Gilchrist Chapel becomes Brombal Funeral Home & Cremation Care

Guelph’s longest serving funeral home has a new name

2023 has been a busy year for Dean Brombal. After amassing more than 25 years’ professional experience in funeral homes around southern Ontario, the veteran funeral director came home to Guelph in February to become the President and Managing Director at Gilchrist Chapel on Delhi Street. Retiring owner Cam Skipper was looking to pass the torch and Dean was ready to take on the challenge of owning his own business.

While his first few months have been hectic – like most small business owners he splits his time between management functions and the front lines, as a working funeral director – Brombal is settling in to his new role and ready to take the next step; putting his mark, and his name, on the business. 

Effective Friday, July 7 Gilchrist Chapel – McIntyre & Wilkie Funeral Home will become Brombal Funeral Home & Cremation Care.

“I feel it’s important to be transparent about who owns the business but I really hope this signals my commitment to the community as well,” said Brombal. “I’ve advanced my career by moving from position to position – including an early stint here at Gilchrist’s – but now I’m home and I’m here to stay.”

The funeral home has changed hands, and names, a number of times since Elmer McIntyre first opened the doors in 1932 but it has remained a private local business throughout it’s history. Harry Wilkie would join and then succeed McIntyre and add his name. Donald Campbell would be the next owner but ill health shortened his tenure. Doug Gilchrist would take over and add his name to the roster before handing the reins to Cam Skipper.

Originally established at 100 Woolwich Street, opposite St. George's Anglican Church, the funeral home has operated at its present location at the corner of Delhi Street and Eramosa Road since the early 1940s.

Dean Brombal is quick to point out that the change is about looking to the future but not forgetting the past. “We will always be mindful of, and grateful for, those who came before and we will preserve those names as we go forward.”

“It has been my honour to inherit the legacy of independent professional service provided for generations by the McIntyre, Wilkie, Campbell, Gilchrist & Skipper families.

Born and raised in Guelph, where his family has long been associated with the fashion business, Dean Brombal pursued a childhood interest in funeral service into a high school co-op placement with a local funeral home and eventually to Humber College, before becoming a licensed funeral director in 1996. A graduate of Bishop Macdonell High School in Guelph – where he met his wife Lynn (Uliana) – Brombal holds a BA (Economics) from Wilfrid Laurier University. 

Those with preplanned arrangements, service guarantees and funding plans in place at Gilchrist Chapel may rest assured that their arrangements remain current and secure. Neither the change of ownership or the new business name affects any of those plans, in any way. In addition, the current changes will pose no disruption to normal operations or services. “The needs of our customers, as always, remain our paramount concern.”