CHALONER, Richard Frederick

November 5, 1933 - April 13, 2024

Richard passed away at Riverside Glen in Guelph, Ontario with his wife and best friend Norah and sons David and Peter beside him. He was predeceased by sisters, Dorothy Owen, in 2016 and Ida Chaloner in 2019. Lovingly remembered by his wife, Norah (nee McCleary), sons David (Gaddah) and Peter (Cindy) and their extended families. A kind and loving husband and father, Richard will be dearly missed by all who knew him. Richard’s great grandfather Richard Challoner emigrated from Wales in 1843 and was a blacksmith/poet in Puslinch before settling in the wilderness of what was to become Mount Forest. Richard’s parents, Fred and Kate Chaloner homesteaded in the prairies. After serving in WW1, Fred took up home decorating and moved with daughters, Ida and Dorothy to Burlington, Ontario where Richard was born and enjoyed an enthusiastic boyhood. In 1955, the family sold their home to buy a small family resort, Pow-Wow Point Lodge, in Muskoka which they ran until 1969. While Richard was attending university, he joined them during the summers to run the lodge. Following studies at McMaster, Richard attended University of Toronto School of Law, graduating in 1959. There he met Norah McCleary (a nurse at Hospital for Sick Children) who had already been accepted into the University of Toronto public health nursing program. They married in December 1961. He fit into the McCleary family with gusto. Five more siblings, he laughed. Dr. Paul McCleary (Heather), David McCleary (Nancy), Nancy Waxl (Hermann), Margaret Goodchild (Jim), Mary Ann Rychlo (Mike) made great memories with Richard as the weekend goat farmer and the April Fool’s Day prankster. They enjoyed countless reunions and shenanigans with cousins, nieces, nephews and grandchildren. After a particularly memorable trip to Wales, they purchased a farm in Eramosa township. It was here that they raised their boys from 1969 to 1978, along with goats, etc. Hence, the weekend goat farmer’s label was assigned. Richard’s career in public service began when small town influences lured him to Barrie, Ontario. In 1963 he joined the Crown Attorney’s office for Barrie and Simcoe County and was invited to become the first full time Crown Attorney in Guelph and Wellington County in 1967. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1974, Director of Crown Attorneys for Ontario in 1983, Assistant Deputy Attorney General (Criminal Law) in 1985 and Deputy Attorney General in 1986. He was proud of his work under Attorneys General Roy McMurtry, Ian Scott and Howard Hampton. He believed he had the best colleagues imaginable as they worked together on changes for the public good including law reform, victim/witness assistance and support and custody orders enforcement. He retired in 1991. During his lifetime he enjoyed many roles. He had a constant belief in the power of volunteer work for community building. In 1967 he gathered others to initiate the Guelph and Wellington Big Brothers Association and volunteered with the YM/YWCA in Barrie and Guelph. In retirement, he went back to taking up volunteer work with Big Brothers, Council of Canadians, Fair Vote Ontario, Yorklands Green Hub, Stonehenge Therapeutic Community and causes related to nature, water and public goods. The family is grateful for the exceptional care from all staff and his friends at the Riverside Glen in Guelph. Richard felt that one of the best ways to build a better world is through grassroots efforts, being informed and finding ways to strengthen your local community. In lieu of donations or flowers, Richard would have wanted you to simply be involved in your community and take volunteerism seriously, according to your interests and talents. And maybe give your favourite dog a pat for him. Condolences may be left online at

Share Condolences