History of MacLean’s Funeral Home
Jack Waterhouse Era (1922-1957)
Funeral service in the area in 1922 by a pioneer named Jack Waterhouse. Jack had heard through CN Rail that, following fires in the community of Cereal, there was opportunity for new stores in the village. Jack came from Lambton Mills, Ontario and opened a hardware and furniture store, joined shortly thereafter by Mrs. Waterhouse. Jack was very involved in the community, helping to organize community dances, ball team, a gun club, and hockey. Jack was instrumental in developing a water well and source of water for the community and helped get the Cereal hotel up and running which is still operating to this day.
In 1922 Jack attended the Alberta School of Mortuary Science and received his certificate in funeral directing and embalming. As a sign of the times, Jack improvised and made do with limited equipment and supplies. He was able to purchase the first funeral coach in 1946, travelling wherever was needed to make arrangements with families or meet trains passing through town in the middle of night for flowers or supplies.
For many years, Jack worked alone in all aspects of the funeral business, until Tony Klym came and apprenticed with him in 1950. Jack had a great sense of humor and a smile on his face. His final funeral service was for his little grand-daughter in 1957, and he sadly passed away shortly afterwards.
Tony Klym Era (1957-1987)
Tony Klym grew up in Cereal and spend many years living above the bank. He had grown up farming with a strong work ethic. In 1948 Tony married the love of his life Mildred. After completing his apprenticeship with Jack Waterhouse, Tony received his provincial license in 1954 and continued working for the Waterhouse family. With the assistance of another gentleman, Tony began building a funeral home in Oyen in 1959. In 1961, Klym’s Funeral Home and Ambulance was finally finished and open to the public.
In addition to his funeral service duties, Tony operated the ambulance service for the area. He was awarded citizen of the year in 1986. In 1990, Tony was awarded his 40 year award by the funeral association. Unfortunately, ill health became of Tony and in 1987 Keith MacLean was asked to take over all operations.
Keith & Donna MacLean Era (1987-2019)
Keith had started his apprenticeship with Buckley Gregory Funeral Home in Provost. In 1967, Keith received his provincial license as a funeral director and embalmer. He too, assisted in the ambulance service in Provost. Keith was involved in many boards and community events throughout his career, including serving as the deputy registrar for vital statistics in the Provost district. He was a director for
minor ball, chairman for the town’s recreation board, and filled many positions with the Kinsmen club. He was active with the Alberta Funeral Service Association, serving on the certification committee from 1971 to 1973, and for embalmer licensing 1971 to 1972.
In 1987, Keith came to Oyen to assist Tony with the operating of Kylm’s Funeral Home. In August 1987, Keith, Donna and family make the move and took over ownership of the funeral home, now operating as MacLean’s Funeral Home. Many improvements were made by Keith to the funeral home including expanding buildings, adding a garage, and a green space.
Keith and Donna provided excellent service to the community for over 32 years, and in 2019 Keith was recognized and awarded the Robert Snodgrass award during the funeral associations annual conference. The award is of the highest degree and is awarded to one individual annually who exemplifies the standards within the funeral service association and the community. Keith received the honor to a standing ovation.
Retirement had been on the mind for a few years, and in July 2019 Keith and Donna were able to make that dream a reality.
Koehli & Muzyka Families (2019 to current)
Ryan and Brooke (Muzyka) Koehli along with the Muzyka family decided to take over MacLean’s Funeral Home in July of 2019 following many conversations with Keith and Donna. Both Brooke and the Muzyka family, local to the Cereal district, are involved in many community events and groups in the Cereal, Acadia Valley, and Oyen areas. Ryan had previously assisted friends and colleagues in the industry as a casual funeral attendant for several years in central Alberta. Working with an excellent group of committed staff, Ryan and Brooke are looking forward to keeping MacLean’s Funeral Home in the community. The group strives to provide excellent rural service while supporting the community as best they can.