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"A Century of Service and Beyond
in the Beaver Valley"

As in many rural communities, funeral service over the past century evolved from the harness making, livery and furniture businesses which provided product and supplies to the local undertakers’ and their funeral establishments.

During the 1870’s, Mr. T.G. Idle, an early undertaker of the region, was assisted in his trade by George Reekie, one of the earliest settlers of Collingwood Township, a renowned carriage maker from the neighbouring community of Heathcote, known then as Williamstown. Mr. Reekie later became the principal operator of the undertaking business and was assisted by his son Walter Reekie who carried on the business in Thornbury.

D. J. “Jim” Davidson purchased the Reekie business in the 1940’s providing both the funeral parlour and a furniture and flooring shop on Bruce Street in the village of Thornbury before his retirement after some three decades of service to the community. The funeral business was purchased by Ernest Stanley Mayer in 1972 who relocated the business from its main street location to its present location at 20 Alice St. E., Thornbury and continued service in the community as the Mayer Funeral Home.

The home was one of several fine homes known locally as a “Pedwell residence” constructed in the Victorian style popular at the turn of the 20th century. Mrs. Frank Hartman sold the home to Ivan Brown and his wife Jean in the late 1940’s where they raised their family and entertained in the grand old brick home. The Pedwell brothers were well respected for the construction of this and several other homes in the area. Known for the craftsmanship and features including a ‘widow’s walk’, turrets, stone sills and lintels, grand upper and lower verandahs, leaded, stained and bevelled glass windows, pocket doors, ornate millwork and beautiful hardwood trim, the home lent itself well to its conversion from a gracious family home providing the warmth and spacious comfort of the funeral operations in a homelike surrounding. With the conversion of the main floor and lower level of the home to accommodate the funeral home, the Mayer family resided in the home’s second and third storeys.

In 1984 the home and funeral service operation was acquired by Allan “Gus” Ferguson, owner of Ferguson Funeral Home Inc. in the neighbouring town of Meaford, and shortly thereafter began providing service in the Beaver Valley area as Ferguson Funeral Home (The Valley Chapel) Ltd.

Following Allan’s unexpected death in 2000 the businesses were acquired by Kevin Frederick Almond, a licensed funeral director since 1979 who, since 1987, had worked with Allan Arthur Ferguson and Shawn Michael Smithson, a licensed funeral director with the firm since 1981 and Managing Director of the Valley Chapel.

Ferguson Funeral Home (The Valley Chapel) Ltd. continues to serve families in the area with Shawn Smithson continuing in his role in the Thornbury location while Kevin Almond continues as the Managing Director in the Meaford location. They are capably assisted by Kevin’s daughter, Johanna B. Hayward, who obtained her funeral director’s license in 2007.

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