More than a Century of Service
In 1875, Robert Helstrop opened the doors to R. Helstrop Furniture and Undertaking in the bustling town of Meaford. In the ensuing years, that business has evolved with changing times and changed locations. But today, at Ferguson Funeral Home, Kevin Almond, a descendant of Robert Helstop, carries on the tradition of caring service that began more than a century ago.
Back in the 1870s, the business was situated on the west side of Seymour Street (now known as Sykes Street) just south of the bridge.
Until 1925 the business was carried on by Robert’s son, Alfred E. Helstrop — or “Pikey”, as he was known to most in the community. During the next decade and a half, a number of gentlemen operated the business, including Messrs. Norque Young, J.W. Horsley, Bumstead, Findlay and Miller, and T.W. Findlay.
Then, in 1941, G. Donald Ferguson purchased the business, rechristening it Ferguson Funeral Chapel. When Don’s brother, Arthur, partnered with him after WWII, the firm expanded as Ferguson Brothers Funeral and Ambulance Service.
In 1963 the business relocated to its present location at 48 Boucher Street East, the former George C. Albery residence, and became Ferguson Funeral Home Inc.
Both Don and Art died in 1982, and Don’s son Allan (or “Gus”) assumed ownership and directorship of the firm. A couple of years later, he acquired Mayer Funeral Home in the neighbouring Beaver Valley community of Thornbury, which continued to operate until April, 2019 as Ferguson Funeral Home (The Valley Chapel).
The Circle of Service Continues
Allan was assisted by Funeral Directors Shawn Smithson and Kevin Almond – a great-great nephew of Alfred E. Helstrop, and when Allan died in 2000, Kevin acquired Ferguson Funeral Home.
The dignified service established by the Helstrop family in 1875, and carried on with compassion by the Ferguson family since 1941, continues. Kevin’s daughter, Johanna Hayward, graduated with Distinction from Humber College and obtained her Ontario Funeral Director’s License in July 2007, before joining Kevin in the family practice to provide service with sincerity to all in the community.