Our History of Wagg Funeral Home

The Wagg Funeral Home, "McDermott-Panabaker Chapel" has a history in the community of Port Perry, Ontario dating back to 1846. Like our predecessors in the funeral home, we are committed to the families we serve during their time of need. We are equally committed to supporting community groups and charities, and believe that a connected community thrives. By supporting the community we are supporting ourselves and our collective futures.

Our humble beginnings go back to 1846, when John W. Davis purchased the property at the south west corner of Queen and Perry Streets, and built a furniture store. Mr. Davis also served as the town's undertaker when he opened his store.

William Henry Letcher purchased the business from the Davis family in 1901, and eventually passed it on to his son, Merle. After the death of his father, Merle Letcher sold the business in 1934 to Archie McDermott.

Twelve years later in 1946, Art Panabaker came to Port Perry to work for Archie and in 1951 they added a chapel and a casket room to the building. Art and Archie became business partners in 1955. Then in 1960, Archie's son, Grant McDermott, bought his father's share of the business.

In 1981, Harold Wagg, who grew up just outside Uxbridge Ontario, purchased the business from Grant and Art. When Harold decided to retire in 1990, he sold the funeral home to Myles O'Riordan on August 1, 1990. Myles is the current owner of the Wagg Funeral Home. He was raised in Aurora, Ontario and had worked in Richmond Hill and Toronto. Since purchasing the funeral home he has made his home in Port Perry, Ontario.

Advertisement first placed in Port Perry Standard in August 1866August 6, 1866

Advertisement that was first placed in the Port Perry Standard in August 1866 celebrating 19 years in business in Port Perry.


1884 J.W. Davis Furniture Rooms




Advertisement by John W. Davis & Sons in November 1873November 26, 1873

Advertisement by John W. Davis & Sons from November 26, 1873










newspaper drawing of J.W. Davis Furniture Rooms rebuilt in 18841884 J.W. Davis Furniture Rooms

Newspaper drawing of J.W. Davis Furniture Rooms rebuilt in 1884 after the fire. Artist stood across Queen Street looking south on Perry Street.







Advertisement by W.H. Letcher in the North Ontario ObserverAugust 9, 1900

Advertisement by W.H. Letcher in the North Ontario Observer.










Letcher Funeral Home in the 1900's1900's Queen & Perry Street looking west

Letcher Funeral Home on the left looking west on Queen Street towards Simcoe Street.







William Henry Letcher purchased funeral home business in July 1901William Henry Letcher

Purchased business from Davis Family in July 1901.











Letcher Funeral Home in 1900's1900's Letcher Funeral Home

Queen & Perry Street looking west











William Merlin "Merle" Letcher, son of William Henry LetcherWilliam Merlin "Merle" Letcher

Son of William Henry Letcher













W.H. Letcher Funeral Home in 1900's1900's WH Letcher Funeral Home

An unknown gathering in front and beside the WH Letcher Funeral Home. The building across the street is the current Royal Bank.







Archie Louis McDermott purchases business from Merle Letcher in April 1934Archie Louis McDermott

Purchased business from Merle Letcher in April 1934













1930's glass sided hearse1930's Glass Sided Hearse

Archie L. McDermott on the right and his employee Arnold Glenney sitting on Archie's last glass sided viewing hearse in the 1930's. The hearse was pulled by a team of horses stabled in a barn on the current funeral home parking lot.

The hearse is parked where the current Perry Street entrance into the funeral home is today. This area was enclosed in the 1960's. Across Perry Street to the east is the back of the current Royal Bank building.








Art Panabaker came to Port Perry Ontario in 1946Arthur Panabaker

Art Panabaker came to Port Perry in 1946 to work for Archie McDermott. In 1955 he purchased half of the business from Archie and the business became known as McDermott-Panabaker.











Grant McDermott purchased the funeral home in 1960Grant McDermott

Returned to Port Perry in 1957 and in 1960 he purchased his father's (Archie McDermott) shares in the business.











View from outside of the furniture store on Perry Street1961

One of Art and Margaret Panabaker's daughters standing in front of the Queen Street entrance into the furniture store. Perry Street is seen through the windows.









From 1980, image of McDermott - Panabaker Funeral Home & Furniture Store1980 McDermott-Panabaker Funeral Home & Furniture Store

At this time McDermott-Panabaker still sold furniture from the Queen Street entrance. The funeral home entrance was on Perry Street.






Harold Wagg purchased Funeral Home in 1981Harold J. Wagg

Purchased Funeral Home from Grant McDermott and Art Panabaker in May, 1981.











image of Harold J. Wagg Funeral Home in 19851985 Harold J. Wagg Funeral Home & Photo Gallery

Harold Wagg operated a picture gallery at the Queen Street entrance where McDermott-Panabaker used to sell furniture. The funeral home entrance was off Perry Street.






image of Harold J. Wagg Funeral Home in 19881988 Harold J. Wagg Funeral Home

Furniture and picture store are gone and now the building is strictly a funeral home serving area families.






image of Harold J. Wagg Funeral Home in 19891989 Harold J. Wagg Funeral Home

View looking north on Perry Street in the summer of 1989.






Myles O'Riordan purchased the funeral home in 1990Myles G. O'Riordan

Myles O'Riordan purchased the Funeral Home from Harold J. Wagg in 1990. In 1997 he undertook a major expansion project and built a new Chapel and completely renovated the interior of the Funeral Home.










image of Wagg Funeral Home in 20052005 Wagg Funeral Home





image of Wagg Funeral Home in 2005 from Perry Street2005 Wagg Funeral Home from Perry Street