McKinlay Funeral Home’s new director a curator of people’s legacies

By: Chatham This Week
Thursday, September 19, 2019

McKinlay Funeral Home’s new director a curator of people’s legacies

The newest funeral director to McKinlay Funeral Homes Ltd. in Chatham brings experience and expertise in several areas to the position.

Jacob Rowe, a funeral director since 2011, was originally interested in the profession because it was so multi-faceted. It incorporates so many different aspects and skills such as helping people, science, creativity, business, and event planning.

Rowe is also a certified funeral celebrant, a non-clergy professional committed to delivering high quality and personal non-denominational funeral ceremonies for those not closely linked to any church or religion.

“I’ve known Jacob for many years and we’re really excited about having him join our team here at McKinlay Funeral Homes,” says Nathan McKinlay, managing funeral director. “He is definitely an asset to the profession.”

Jacob always provides a very personal service, focusing on the person. “He visits families and sits down with them right at their kitchen table in the days prior to the service. He takes the time to listen to the stories their loved ones share about them and get a sense of who they were,” says McKinlay.

Rowe explains his role as a funeral celebrant as listening to legacies. “We are curators of those legacies. We bear the responsibility of ensuring that love, memories and grief are properly acknowledged and revered, as opposed to misplaced.”

He’s quite happy to be a storyteller. “The stories people share are all different, but the underlying emotion is the same. Everyone who comes here is dealing with a common problem known to everyone — death and grief. It’s very rewarding to know that I can help them come through that.”

McKinlay Funeral Homes Ltd. has been providing quality funeral arrangements and services for more than 40 years. Whether you are looking for a more traditional, military or completely modern service, they offer a wide range of personalized services and hosting options.

They also offer pre-planning arrangements so you can make all the decisions ahead of time, relieving the burden from your family at such an emotional time. There is a family care coordinator on staff, and their website offers helpful information such as local florists, frequently asked questions and grief resources.

McKinlay Funeral Homes has always prided themselves on their commitment to serving the families in their community. Since opening in 1993, they have completed many renovations so they can offer amenities such as a children’s playroom, a concierge desk and a donation management station.

Their bright, spacious facilities are fully accessible with a licenced coffee bar, lounge and reception centre on the ground floor. McKinlay’s was one of the first funeral homes in Ontario to obtain a liquor licence to provide a full-service funeral reception on-site.

“We like to think of ourselves as forward-thinking in the funeral profession,” says McKinlay. “Jacob is an advocate for unique, personalized service and part of the reason we are so happy to have him on the team is that he is very innovative and creative.”

Just as the generations differ in every other aspect, they also differ in what they are looking for in a funeral service. Responding to and staying ahead of the changes requires a little innovation on their part.

McKinlay describes Rowe as the ultimate professional, a young man with an old soul, setting up roots in Chatham with a soon-to-be bride. They say his level of professionalism and reputation for personalizing services makes him a natural fit at McKinlay’s. Not only is he well-known in the community, he has been asked to speak at conferences to encourage fellow directors to follow his lead.

“Nathan and I are equally excited about my decision to join his team. Choosing to work with the McKinlay family is the next step to ensuring that my dedication and passion can flourish right here at home,” says Rowe. “The importance of local ownership, perspective and presence can’t be understated. I’m also looking forward to the innovation and nurturing of new ideas to move forward and embrace the changes in our profession.”

Rowe and McKinlay would be happy to answer questions about your options, evolving trends, the ease of transferring prearrangements or Rowe’s new role within the community. Contact them anytime by phone at 519-351-2040 or visit the website

McKinlay Funeral Homes Ltd. is located at 459 St. Clair Street in Chatham and funeral directors are available 24 hours a day. There are also locations at 76 Main St. E., Ridgetown and 141 Park St., Blenheim.

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