Our Story - The History Gilchrist Chapel
Established in 1932 by Elmer F. McIntyre at 100 Woolwich Street, opposite St. George's Anglican Church, our firm moved to its present location at the corner of Delhi Street and Eramosa Road in the early 1940s. As an ambulance service was also part of the business – common for funeral homes at that time – the new location near the Guelph General Hospital was particularly convenient.
Built in the early 1890's by C.W. Kelly, a well-known Guelph music store owner, our distinctive building was originally a private home. Over the years the growth of the business has necessitated the expansion and renovation of the property. Harry W. Wilkie was responsible for many of the early changes.
Joining the firm following his wartime service in the Royal Canadian Air Force, Mr. Wilkie, renowned for his attention to detail, became a partner in the business and then sole owner. The original Kelly home had already seen the addition of garages and a selection room but in 1958 a need for more space brought about a large addition, planned and coordinated by Harry Wilkie. It was also during his era that the two homes were built on the property.
In 1974 Donald W. Campbell succeeded Mr. Wilkie. A respected professional remembered for his caring manner, he moved his family to the Royal City upon purchasing the business. Unfortunately his tenure would be cut short by illness.
A few months before Mr. Campbell fell ill in 1981, Douglas P.A. Gilchrist joined the firm as a funeral director. Named Managing Director in 1981, Doug Gilchrist along with Karen Gilchrist would purchase the business in 1985. Under their guidance the firm would continue to grow and expand its facilities. A large chapel with a private family room was one of the first changes. Additional visitation and lounge space would follow along with an elevator to make the building more accessible. A convenient on-site reception facility and expanded parking are the most recent enhancements.
In 2011 with the owners considering retirement a senior member of the staff once again stepped up to ownership. Cameron (Cam) Skipper, a Guelph native, who had joined the company in 1985, took over the reins. Having grown up in a funeral service family - his parents Nancy and Jack Skipper owned the Skipper O’Drowsky Funeral Home on Waterloo Avenue in Guelph – and with more than 25 years experience as a senior funeral director with the firm, Cam Skipper was a natural fit for the role. Proud to be the latest in a long line of local owner-managers, Cam is looking forward to carrying on the tradition of service that has been handed down from each of his predecessors from Elmer McIntyre on.