In memory of

Noemi Kiss Chellew

August 6, 1958 -  March 23, 2021

Noemi departed this life on March 23rd at Mississauga Hospital with her beloved husband Greg and daughter Dayna by her side and wrapped in the love of her adored daughter Carley, her son-in-law David and grandchildren Declan and Neve.
Lovingly remembered by her mother Erika Kiss, Sister Leila her husband Frank and their daughters Amanda and Kaily, Brother Tom his wife Francine, Sister-in-law Anne her husband Bruce and Anne’s children Sarah, Dan, Jeff, brothers-in-law Dave and Stephen his wife Barbara.
Although ALS brought Noemi’s life to an untimely end, she always lived it to the fullest. A graduate of Silverthorne Collegiate Institute and the Ontario College of Art & Design, Noemi worked as a graphic artist at Atomic Energy, Royal and Sun Alliance, Maritime Life, created a new company with two partners, Pixels Pen and Ink and ultimately retired as Senior Art Director & Studio Manager for John Hancock.
But it was with her extended family and wide circle of friends that she found her most joy – celebrating life’s milestones, hosting dinners, travelling, working on art projects, golfing, skiing and simply sharing time together. Noemi’s heart always seemed to have room in it for ‘one more’. At the end, she chose to make a final gift that brought new hope into the lives of three ‘new friends’ she had never met, by a donation of her organs
A celebration of Noemi’s life will be held at a later date when current restrictions are relaxed. If desired, memorial donations can be made to the ALS Society of Canada ( or Silver Creek Pre-School (
Her life was a blessing – her memory a treasure


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robert patterson (cousin to Greg)

Entered March 27, 2020 from victoria

A very loving tribute to a very loving and lovely person. I am still trying to gather my thoughts and will write to you Greg and the family soon. At times like this I know from personal experience that sometimes less words are better. Please know you are in our thoughts and our tears. Much Love Robert

Joseph and Deb D'Ettore (Friend)

Entered March 27, 2020 from New Brunswick

A very special life of a very special person. Great memories of years gone by. May you rest in peace. God bless you and your family, relatives and friends who will miss you greatly.

The D'Ettore family.

Isolde Schermann-Quadflieg (Noémi's uncle Péter is/was my husband)

Entered March 28, 2020 from The Netherlands

I loved Noémi from the first moment I met her in Hungary and later in Canada and at my home in the Netherlands.
With whole my heart I send you Greg, your daughters and your lovely big family my good thoughts and wish you strength for the future with all the 10000000 .....memories Noémi left behind.
A big hug to all of you and Erica

Cathy Kolyn (Friend)

Entered March 28, 2020 from Toronto

I was so happy to have known Noemi. My heart goes out to Greg, Dayna, Carly and the family. She was a very special soul. A beautiful person inside and out. I will miss her.

Mia Medina (friend)

Entered March 26, 2021

Greg, my deepest condolences to you and your family. It truly was an honour to have known her. May her light always shine brightly upon your family.

Life Stories 

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Greg Chellew 

Entered April 17, 2021

Our niece, Kaily Churchill, reached out to Noemi to take part in a story project about Noemi. Basically a company called StoryWorth would send Noemi a question weekly for a year. Noemi would answer each question and at the end they would compile it into a book. Although the projected ended up unfinished the following are the answers Noemi provided. She really enjoyed this project.



What was your Mom like when you were a child?

As a child, I remember my Mom (Erika Agnes Kiss; maiden name, Schermann) being caring but strict, and although I felt very much loved, she was not the doting type. My siblings and I call her 'Anyu’ which means ‘Mom’ in Hungarian. Anyu was raised by highly educated parents and spent much of her childhood living through World War II in Budapest, Hungary. At age 23, leaving her parents and younger brother behind, she decided to flee the country during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, with her older brother and my dad. After their successful escape, her brother went to Holland to meet his waiting fiancé while my mom and dad flew to Canada. A year later, they were married.

From the time I started school in the early 60s, Mom went off to work every day. I thought that was unusual because most moms didn’t as I recall, or at least, that was my impression back then. In addition to working outside the home, there are memories of her sewing identical dresses for my sister Leila, and I – often resulting in the two of us, sporting the same short haircut, being mistaken as twins. I don’t think I liked that very much – it gave the other kids more reasons to tease us and it was tough staying under their radar at the best of times. However, at some point I realized, Mom (and Dad) were doing their best for us.

Mom was a very capable, strong and intelligent woman – as a child, I didn’t think much of it. However, I was really impressed with her for achieving the CGA (Certified General Accountant) designation. I was starting highschool by this time and for my Mom, it was 5 years of night school, countless hours of studying and many exams – all while holding down a full time job. We were all very proud of her accomplishment. Later, she went on to take courses in computer programming as well.

In this regard, she was a progressive, modern woman so it shouldn’t be unexpected that I would eventually notice that my Mom wasn’t like the other Hungarian women in our lives who were more ‘traditional’ – the close family friends and the ladies I knew from the Hungarian United Church. It was an interesting discovery from a child’s perspective when I realized my Mom never baked – not once – and, she rarely cooked Hungarian meals. Recipes such as Chicken Paprikash, Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, Schnitzel, Goulash, Cucumber Salad and Stuffed Crepes were reserved for when we had company. On the plus side though, I think I appreciate the Hungarian cuisine even more because we didn’t have it every day.

Although, Mom wasn’t much into fashion, cosmetics or self-pampering, deep in the depths of my memory, I vaguely remember her wearing 'hot pants' to the office once. She was always well put together – reserved and practical – but not the type to go to a nail salon, nor did I ever see her wear nail polish. So, as a teenager, I had no exposure to any feminine practices and was not permitted to even try. There was one thing my Mom did for herself though, and that was her weekly visits to see Aldo. For almost 50 years, every Saturday morning, Mom went to her hairdresser's in Rexdale, Ontario for a wash & set and the occasional colour or perm. Today, the appointments are much more spread out with her last one having been in the Spring of 2020, after the first COVID-19 lockdown.

I don’t mean to paint a picture of a mom who was ‘all business and no nonsense’ because Anyu enjoyed parties, dancing and has a good sense of humour. I must have been 8 or 9 years old when we were crowded in our tiny bathroom in preparation for bedtime. My 4 year old brother Tom was at the sink, standing on a stool brushing his teeth. I was standing next to him and Mom was peering over his head looking into the mirror when all of a sudden, Tom smacked his puffed up cheeks with both hands, spewing a messy mixture of water and toothpaste all the over the wall and mirror. I looked at my mother fearing the worst but to my surprise, she burst out laughing! It was such a spontanious and genuine reaction. Strange as it is, it's one of my fondest memories of my Mom from my childhood.

How did you get your first job?

In the summer of 1975, just before my 16th birthday, I got my first job as a file clerk for a company where my Mom worked as an accountant. Miami-Carey, in Rexdale, built bathroom cabinets and range hoods and, as their previous clerk had recently resigned, needed help with their filing backlog.

On my first day, after being welcomed and introduced to a small group of office staff, I was taken to the filing room. This turned out to be a construction trailer located inside the factory, lined on either side with roughly fifty chest high, gray metal filing cabinets. These were topped with stacks and stacks of sales orders waiting to be filed and there was just enough room between the two rows to open a drawer to work on it.

Naturally, I was a little nervous, but also determined to do my best – especially for my Mom. Actually, both my parents displayed a high work ethic, so the expectation for me was the same. I was instructed how the orders should be organized and filed and, even though the tops and insides of the cabinets were in quite a state of disarray, I knew this was something I could master. I got started right away and it wasn’t long before I heard from my first satisfied ‘customer’, “Wow, I actually found what I was looking for!”.

Experiencing success and receiving positive feedback made up for the hundreds of hours spent working inside this dusty, drab and window-less environment. If it wasn’t for my Mother coming to tell me “it was time for lunch” or “time to go home”, I might have been completely forgotten! Thankfully, that never happened and there were plenty of social occasions – lunches, celebrations, baseball games, etc. – where I got to know my colleagues better and was asked out for my very first date. With permission from my parents, Doug and I went out a few times but were both a bit shy and didn’t have much in common. Sadly, by summer’s end, we were no longer dating but it was my second ‘life’ milestone within a few short weeks.

In September, I went back to school but returned to Miami-Carey while our high school teachers were out on strike. That next summer, my sister, Leila, and I took a six week trip to visit relatives in Austria and Hungary using the money I made from my first job.

What’s one of your favorite warm drinks in the winter?

Winter weather seemed more intense when I was a growing up. Perhaps this is just my imagination but the storms were more frequent, they lasted longer and the snow was deeper than anything we get today. I remember one amazing day when we were able to tunnel through the snow without breaking the surface, it was that deep!

Considering our family of five lived in a very small apartment, it was not unusual for us to take a day trip during a major weekend snow fall – purely for the fun of it and, ‘to see the storm’. Dad was an adventurer at heart and very capable of driving in pretty severe winter conditions – add some blowing snow into the mix and he was in his element!

The drive would invariably takes us north to Angus, Ontario where we had a one acre piece of property referred to as the ‘lot’. Used mainly as our summer getaway place, the lot was situated in farm country near Camp Borden and was roughly 30 minutes from Wasaga Beach. There was the all important outhouse, a storage shed, a Volkswagon minibus (kids’ sleeping quarters), a three-sided shelter and a separate fireplace for cooking and warmth.

After an hour and half of driving through the snow, hardly seeing another soul as crazy as us, we arrived at the lot. Leaving the stationwagon parked on the road, we trudged through snow, knee-deep, towards the back of the property, taking shelter inside the three-sided structure while dad built a roaring fire in the fireplace. It’s at this point, as we stood around the fire surrounded by pristine white scenery, we shared a thermos of one of my favorite warm drinks – hot, aromatic, sweet, rum tea.

Where did you go on vacation as a child?

When I was young, my parents always took their vacations in the summer, and how we used that time varied from year to year. Often, it meant staying on ‘the lot’, with Mom and Dad sleeping in their orange & blue tent, and the three of us kids bunking down in the Volkswagen minibus. There were boring, ‘nothing to do’ days and long, hot hours spent cutting grass and hand-trimming around every tree, bush and structure on that one acre. What ‘made’ the vacation were the days we spent at the nearby quarry – a swimming hole frequented by the locals – with our red Coca-Cola cooler packed full of food & cold drinks. The swimming was great but it was the floating hydro poles that made it unique. They were worn smooth, so we could climb on them safely without getting too scratched up. We created games and challenges to see who could sit on top while others did their best to roll them off, or we’d get more daring and try to stand up on them. We couldn’t get enough of these days!

All our early vacations were simple, there were never any hotel or resort stays, but occasionally there was an invitation to a family friend’s or colleague’s cottage. These were rare, but welcome, as they came with highly desirable boating and water-skiing opportunities. When we had to stay in the city, the Boyd Conservation Park, just 20 minutes from our home in Rexdale, was a staple destination. One particularly hot summer, my parents would spontaneously announce that we were heading to the Park for the evening. Within minutes, our swimsuits, towels, blankets, hibachi, charcoal, cooler and a soccer ball were assembled and we’d be on our way. We’d cool off in the river, kick the ball around and enjoy our BBQ’d dinner, sitting under a large shady tree. It was totally stress-free for everyone and a summer to remember.

Our first ‘real’ major trip was to Europe in 1967, when I was 9 years old, Leila 8 and Tom 5. Since escaping from Hungary eleven years earlier, my Dad had only returned once (with his Canadian passport in hand) to assess the political climate and determine if it was safe for us to enter. Of the family friends who had also left in ’56, we were among the first to go back and I remember the crowd of familiar faces seeing us off at the airport.

Upon arrival in Vienna, Austria, we loaded ourselves into the rental minivan and met up with my uncle and his family in Germany. A week later, we drove to Hungary for more introductions, including a quick visit to Czechoslovakia to meet Mom’s cousin. It’s a good thing my parents planned for a six week trip! The whole experience of meeting one’s great grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., for the first time, was truly special – I felt the family bond immediately. Speaking the language, although imperfectly, certainly helped strengthen those connections.

I was also delighted with the delicious breads, cured sausages, salamis, cheeses, homemade soups, Eastern European dishes, garden-fresh vegetables and baked sweets that were showered on us wherever we went. If you asked us kids about our favourites, we’d reply: weiner schnitzel with roasted potatoes and cucumber salad, followed by palacsinta (sweet stuffed crepes) and washed down with raspberry syrup mixed with soda water – yum!

The monuments, museum and cathedrals of Budapest, Sopron and the other cities/towns sprinkled throughout the eastern part of Hungary are a bit of blur for me now, but I really enjoyed the Budapest Zoo, the Amusement Park and the swimming pools and thermal baths. Other highlights included playing games with the children in my father’s village Ivan, sleeping under a feather duvet that must have been about 18 inches thick, and seeing real-life Gypsies.

Are you still friends with any of your friends from high school? How have they changed since then?

Yes!! Eight friends from Silverthorn Collegiate are still a big part of my life – including my husband, Greg! He was part of a group who had known each other for a long time when I first met them in the 11th grade, and I found their honesty, thoughtfulness and sense of fun refreshing.

After high school, life was a whirlwind. It wasn’t always easy to stay connected as we all pursued higher education, started our careers, developed new relationships and handled life’s major milestones but, somehow, we did.

There have been girls’ weekends in Thornbury; group golf weekends at Nottawasaga Inn; and the occasional cottage stay. We’ve held weekly craft nights and, for more than 30 years, the ladies have gathered around a dining table for our annual potluck Christmas dinner, each taking a turn to host. Constant laughter fills the air with this humourous and quick-witted bunch. The lively conversations about wine, family, politics and life in general are entertaining, to say the least, and our time together passes far too quickly.

Have these friends changed over the years? In essence, the characteristics that attracted me to them in high school are the same today but, perhaps, at a slightly higher intensity. The strong ones have grown stronger, more resilient and compassionate because of their personal experiences and because it has always been a part of their nature. John, however, is exceptional. He is the epitome of an intellectual – knowledgeable, talented, creative & passionate – and, he has grown immensely. That said, each one has a long list of admirable qualities and I am lucky and honoured to call them my friends for almost 50 years.

What was your favourite toy as a child?

My favourite toy wasn’t highly desirable or popular amongst my friends nor, was it expensive or fancy but it also didn’t require any batteries. All of its pieces were kept stored in a tall, round can about 4 inches in diameter. It was simply known as ‘Building Bricks’ and it consisted of hundreds of red vinyl bricks (roughly an inch long) plus a few white, hard plastic windows & doors. As is common in most households, when one child becomes sick, the rest do too and I remember, it was this toy that kept us amused most often.

On a sick day, home from school, dressed in our slippers and pajamas and with the bricks dumped on to the floor, we would begin building our one street town. It became clear very quickly, there were not enough bricks to complete multiple buildings so we built their facades only. Once these 2-sided structures lined both sides of the ‘street’, we placed dinky cars on the road, added a few toy figures and other small details to complete our project. For me, it was the process of creating and building that captured my attention with this toy.

Interesting fact: When I recently asked my brother if he remembered playing with the red bricks, he said he did not.

What was your Dad like when you were a child?

My ‘Apu’ (pronounced Awpoo) – Hungarian for ‘dad’ – was a handsome, brave man who had many talents. As a young child, I remember dad being a tough disciplinarian but also the biggest kid around. Someone had told me, he was quite the mischevious child growing up and it never quite left him. I believe that’s what gave him his ‘streetwise’ advantage to his parenting style.

For 13 years beginning in the early 1960’s, we lived in a neighbourhood that had roughly six townhouse complexes and four low-rise apartment buildings. There were a lot of kids living here and often together, we’d take to the open grassy areas to practise our cartwheels, kick the soccer ball or with a larger group, play ‘Capture the Flag’. Sometimes, if it was a really big crowd, my dad would come out to watch or even participate. He sincerely enjoyed interacting with the kids and I think they thought he was pretty cool for taking an interest – I mentally noted that he was the only parent who ever did.

One September, my dad was very specific about the route we were to take to and from school. No problem! Except, dad’s route took us around an unfenced, empty, parcel of land that we could have otherwise, cut across easily to save some time. The property contained no structures to hide in or that would block the view from the road or sidewalk but it was however, filled with 3-foot high mounds of dumped dirt, ashphalt and mixed rubble. It had been that way for so long, noticeable pathways had been formed from the many who had previously walked across it. One afternoon, the three of us decided to take a chance and take the shortcut home. To our surprise, dad was already there when we got home which was unusual in itself but then, he asked, “Which way did you come home?” At this point, I am asking myself, “How did he know?”, “Did he see us?”, “How did we not see him?” or, “Is he just testing?” The one lesson we were taught at a young age, was not to lie. Lying got us into more trouble than anything else and, we believed dad could smell it on us – for he somehow always knew. With fear hanging over our heads, there was only one thing to do, confess the truth. To this day, I cannot tell a lie if my life depended on it!

I was 13 at the time, looking forward to my grade 8 graduation and had already purchased my dress for the occasion when, I happen to be in the car, going somewhere with dad. I was telling him about an earlier conversation I had with my best friend Debbie, on the topic of what we were each wearing to the graduation. Without hesitation, my dad stated wisely, “A woman should never tell another woman what she is going to wear to a fancy affair”. I immediately jumped to Debbie’s defence stating that I trusted her and she wasn’t the sort to purposely try to show me up – besides, neither one of us had the means, even if we wanted to. Whether Debbie’s dress was nicer than mine, I don’t remember but she wasn’t wearing the dress she’d described and that stung, especially, when I brought it up – for in response, she simply smiled. Another lesson learned!

For years without complaint, we had been accepting and wearing hand-me-down clothes received from close family friends. However, that changed later when my sister and I were given several lined, wool pleated skirts with hemlines falling below the knee when, the ‘mini skirt’ was the fashion trend at the time. We were already attending high school when we gave our parents pushback for the ‘out of style’ skirts. To our amazement, Dad offered to shorten them if we agreed to wear them – he clearly understood how important it was to us to fit in. Cutting and hemming must have taken hours as all those pleats required hand stitching – but, we loved the skirts so much, we wore them out.

My dad knew how to play like a kid, repair a car, fix the plumbing, sew, cook and dress with style but what was most special, was dancing the waltz with him – he was so smooth and elegant – I am sure we were floating above the dance floor.

8-What was your favourite children’s story?

As a child, reading was not a priority to me – my parents didn’t read bedtime stories to us and I was happier with active pastimes and ones that involved using my creative instincts. Later, when my daughters Carley and Dayna were born, Robert Munsch’s ‘Love You Forever’ became a favourite. A touching story of a mother’s unconditional love for her son, it reads like a song with a repetitive verse that captures the attention of even the youngest babies. Years later, I loved revisiting it, reading it to my grandchildren, Declan and Neve. Perhaps the illustrations of a boy getting into ‘mischief’ are what make it fun for a range of ages, but it’s the ending that pulls at my heartstrings every time!

As the children got older, I enjoyed introducing them to Dr. Seuss’ books. Quirky and fun, both to read and to listen to, I never seem to tire of them. Later, we added J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ to our list of favourites, entranced by the humorous and suspenseful story and the colourful characters. As a mother/grandmother, I have cherished the times spent sharing these worlds of imagination.

9-Tell me about the first time you got a cellphone?

We were a young, busy family with two toddlers when we decided to purchase our first cell phone in 1989 or so. We were challenged but determined to juggle child care and our jobs without tapping into outside daycare services.

As a police officer, Greg worked a rotation of three shifts every five weeks: days, afternoons and midnights and I worked regular office hours at AECL (Atomic Energy of Canada Limited), when I could. Then, to our surprise, I was approached by HR and my boss with a proposal offering me the flexibility to schedule my hours around Greg’s shifts. This was a tremendous benefit to us!

However, as Greg and I started to work out a schedule, an unexpected concern came to light – there would be times when I’d need to work at night. I would be completely alone inside a large office complex and then be required to cross a dark parking lot to get to my car. This is where the need for a cell phone came in.

Selection was limited and they were all expensive. We purchased the Motorola DynaTAC – also known as the ‘Brick’ because of its shape, weight and size………………..

This was the last unfinished story by Noemi


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