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October 6, 2023

Nikki Exel of Lucknow, died Oct. 6, 2023, at the age of 78. Beloved wife of Eric for 59 years. Dear mother of Dave Exel, Sandra and Reid Murray, Bev Exel and Denis Degen, and Lori and Scott MacKinnon. Missed by her grandchildren, Melissa and Brandon Wilhelm, Cameron Exel and Marija Jovanovic, Donelda and Mathew Radojcin, Shania Murray and Daryl Koch, Rachel Clark and Richard Tep, Ryan and Caitlin Clark, Liam MacKinnon, Seamus MacKinnon, and Barbara MacKinnon. Proud great-grandma of Cleo, Henry, and Morgan. Survived by her siblings, Johanna Searle, Janet and Paul Gunter, Gert and Ruth deJong; and brother-in-law, Jim Sutherland. Predeceased by her parents, Gerda and Jelle deJong; grandson, Eric Exel; sister, Syka Sutherland; and brother-in-law, Bill Searle. Nikki was born in Ee, Friesland, Netherlands, Sept. 23, 1945. In 1952, she and her family moved to Canada. When they arrived in their new country the family moved in with her Uncle Tom on a farm in Kinloss Township. Time passed and she grew up loving the life and work on the farm. She worked as a cashier at the Lucknow grocery store before she met and married Eric Exel, Sept. 25, 1964, at the Lucknow Community Christian Reformed Church. The church was an important part of Nikki's life. She was a founding member. During the early years of their marriage, she and Eric lived around Brussels, until April of 1972, when they purchased a dairy farm on the 4th Concession of Kinloss Township, just outside of Whitechurch. Nikki and Eric farmed and raised their family on that farm for 22 years. They moved to the outskirts of Lucknow in 1993. They built their own home throughout the summer of that year and moved in Oct. 3, 1993. After moving to Lucknow from the farm, Nikki took a job at I.C. Greenhouses outside of Ripley and continued to work there until her retirement. In the fall of 2022, she was diagnosed with bile duct cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments in London, but these efforts did not halt the cancer. She succumbed to her illness at Huron Hospice Clinton, Oct. 6, 2023, just after noon, with her daughter, Bev, by her side. During her final days, she was never alone. Her family and the exemplary staff at Huron Hospice cared for her until the end. Visitation will be held Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023, from 6-9 p.m., at the MacKenzie and McCreath Funeral Home, Lucknow. The funeral will be held at the Lucknow Christian Reformed Church, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, at 1 p.m. Interment, South Kinloss Cemetery, Lucknow. Memorial donations to the Lucknow Community Christian Reformed Church or Huron Hospice Bender House, would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.