Former employee returns to Chapel of Memories in High Prairie, AB

High Prairie Chapel of Memories is happy to welcome back former long time employee Dean Haubrich to its team, to help families navigate a difficult time after losing a loved one.

“The funeral industry affords me the opportunity to care for both the deceased and their family at a most vulnerable time,” says Haubrich, who started work Jan. 16.

“It requires one to be empathetic, authentic, and caring. It is a responsibility that I do not take lightly,” he adds.

Haubrich initially moved to High Prairie in 1988 and worked at Chapel of Memories until February 2004. He then moved to the Drayton Valley area in 2004 to continue working in the industry and to raise his three daughters until they transitioned to post-secondary education in Edmonton.

“I was a relatively young funeral professional back in 1988 when the owner and mentor Vern Weber presented me with the opportunity to move to High Prairie and cut my teeth in the Peace Country,” Haubrich says.

“I learned and grew in the communities of High Prairie, Valleyview, Slave Lake and the rural communities in-between. The people here are wonderful, and it was my pleasure to serve them, as it will be again.”

Haubrich was born and raised in Southern Saskatchewan and graduated high school in 1981. Three days after graduating, he said he moved to Maple Creek, SK to assume the role of apprentice director/embalmer at Binkley’s Funeral Home.

“The most important part of working in the industry is ensuring that you have done your best to serve the needs of families to the best of your ability,” Haubrich explains, noting he’s excited to fill a more supportive role in his newly-reclaimed position in High Prairie.

“I will be here simply to care for the families who entrust us with their loved ones. Attention to detail is ultimately the key.”

Chapel of Memories owner Remi Tardif says the High Prairie branch was started by a young apprentice named Roger Winnicky (and eventually his spouse Dee Vanderaegan) over 60 years ago. Tardif explains Winnicky absorbed the established funeral firm he had studied under, then called Griep & Humphreys.

Chapel of Memories has five locations in the Peace Country: High Prairie, Valleyview, Peace River, Slave Lake and Fairview.

Tardif explains each Chapel is uniquely equipped with a morgue, a sanctuary for congregating, historical records, and connection with its surrounding community. He says having Haubrich back in the High Prairie location is a blessing both to his business and the community.

“In funeral work, families gravitate to personable and recognizable people who are helping them,” says Tardif.

“Dean is someone who is easily recognizable and personable. His return ties the tireless commitment of Chapel of Memories under Roger and Vern (and Dean’s own local attachment) to today’s high standard of funeral service.”

Tardif explains Chapel coordinates with dozens of cemeteries in the Peace Country, numerous hospitals and transportations to synchronize loved ones’ transfers into the Chapel’s care in a timely fashion. Having quality employees to help with all these transitions is vital, not only for the Chapel but also the family’s experiencing grief.

“Quality employees are always sought after, both in the funeral industry and pretty much every other industry,” explains Tardif.

“Quality means candidates are willing to sacrifice, such as working Christmas Eve on-call to drive on blizzard winter highways to pick up a loved one who has died suddenly. We give up numerous Saturdays as many families only have the weekend to return home for funerals, and one must be able to handle the emotional (grieving families), physical, and psychological needs given the demand of the business.”

Tardif says Chapel of Memories is happy to have Haubrich back and the group will continue to provide service to the community.

“Most people get into the industry, having been helped by a funeral home/funeral director at some point in their lives, it’s a common statement that I hear often,” says Tardif.

“I am phenomenally proud of Chapel and the beautiful souls who contribute to helping the families who’ve lost a soul of theirs’,” he concludes.

Emily Plihal Local Journalism Initiative Reporter - South Peace News -

Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, South Peace News