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HEWAT, Betty (Elizabeth) (nee Bessem)


Betty Hewat photo

November 24, 1930 to June 11, 2022

It is with loving hearts we say goodbye to our dear mother. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba to Herman Bessem and Dorothy (Geiss), she was the eldest of six children. With the family she moved to Stratford, then to Guelph, Ontario while her father served in the Dutch army during WWII. The family settled on a farm in Everton as she attended GCVI. She married Ken Hewat at St. James Anglican Church, Guelph, Ontario, and began her married life in Eden Mills where she was a young Women’s Institute leader and where she and Ken began their family of five daughters. They moved back to Guelph where she lived until her last few months of life in care, close to her daughter Diane and family.

Betty was a member of St. George’s Anglican Church where she retired as Church Secretary many years ago. She was devoted to her family and had many lifelong friendships over the years. She was a hard worker and homemaker known for her baking and working with fabric and yarn. She volunteered in all church life activities including Church Warden, Chancel Guild, Chi Rho, and Junior Auxiliary, throughout her life. She hosted family and friends at home gatherings filled with laughter and good food. With young children still at home, she went to college for secretarial studies and out to work to maintain their home until her twin daughters were on their own. She took in boarders over the years, including through the Homewood, nearby. She then moved to a condo on Conroy Crescent where she managed condo matters for 25 years as a volunteer until moving into an apartment in Keith and Darlene’s home. She loved knitting and gifted many baby sets as the family grew, joined the Guelph Embroiders Guild, loved the outdoors, days at the beach, and long drives to vacation with her brothers and sisters. Betty loved to sing, and music was always a part of her life, enjoying opera, jazz and singing along with Mitch Miller. She was proud of her Dutch ancestry and visited her family in the Netherlands as well as kept up correspondence with them. She most especially lit up whenever she saw her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and was joyful at family gatherings. She was a tenacious woman who fought back through many physical challenges and losses in life, and she gave us her all right to the end, saying “I’m 91 you know” when she encountered yet another limitation. She never said goodbye without telling us she loved us, as we loved her.

Those left to mourn are: daughters and very much loved sons-in-law, Anne and Dr. Peter Vaughan, C.M. C.D, Nancy Hewat, Christine and Danny Beauparlant, Darlene and Keith Halliwell, Diane Hewat and Eric Buttrum; Gramma and GG to: Nicole Hewat, Aiden Abram and Nila; Anna Hewat, Aarron Inglis and Greyson and Quinn; Rachel Beauparlant and Erick Gonzalez; Stephanie Beauparlant and Mike Curcio; Adam Beauparlant; Donny and Jaclyn Halliwell and Nora; Becky and Adam Danns and Charlotte and Riley; Cameron Buttrum; Erin Buttrum and Batu Aras. Sister and sister-in-law to: Pieter and Heather Bessem, Janet Bessem, Wilhelmina Bayne, Hermina and Wynne Wright; and loving aunt to the Grainger, Bessem and Leaman families; Faye Widdis, “daughter #1”; Helen Nickason, best friend and maid of honour, Dunbar families of Wynn Schmidt, David Dunbar and Leslie Miles.

Those she mourned in life were many including her parents, brother Nicholas Bessem, sister Sytske Haigh, great-grandchild Boden Danns, brothers-in-law Ron Bayne, Wally Haigh, best friends Wynne and Agnes Dunbar, Lena Dunseith, Jean and Bill Irving, her former husband Ken Hewat, mother-in-law Irene Hewat who shared her home for many years.

Our deepest thanks to the staff at the Elliott Community, particularly the Ellington Residence; Primrose Lane staff at St. Joseph’s Villa in Dundas for their exceptional care of our mother.

Donations in her memory may be made to St. George's Church Guelph, The Elliott Community or the charity of your choice which honours her support for social justice issues.

Cremation has taken place. Friends are invited for a visitation at the St. George’s Anglican Church, 99 Woolwich Street, Guelph on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 from 12-1:30 p.m. A funeral service will be held in the church at 1:30 p.m. Masks are required to attend the visitation and funeral service. Donation cards are available at the Gilbert MacIntyre and Son Funeral Home, Dublin Chapel or online at