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McCulloch-Watson Funeral Home Ltd. Life - A Celebration
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History
:: Staff Bios

Horse Drawn Hearse dating back to the late 1800’s

Horse Drawn Hearse dating back to the late 1800’s. Dawn purchased the hearse in 2006 and while it needs some restoration work she entered it in the 150th Durham Fall Fair Parade, September 2008.

Once restoration work is complete it will be available to the families she serves.

The Funeral Business has seen many changes over the years. Prior to having an actual “Funeral Home”, caskets were built at the local furniture store, visitations were held in the homes of the deceased and funeral services were also held in the homes or local churches.

In 1947, Mr. Harry Kress, one of the local Funeral Directors (then known as “Undertakers”) purchased this existing building—a beautiful old home with front steps and wrap-around porch. Harry and his wife Stella renovated and decorated in subdued colours and the atmosphere was one of sorrow and whispers. Funerals were attended mainly by adults who tried to shield children from the pain of participation. Over the years this has slowly changed where all ages are encouraged to participate--sharing in the memories, celebrating the life of the deceased and supporting the grieving families. All ages come together— with their laughter and tears sharing photos and the memorabilia of a loved one.

John McCulloch graduated from the Canadian School of Embalming in September ’68 and purchased the Kress Funeral Home in July 1969 at the age of 21. At that time the furniture store was also a part of the business. John had only an embalmer’s license but once he became the managing director, the Board of Funeral Service issued him a Funeral Director’s license as well.

John later married Patti Crow in 1970 and they raised their three children in the upstairs apartment of the funeral home. John and Patti made many changes at the Funeral Home during their 33 years of ownership. Together, they recall when the original funeral home could seat only 60 people and so when the downstairs was filled, folks came upstairs and sat in their apartment for the services.

Four years after purchasing the business, the name was changed to Kress McCulloch Funeral Home.

In 1977 an addition was added to the front of the building. It increased the seating capacity, enclosed the steps making them safer in inclement weather, allowed more space for the arrangement office and they also added two washrooms. In the basement, a new selection room made choices easier for grieving families. Charles Brown, the contractor, worked from drawings designed by John and Patti who tried to maintain as much of the original building as was possible. The brick wall and the oval beveled glass window in the entrance are both reminders of days gone by. The beautiful window on the north side was rescued from its hiding place behind cardboard and the beveled glass window at the front was used in the new construction as well. At this time the name was changed to McCulloch Funeral Home.

In 1989 a 2 vehicle garage and handicapped entrance was attached at the back. This project also added more space to the residence and included a family room where the children could entertain friends and make a little more noise.

In 1990 a new visitation room was built on the south side of the funeral home. This room can also be used for additional seating for funeral services. It has a closed circuit television system allowing those to view the funeral service.

Outside, many things have changed as well. At the back of the building, the family yard and huge maples were replaced with the existing parking lot—first gravel, then pavement, and the front yard has seen different faces over the years.

On September 10th, 2002, Dawn Watson purchased the business from John and Patti. At this time the name changed to McCulloch-Watson Funeral Home Ltd. John continues to work with Dawn at the funeral home.

Dawn Watson - Owner, Managing Funeral Director
Dawn Watson

Dawn grew up on her parent’s farm near Priceville, where they raised beef cattle and Canadian Sport Horses. She attended MacPhail Memorial Elementary School in Flesherton and then Grey Highlands Secondary School. During her high school years, she was actively involved in the school’s activity council and later became President of the council.

Dawn attended Humber College in the Funeral Service Education program and graduated with honors in 2000. Her apprenticeship placement was at the G.H. Hogle Funeral Home in Etobicoke and she continued to work there as a licensed Funeral Director until she had the opportunity to move back home and work at the Breckenridge-Ashcroft Funeral Home in Owen Sound. Then in September of 2002 she became the proud owner of her own funeral home.

Since purchasing the Funeral Home, Dawn has made many changes to the interior, striving to make the décor warm and comfortable.

Dawn is actively involved in the community and in her profession. She is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Georgian Bay Funeral Service Association and has also served this association as President and Vice President, she is a Past President of West Grey - Durham Lions Club and is co-chair of the Durham Loves Canada event that is hosted annually by the West Grey - Durham Lions Club, in 2010/11 she served as 39 West Zone Chair for District A9 Lions Club, she is a director on the Durham Agricultural Society and she is also involved with the Owen Sound Extreme Ringette executive and is an assistant coach for the U14 team. She has also been involved with the Ontario Funeral Service Association, the Durham Business Improvement Area and was treasurer of the Durham Presbyterian Church.

In October of 2010 she married Chris McNab. Chris is also involved in the community and assists with various duties at the Funeral Home. Together, Dawn and Chris, take pride in serving the town of Durham and surrounding communities with care and compassion.

 

Kress Funeral Home

Kress Funeral Home

Kress Funeral Home
Kress Funeral Home

McCulloch Funeral Home

McCulloch Funeral Home

McCulloch Funeral Home
McCulloch-Watson Funeral Home