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 continued to work with Dawn at the funeral home until his full retirement in June 2022.