SOURIS - A long-running funeral home in eastern P.E.I. has a new owner, but will be keeping the same name.
Funeral director Nathaniel Lamoureux, said he also hopes to keep the Dingwell Funeral Home’s positive reputation serving the community of Souris.
Lamoureux, who purchased the home in July, said the establishment has a long history going back to 1912.
“It’s been three generations (in the Dingwell family),” said Lamoureux. “That was one of the first decisions I made, was to keep it as the Dingwell Funeral Home. That’s just out of respect for both the Dingwell family and the community.”
Lamoureux said he and his family, which includes his wife Jill, seven-year-old daughter Jolie and four-year-old daughter Amia, have also felt very welcomed since moving into the community.
The responsibility associated with running the funeral home is something he takes seriously.
“There are a lot of different levels to it. There is a lot of work, and you’re always on call, you’ve got to be committed. It can be taxing, but it’s part of the commitment and comes with the territory,” said Lamoureux, who noted his own family is originally from the Souris area.
“It’s a responsibility that I don’t take lightly because you’re providing a service the community needs… I treat every person as if they were a family member.”
With the job also requiring a large amount of empathy, Lamoureux said his background as a resident care worker, volunteer at the Hillsborough Hospital and employee with Queens County Residential Services helped him learn some of the skills required for the job.
“In a nursing home, you really learn the foundations of taking care of people, helping people who can’t help themselves and looking after people that are very vulnerable,” he said.
Lamoureux later took P.E.I.’s four-month career bridges program, which resulted in him being placed at Belvedere Funeral Home for an eight-week period in 2013 before being offered a full-time job.
He later enrolled in the Canadian College of Funeral Service, with Belvedere Funeral Home providing his sponsorship, before graduating in 2016.
He noted the decision to buy the funeral home wasn’t without some conflicting emotions. He was especially appreciative of the support he got from funeral director Faye Doucette and Shawn MacLean at Belvedere Funeral Home.
“It was a really great opportunity, but at the same time I loved my job at Belvedere… and Faye really invested a lot of time into me,” said Lamoureux.
He noted the two have been extremely supportive, and still offer their guidance to him. Lamoureux also thanked the Souris home’s previous owner, Gary Dingwell, who still provides assistance during funerals.
Lamoureux is likely the youngest funeral director in P.E.I. at 33 years old and may be the first of a new generation of funeral home directors.
Many funeral homes have traditionally seen ownership passed down through family generations.
The Dingwell Funeral Home, for example, was started by William Dingwell before being passed down to Sterling and Leith Dingwell. It was later passed down to Gary Dingwell.
Lamoureux said he was grateful for the opportunity to purchase the funeral home.
“It’s a different generation coming in,” said Lamoureux. “This is an interesting shift in my career, and I take serving the Souris community very seriously, and look forward to continuing the Dingwell tradition of care.”