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 that was first placed in the Port Perry Standard in August 1866 celebrating 19 years in business in Port Perry.
Advertisement by John W. Davis & Sons from November 26, 1873
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 Observer.
Letcher Funeral Home on the left looking west on Queen Street towards Simcoe Street.
An unknown gathering in front and beside the WH Letcher Funeral Home. The building across the street is the current Royal Bank.
Purchased business from Merle Letcher in April 1934
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 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.
At this time McDermott-Panabaker still sold furniture from the Queen Street entrance. The funeral home entrance was on Perry Street.
Purchased Funeral Home from Grant McDermott and Art Panabaker in May, 1981.
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.
Furniture and picture store are gone and now the building is strictly a funeral home serving area families.
View looking north on Perry Street in the summer of 1989.
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.