Clifford John (CJ) Rhamey

June 13, 2018 20 Condolences Print Obituary Send Flowers

August 25, 1957 to June 11, 2018

CJ started his life journey in 1957 and grew up in New Liskeard, Ontario. He was an active Boy Scout and possessed a passion for learning and self-improvement. These characteristics, along with a high level of initiative, a strong work ethic, perseverance and an ability to get along well with others, resulted in his success in developing personal and business relationships based on trust, loyalty and respect. As a child and as a young adult, CJ struggled with speech disfluencies. He worked diligently throughout his adult life to improve his public speaking abilities by using new speaking skillsets he learned in 1982 from an intensive three-week speech therapy program, which was offered by the Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research (ISTAR) at the University of Alberta (U of A), by being an active Toastmaster, and by making a concerted effort to verbally articulate his views without disfluencies when talking with his family and friends.

CJ completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Carleton University in Ottawa. Upon graduation in 1981, he moved to Edmonton and worked for Syncrude Canada as a junior internal auditor. In 1984, he joined the Government of Alberta (GOA) and began his 25+ year finance career as a public servant in various GOA ministries. In 1992, he earned his Certified General Accountant’s (CGA) designation. His career focus was on government programming and budget management which led, in 1995, to his becoming the Senior Manager, Financial Planning, Correctional Services Division, with the Alberta Solicitor General and Public Security Ministry, where he was responsible for the financial administration of the Alberta Adult and Young Offender Centres. In 2005, CJ undertook the Senior Advisor role for Financial Reporting and Operations for the Ministry’s Corporate Services Division. In 2008, he left the Ministry and advanced to the position of Director, Election Finances, Office of the Chief Electoral Officer. In this role, he was responsible for the financial reporting of political parties, candidates, and constituency associations and for the Office’s budget management and for the financial operating/reporting of a general election. Throughout his public service career, in an efficient and effective manner, CJ ensured strong administrative practices were maintained to achieve desired results both for on-going government program services and for new initiatives, to facilitate accountability and financial stewardship of public funds.

In 2012, CJ was diagnosed with cancer which necessitated a career end and the commencement of an extensive treatment/recovery period. During this period, CJ believed he had three major blessings to help him with his new challenges. First, he met Adele Lewchuk, his companion, who brought much joy and purpose into his life. As well, she became his regular bridge partner. Second, his mother (predeceased), his sisters, his many bridge friends at the Edmonton Bridge Centre, and his many non-bridge-playing friends all provided much needed support. Third, CJ enjoyed the company of his dog, Max, whom he adopted in 2013 from the Edmonton Humane Society, but CJ often wondered who was truly being rescued.

CJ had a “make the most of what you have to work with” philosophy, adopted a life attitude of gratitude, and maintained a positive and optimistic outlook in all his undertakings. His resilience in body, mind and spirit enabled him to often exceed likely outcomes. CJ’s favourite memories, activities, and interests included going on holidays with his children, Paul and Emma, to Disneyland in 2008 and going on numerous camping trips to Alberta’s provincial parks, Jasper, and Banff; reading bridge books and other books authored by Jeffery Archer (e.g. Clifton Cornicles) and Linwood Barclay (e.g. No Time for Goodbye); listening to “classic rock” music from the 70’s to the 90’s; volunteering for numerous not-for-profit organizations in leadership and/or in worker-bee positions; enjoying a variety of movies (e.g. comedy, family, action, and the odd “chick flick”); taking a boat ride with Adele on the “Maid of the Mist” in Niagara Falls, Ontario; walking with Max at the local dog park; as well as attending many bridge tournaments with Adele in several provinces, California and Bermuda. In November 2017, CJ earned his Life Master bridge designation. CJ especially enjoyed the Christmas season, embraced the cold of the winter, and the beauty of freshly fallen snow. Summer was his time to focus on gardening and relaxing around the house. CJ exercised regularly to keep fit. He was very proud of his 100+ blood donations to help others in need. He really enjoyed hosting his family and friends for various gatherings throughout the year and he often surprised them with his cooking and dessert making abilities. Dinner ranged from a hot dog over an open fire to a full turkey dinner, with all the trimmings, followed with a piece of home-made apple pie.

CJ lost his battle with Cancer on June 11, 2018. Left to cherish his life are his companion, Adele Lewchuk; his sisters, Mary Wochesen (Paul), Jean Rhamey, and Anne Silverthorn (Jim); his nieces, Andra Wochesen (Tom), Tara Wochesen, Melanie Lazaris (Louis), Jessica Zhi (Zhu); and his children, Paul Rhamey and Emma Rhamey. They, along with his bridge and non-bridge playing friends, and his past colleagues, have many fond memories of CJ and will value his contributions to their lives. CJ had a life well lived.

The family would like to acknowledge the excellent care CJ received from the following: Dr. Hadi Seikaly, Dr. Nabil Rizk, and the staff at the U of A Hospital, Dr. John Walker, Dr. Brock Debenham, and the staff and volunteers at The Cross Cancer Institute, Dr. Trent Dusang, and the staff at Strathcona County Home Care.

Following his cremation, a celebration of CJ’s life will take place at Sherwood Park United Church in Sherwood Park on Saturday, June 23, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. Interment will take place at a later date at Hutcheson Memorial Cemetery, Huntsville, Ontario.

Memorial donations may be made to the Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research (ISTAR) online at, or to the Edmonton Humane Society online at, or to a charity of your choice.

“Remember to Believe – to think and act as all is possible in life”

  1. I remember Cliff fondly from high school.

  2. I am so saddened to hear of CJ’s passing. Hopefully Adele, Paul and Emma, Jean, Anne, Mary and the rest of the family and loved ones will find great comfort in CJ’s remarkable life and achievements.

    For all who have faced disability or feelings of inequity CJ’s life is proof that these challenges can make one stronger and that ‘believing’ is everything.

    A beautiful legacy. ?

  3. I was so sorry to hear about CJ’s passing my condolences to all his family. I worked in Correctional Services for a number of years and CJ was my boss. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him and I was saddened to hear about his passing.

  4. CJ was a wonderful person and a great boss. He always supported his employees and had their back. I will miss his presence and positive attitude. My condolences to his Adele, children, family and many many friends.

  5. I was immensely saddened by the loss of this beautiful soul. CJ suffered greatly with his illness and showed immense strength throughout. He was a wonderful friend to all whom he knew and always sensitive to their needs.

    I and many will miss him.

  6. CJ was an inspiration as he fought a valiant battle with optimism and courage! CJ will be missed at the Bridge table. Condolences Adele and to CJ’s children, Paul and Emma, and family.

  7. I remember CJ as Cliffie, a gentle, sensitive
    cousin we saw once a year at the cottage. But I don’t remember any speech difficulties ar all! I like to think it was because he had so much fun with the four wild cousins and two neighbour boys that he just relaxed and had fun.
    Cousin Sarah Rhamey.

  8. Dear Adele,
    I am in Ontario and just today heard of CJ’s death. I feel so fortunate to have met CJ through the bridge community. Through his suffering and your companionship, you both radiated hope, humour and steadfastness.
    He was a keen competitor and reminded all of us to live each day to the fullest. A remarkable legacy indeed.
    I will miss the memorial and am saddened by that, but please know that I hold you in my thoughts and prayers,
    Fondly, Sue Burns

  9. What a bridge player he was. The angels will have a few things to learn from this master. I always admired your self determination.

    I will be unable to attend the service Adele as I am on the island of Nevis
    In the Caribbean until the end of July.

  10. Back at the beginning of CJ’s bridge career, he organized a game at the old Edmonton General Hospital, where his friend Doug was recuperating. Micky, Doug, CJ and I had a really fun evening playing our beginner brand of bridge and having lots of laughs. CJ had a very big heart and a very brave soul. Rest in peace my friend.

  11. I am saddened to hear of CJ’s passing. I met CJ at the Edmonton Bridge Club and played with him on several occasions. He always had an upbeat attitude and friendly manner.

  12. CJ, in the face of adversity, made a commitment to make the most of each and every day. He was an inspiration to us all. Adele, what a blessing you were to CJ. Thank you for all that you did for him. Ray and I offer our deepest and sincere condolences.

  13. It is with great sadness to learn of the passing of CJ. He fought a courageous battle and role model optimistic by living life one day at a time. In the early days of learning bridge he and Adele were always willing to teach and give guidance which was always in a kind and respectful way. My condolences to Adele, CJ’s children and his family.

  14. My condolences to Adele and CJ’s family.

  15. Cliff and I had a membership at Breault’s swimming pool in grade 13 during the winter. We spent a few hours hours talking in the sauna. Cliff was a very quiet polite guy.

  16. Uncle Cliff, you will be missed. Uncle cliff was always so wonderful to me and supportive in all the life decisions I was making. I will always remember his unique laugh, all the advice given to me over the years, and of course, the newsletters and long emails! I am truly grateful that there will be no more pain or suffering. Never saw a more graceful fighter. Thank you Adele for always being there.

  17. In 1975 we won an Open Swiss teams in North Bay. Cliff said he had just crossed one thing off his “Bucket list”. I am happy he had a great life and maybe crossed off all the others. He was a great kid and my children had a special name they called him. Doug and Barb Martin, New Liskeard.

  18. CJ was a colleague of mine from Correctional Services. He was a very loyal and hard working guy who took great pride in every detail of the financial services he so capably provided for the division and for the Branch Heads of that organization. I missed him very much when he moved on but was glad to be able to see him once in a while, as we both resided in Sherwood Park. I attended his celebration of life service this morning and thought it reflected the CJ I knew very well. It was also nice to see that he had made so many wonderful new friends in the last few years of his life. I will always remember him very fondly. RIP, CJ.

  19. So sorry to have missed CJ’s service of remembrance. I was out of town and out of connection with technology. I so admired his courage and determination. He showed us how to live in the moment and enjoy the thrill of competing at the bridge table. I appreciated his sense of fairness and his commitment to doing the right thing. I will miss him and send my deepest sympathy to you Adele and to his family.

  20. My sincerest condolence to the family, and to Adele in particular. I’m so sorry that I have missed you and thank you for stopping by.

    CJ was someone from whom I have and will continue to learn. His words hang framed, above my desk. His perseverance, kindness, and joie de vivre will always be a source of inspiration for me. He was a truly special person and I am grateful to have known him.

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