History

Old Funeral Home

The Whattam Funeral Home can trace its roots prior to 1860; exactly how early is hard to determine, but certainly sometime before this date. Ruben Gilbert and his son John purchased the cabinet making and funeral business from James Gillespie Jr. in June of 1860, working out of its existing location at 63 Main St. in Piction. They remained at this location until the construction of their new building at 173 Main St. was completed in 1891. The cabinet and funeral business was relocated to this site and became known as "Gilbert and Lighthall, Cabinet maker and Undertaker". The painted sign on the east side of the building is still visible today.

Lighthall sold his interest in the business in 1901 and the Gilbert family continued to operate from this location while residing at 33 Main St. In 1940 the business was sold to Gordon and Emma Whattam, who in 1950, moved the funeral service portion of the business to the present day location at 33 Main St., where the Gilberts had lived.

In the early fifties, Max Piper, a county boy, became interested in funeral service and went on to become a licensed funeral director and worked with the Whattam family until 1969 when Max and his wife Maude purchased the business from the Whattams. In 1970, a major renovation of the building was made to accomodate a permanent chapel, new lounge, washrooms, preparation and selection rooms along with the addition of more space to the visitation areas. In 1979 Max showed early signs of Alzheimer disease and in 1981 his health was such that the decision to sell the business was inevitable. After many interviews with potential buyers, Max and Maude chose Mark and Wendy Davis to succeed them and the business was sold to them in January of 1983.

Mark, Wendy and their two sons, Christopher and Matthew resided in the apartment over the funeral home until 1985, when plans for many renovations to be completed over the next 15 years were set in place: re-decorating every part of the building, replacement of roofs, electrical, plumbing to the addition of additional office space as well as a reception facility, making the Whattam Funeral Home one of the finest funeral facilities in rural Ontario.