Honouring Veryl Finlay
Leaving a gift in your Will in honour of a loved one is a way to carry their legacy forward. When you celebrate the life of someone you love with a gift in your Will, you make a lasting impact on the lives of others and the health of our community.
Grand River Regional Cancer Centre was one of the local organizations that received a bequest from John Heiser’s estate in honour of his aunt Veryl Finlay. As someone facing cancer, Veryl had an exceptional experience with the compassionate and knowledgeable doctors and staff who cared for her during treatment.
Known for her passion, sense of humour and incredible spirit, Veryl was a member of the Kitchener-Waterloo community for almost 70 years—Veryl and her husband, Wendell, moved here in the early 1950s when he purchased the car dealership now known as Wendell Motors.
“She was a farm girl. She had no illusions of grandeur,” said Veryl’s friend Jim Harper. “She was just a down-to-earth person that said, ‘Here I am. Take me as I am, and here are my passions.’”
Veryl was a long-time member of Westmount Golf and Country Club, where she and her circle of friends enjoyed curling and playing golf. She organized and participated in numerous curling events there over the years, and she was known for walking the course at Westmount in her late eighties when she played golf a few times each week.
“There was a group of ladies at Westmount that used to travel around, and [Veryl] was kind of the ringleader,” Jim recalled with a laugh. “She always said the reason she was the ringleader is that she was…the [designated driver]. She was quite the spirit.”
Veryl’s biggest passion, however, was birding; it was something she loved to do, both locally and internationally. She supported nature-related causes, and in the last 20 years of her life, Veryl travelled regularly to pursue her love of birding in different places around the world.
Veryl had no children of her own, so when it came time for her to plan her estate, she decided she wanted her nephew, John Heiser, to be a beneficiary in her Will. John was very appreciative of his aunt’s support, so much so that when the time came to do his own estate planning, John decided to reciprocate and honour his late-aunt by supporting community organizations that were important to her.
While Veryl was certainly an active community member, she preferred not to call attention to herself. To celebrate her life, John left meaningful donations in Veryl’s name to local organizations in his Will—he wanted to give back to the community that she had been a part of for so many years, specifically the causes that were important to her, such as Grand River Regional Cancer Centre.
“They were very good to her there,” said Pauline Harper, a friend of Veryl’s who attended her treatments with her. “The doctor—Dr. DeCarolis was her name—she was wonderful.”
John's honouring of his aunt will have a lasting impact on local cancer care for years to come, helping families who are facing a cancer diagnosis to receive care and compassion during a time of critical illness.
Visit CareForward.ca to see how you can shape the future of care at Grand River Hospital by honouring a loved one through your estate plans.