You are here


Sherry Lee VanHeyst (nee Olsen) passed away peacefully at her home with her family by her side in Guelph, Ont. on Friday, Sept. 2, 2011 after a two and-a-half year battle with cancer.

Sherry was born on Feb. 5, 1958 in Emo, Ont. where she grew up and spent her childhood years, attending Donald Young School and High School in Fort Frances.

She moved to Atikokan where she worked for Plus-Wood for several years and later at the library in Atikokan High School. Sherry then moved back to Fort Frances and worked as a librarian at the Westfort High School.

Sherry then pursued a nursing career, and worked as a nurse at La Verendrye Hospital in Fort Frances for over 10 years. All of her patients and co-workers knew her for her warm heart and large smile.

Sherry loved to read ; she was also very competive and enjoyed playing games. She also loved to talk and had a great sense of humor.

On Sept. 5, 1998 Sherry was united in marriage to Karl VanHeyst, and they resided on the farm in Mather Township, north of Barwick.

Sherry opened a business “Mather Creek Antiques & Collectibles.” She enjoyed going to auctions and flea markets hunting for treasures for her store and online business.

Sherry and her husband moved to Guelph in 2004, where Sherry continued a successful online business, selling antiques and collectables all over the world until her illness did not allow her to continue.

She also enjoyed going to live theatre and shows in Toronto and Niagara-on the -Lake.

Sherry enjoyed traveling and vacationing in warm locations each winter with her husband, Karl; she loved the warm sandy beaches, the ocean and palm trees.

She also enjoyed spending time with family at her parents’ cabin on Clearwater Lake in the summer.

One of Sherry’s last wishes was to see the water one last time before she passed away, which she was able to do; it brought her great joy and peace.

While at the lake only days before she died, she commented that sitting in front of a body of water and listening to the sound of water was like being in heaven.

Her unfailing optimism and positive attitude were a inspiration to her family. Even though the last couple of years where difficult, whenever she was asked how she was doing she would never complain.

Family was very important to Sherry. She enjoyed visiting, entertaining. She especially loved playing with and spoiling her grandsons, Cohen and Griffin.

Sherry will be remembered as a loving and supportive wife, a nurturing caring mother, grandmother; a wonderful daughter and daughter-in-law. Sherry and her mother were great friends. She will be dearly missed by her family and friends.

Sherry was predeceased by her brother, Ronald Olsen.

She leaves to mourn her loving husband, Karl VanHeyst; daughter, Noelle Strain, son-in-law, Joel Strain, and grandsons, Cohen and Griffin; son, Bradley Beninger; stepdaughter, Carrie Sarlo and her husband, Dustin; stepson, Andrew VanHeyst; step-granddaughter, Payson; stepson, Tylor VanHeyst; parents, Arthur and Ida Olsen; sister, Tammy Snelgrove and her husband, Rod, nephew, Michael, and niece, Cassandra; sister-in-law, Carol Olsen, nephews, Aaron, Tyler, and Tanner, and niece, Bobbi-Lynn Olsen; in-laws, Peter and Leona VanHeyst; and many relatives including uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, and friends.

A family memorial service was held at the New Life Christian Reformed Church in Guelph, Ont. on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011.

In lieu of flowers please donate to the Canadian Cancer Society or a charity of choice.

Husband Karl can be contacted via email at: