, there he goes again…..
One time I told him that it actually didn’t matter to me if people don’t come to a full stop, so long as nobody was put in danger. His response was: “well, it matters to me”.
It just really bothered him when people took shortcuts and didn’t follow the rules, but somehow managed to get through life just fine. He would always do the responsible thing even if it was less convenient.
Whenever dad needed help outside or to fix something, I often acted as his assistant. And to be honest, I kind of hated it. He was very focused and single minded, and definitely a perfectionist. And while these can be very admirable qualities, that’s definitely not what 12 year-old me was thinking after spending several hours holding pieces of wood in place. His goofy side never surfaced in these situations because for him, doing things properly meant taking things 100% seriously.
Now the goofy side of my dad didn’t come out nearly as often as the serious/responsible side, but it was very fun and entertaining for those who got to see it – and sometimes annoying – but it acted as a release for him, with the people he felt most comfortable with.
He was definitely one of the funniest people I’ve ever known and had all sorts of amusing sayings. Although, it was honestly a bit of a disapointment for me when I watched Seinfeld for the first time as it turns out he took a lot of material from that show.
But he still had plenty of his own original material. One of his favourites is one he would use when entering or leaving the house. And it was actually pretty brilliant because he managed to tease myself, mom and Felicia all at once, in just four words, by saying: “Hello men! And Edward.”
As a family we really enjoyed playing board games and card games, often with music playing in the background. One of his favourite things was to sing along but with his own very inventive lyrics. And if a song had a particular beat, it was known as a “funky beaver” song which had its own associated actions. If there were a lot of oooh’s and oh’s in a song, he would pretend the singer had really bad cramps.
As I’ve alluded to, my dad’s serious/responsible and goofy sides didn’t tend to overlap, so there was very little middle ground. But I loved both sides of him and especially have great admiration for how much he took his responsibilities to heart and looked out for others. I know his example helped make me who I am today, and will continue to do so. I’m also grateful for all the good times we shared such as badminton, golf, and all the family games and trips.
So dad, while I wish you’d been able to find more balance in life, I hope you’ve now found the peace you deserve.
My name is Sam, Dwain was my only brother-in-law. But, Dwain was more than just a brother-in-law, he was really like an older brother to me.
The one word I would use to describe him, would be Practical. However, he was also a huge family man. He loved his family, whether it be his kids, or extended family.
Dwain came into our family, back in 1983, when I was just 9. My Sister is 11 years older than I am, just to clarify. He really did shape me as a person. I was, after all an impressionable young kid. He was always kidding me in a playful way, trying to get a rise out of me or make me laugh. He was different ( in good way), than my own brother. I really believe I also got my humour from him.
He always, made me laugh. He could also be a tad annoying, at times, in a playful way. He had a knack from rhyming off useless TV/Movie trivia, quotes, lines etc, He was like no other!
I spent a lot of time over the years with Dwain, either going to movies, events, concerts, car shows, just about everything. If he was available to do something, he would. Often, he would call and suggest something. He loved spending time with family. He and my own father, his father-in-law, had a special bond. They loved to chat endlessly, about Money, Politics, Church and Cars. When the three of us got together, that seemed to be our only topics of conversation, to the chagrin of the rest of the family!
As I mentioned before, Dwain could really make you laugh. He would make up his own versions of songs on the radio and sing them loudly, until you told him, enough was enough. However, sometimes his versions were pretty catchy. Just this week, I was working away, and a favorite song came on the radio and found myself singing the “Dwain Version”, without even realizing. I paused, laughed, and said, “Thanks Dwain”….
It is hard to believe, but , at times, he could be a tiny bit annoying…….. In a good way.
As much as he liked to goof around and have fun, at work he was serious. He put soooo much energy into his Churches. The detail in a Sunday Service was incredible. During this Pandemic, as many know, he performed the service each Sunday from his house, but made it look to us on the Zoom call, like it was done from the Church. Each service he did, I always came away with something that made me think. I genuinely enjoyed his services. He also had a knack for doing funerals. He performed a joint funeral for my Dad’s with another Minister and again, rode that delicate line between being the son-in-law, and the Minister. Not an easy task. My own Mom really wanted him to do her funeral, when the time comes, but it was not to be.
Continuing with his Church work, when he was at Memorial United, he oversaw the amalgamation with two other Churches, voting to close Memorial, effectively putting himself out a job...as it was the best thing for the new congregation. He always put others before himself.
Dwain would always tell me, “We are the same age’ This always annoyed me as it was impossible I use to say, as we were 9 years apart. However, he meant the same stage in life. He kept it up, as he knew it got under my skin.
He loved his family as I mentioned and I would call him Clarke, as in Clark W Griswold, of the National Lampoons Vacation Movie Series. That nickname fit him well.
Dwain was a perfectionist in everything he did, and tended to over think everything a little bit. One time, I visited for the weekend, and he asked if I would help him with the rust repairs on their aging Dodge Minivan. It was rusting underneath each rear sliding door. Dwain and I each picked a door and went to work. Dwain spent the whole day sanding, priming, painting and making his really look good. My door on the other hand, was attacked with a good dose of fiberglass and bondo, and finished rather quickly. He was not happy as my side did not look the best and was done on the quick. However, a few weeks later, when his side started to show signs of rust again, he was not boasting anymore. My side was still free of rust, and looking the same as the day it was done. A few months later, the van was replaced as the main the vehicle.
My last and a favorite memory, is the back deck. For almost 20 years, I listened to Dwain wonder what do with the back deck and yard. Do I increase the size of the deck? So we could have more space, more people could sit comfortably on the deck. It would be nice when family visits. But, if I do that we will have no yard. We only use the yard a few times a year for playing badminton. But, having a bigger deck would be nice………. But…….Argh………. On and on and on and on it went. Same thing on repeat, for nearly 20 years. I tried in vain for a few years to help with suggestions, of family coming to help build a new deck. But, there was always resistance. Eventually, I gave up, and kind of looked forward to each summer, sitting out on the deck with Dwain, reliving his future deck plans…….
So, in closing, I just want to say, I love you and I will miss you very much Dwain, you were the best brother-in-law I could want, my life would have been so much different without you.
Dwain was a wonderful, fun, genuine brother who was taken too soon. I could talk to Dwain about anything and he never judged me or criticized me. Dwain made me feel safe to confide with. Dwain was devoted, loyal and committed to everyone and everything in his life - his family, church, friends and golf. I can't believe Dwain is gone.
I regret not spending more time with Dwain joking and talking to him which I really enjoyed. Even though Dwain was 10 years younger we had a special bond and closeness. We especially shared a lot of time together in Peterborough in the weeks prior to mom's death.
I will always love Dwain and miss him very much.
I think this is the most difficult day I've ever had in my life. When I was told Dwain had died I felt like I wanted to throw up, and I've felt sad and angry ever since. I felt sad for Colleen and Edward and Felicia because of what they've lost, and also angry because it's not supposed to happen that way throughout that point in history.
I loved everything my sister Tanya said. I too loved Dwain, and I loved Dwain because he was easy to love. I can't recall ever having a fight or an argument with Dwain. He just wasn't a fighting person. He was easy to get along with and to hang out with, and I'd like to share a couple of memories I have about Dwain.
The first memory I have of Dwain is when he was seven days old and I was seven years old. And I won't fill in every year. But at seven days old the family had gone camping, and I can picture it like it was yesterday. Dwain in that big plastic baby bucket, at seven days old, and my mom was cleaning the bellybutton. I'd never seen a bellybutton like that before and it was just ingrained right in me, and I've never forgot that image.
This is interesting for me, as my memories of Dwain that I hold onto as being so valuable right now, didn't really cost any money. I don't know what that means but it means something to me right now. I remember taking a bike ride with him to the nearby Dairy Queen, getting a saucer of ice cream with chocolate dip and eating it. That's a powerful memory.
I remember youth group. I remember I got to be a student pastor at the church where Colleen and the family hung out, and Dwain was at the youth group and Colleen was too, and that's where the relationship sort of grew. So I got to be present and watch that, and looking at some of those pictures from that season, I thank God for that. It's a beautiful thing, so I remember that.
I look at the lineup of people here and I'm so thankful for Tanya hosting summer vacations for us. We'd all get together, along with other people, and we'd just camp at her little hobby farm, share meals, play croquet, and Dwain was very aggressive at croquet. He never argued. He's the type of person who, when he played croquet, had this rule that if his ball hit your ball, he can move his ball to your ball, step on his ball and smack your ball wherever he wanted it to go. I don't know if that's right or wrong, but it was aggressive. I remember that really, really well.
I remember Ashton hosting family get togethers also. I remember the delight I had when I was a minister in Ottawa and Dwain was doing his student internship in Ottawa, and I was excited because that meant I got to see Dwain a whole bunch. And I did and it was a blessing to me, and I remember we'd sit and watch action movies and eat potato chips. I love the picture with the Lay's potato chip up on the screen. That's how I remember Dwain fondly...he looked like that with a lot of chips in his mouth.
Like Tanya, I look back on my life, never an argument, never a fight..that's a reflection of more him than me, nothing but joy, lots of regrets, because I had good times with him. For me I'm so grateful that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him has eternal life.
So when Sue called me on Monday and said that Dwain was dead, I wept with my friends I was with, and today I say he didn't perish, he's gone to heaven. Not because he was your minister here. Not because he was a good person, but because he simply asked Jesus to forgive him for his sins. And that gives him eternal life.
The last thing I'll share, is I talked to Dwain two weeks ago, and I'd never seen him so anxious. He was very stressed. He loved this church, and what's cool is I can say he knew you folks loved him. He knew you loved him so thank you church for loving him so well. You guys are great. But he was so stressed to the max about what's happening in the church, and churches, about Covid, and it was eating him alive. I encouraged Dwain to go see a doctor, and for whatever reason, it didn't happen.
But Dwain passed on, he knew his family loved him, and he knew you guys loved him, so thank you very much. And thank you for listening.
Who we are:
Our mission is to serve each family to the absolute best of our ability, along with their friends and to give to the good of our community in which we live and serve.
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St. Catharines, ON
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