About Our Family

Essentials is operated and supported by Krystal and her family. We are a small but mighty team dedicated to caring for our community and serving our families. We are pleased to introduce our family to you!

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Krystal Riddell

Position: Owner | Funeral Director (Niagara Falls)

Krystal grew up living throughout the Niagara Region. Through her school years, she attended Orchard Park Public School, AN Myer and Thorold Secondary School. Immediately following high school, she moved to Toronto and attended Humber College, to become a Licensed Funeral Director. Krystal completed her internship and continued to work at the George Darte Funeral Home, in St. Catharines, for 10 years.

During her time spent there, she had an invaluable experience, as she learned and developed an extraordinary level of standards and care that she was honoured to extend to the families she helped.

As Krystal grew into the role of being a funeral director, she proudly contemplated different ways she could effectively give back to her community. Krystal is a Past President of the Niagara District Funeral Service Association and sits on the Board of Directors with the Green Burial Society of Canada. She has been a passionate and dedicated Rotarian for the past 5 years and is the current President with the Rotary Club St. Catharines South. Krystal is the past chairperson of Spiritual Development and a member of the Catholic Women’s League. Krystal also contributes time and support to the Tool Box Project- Niagara, Hospice Niagara, and to other important community organizations.

Through the years, Krystal has had a deep desire to be a leader in her profession and within her community. She is extremely passionate about helping families in their time of need, and is committed to serving all families with the highest level of professionalism and care. For Krystal, this profession has never been “a business”, it has always been about helping and taking care of people in all capacities. Over the past 15 years, Krystal has seen first hand the change in economical times and funeral traditions. She believes in the importance and need to offer an effective and affordable death care service.

Krystal is married to her husband, David. Together they have two beautiful and mischievous boys; William (who wants to one day be a funeral director) and Alexander (who aspires to be an engineer). Also, not to forget their furry family member,  Flynn!

We are proud to have created a family owned business, and consider it a great honour to have the opportunity to look after those in need of help. Our sole purpose is to always look after our community in any way possible.

 

Krystal Riddell

Owner | Funeral Director (Niagara Falls)

Crystal Cameron

Position: Funeral Director

Crystal was born in North Bay and moved to the Niagara Region when she was a young girl. Funeral services have always interested her, and in grade 9 she participated in a “take your child to work day” and visited a local funeral home. Crystal was drawn to the atmosphere and sense of honour that comes with caring for families and their loved one. All of the aspects and facets that go into planning a funeral became such a fascination. Throughout her adulthood she worked at Lifetouch School Photography and General Motors, but in 2018, Crystal decided to follow her dreams of becoming a funeral director. She traveled back and forth daily from Welland to attend Humber College and graduated in 2020. When she is not helping families through their difficult times she enjoys: spending time with family; spouse Simon, four children, puppies and friends, as well as native drumming and working occasionally for a local food truck Country Boys.

Crystal is pleased to have joined Essentials Cremation and Burial Services and looks forward to supporting local families.

Crystal Cameron

Funeral Director

Nicola Gordon

Position: Funeral Director

Nicola was born and raised in Welland. When choosing a profession, being in a career that made a difference in the lives of others was an unwavering must. While visiting a funeral home, the care, and attention to detail concerning the needs of everyone in attendance made a lasting impression on her. In her graduating year at Welland Centennial Secondary School, she participated in the co-operative education program at a funeral home in Fonthill. This experience cemented her desire to become a Funeral Director. She moved to Toronto to study Funeral Services at Humber College in 2018. Nicola continued to gain valuable knowledge, and grew into a Funeral Director through her internship at Dennis Toll Funeral Home in Brantford. After graduating from Humber College in June 2020, Nicola returned to the Niagara Region to be close to her family.

In Nicola’s spare time she enjoys being with her family and friends, travelling, playing music, and being involved with her church, Faith Welland, where she volunteers as a youth leader and is happily part of their music department.

Nicola is passionate about helping others, and wants to be able to make a difference in people’s lives when they need extra care and attention, especially when someone experiences the loss of a loved one. She is honoured to serve families in Niagara and looks forward to her role as a Funeral Director at Essentials.

Nicola Gordon

Funeral Director

Kayleigh Peterson

Position: Funeral Director

Kayleigh was born and raised in the Niagara Region. Following high school, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Brock University. After experiencing a death in the family, Kayleigh decided to pursue funeral service as a career, and attended Humber College to become a Licensed Funeral Director. She obtained her license in 2012, and would then go on to complete her internship and work for 10 years at the George Darte Funeral Chapel in St. Catharines, gaining invaluable experience. Kayleigh enjoys helping and supporting families. She understands the importance of well-guided death care and providing exemplary service to families in need. She is a natural leader with our team and as a funeral director. Kayleigh joined the Essentials family in late 2021 and is happy to be a part of a team that believes in the highest standard of care for families. When she is not working, Kayleigh enjoys spending time and travelling with her partner and their two golden retrievers.

Kayleigh Peterson

Funeral Director

Melaina Gava

Position: Co-Founder

Through her young life, Melaina grew up in Chippawa. She was raised in a family of seven; Phildean and Sergio Gava were the parents of five, David, Melaina, Andrea, Rick and Steven. Her time is spent with Gary Barkhouse (her partner in life) and being a mother of three; Krystal (David) Riddell, Brittany Rea and Xandinn Barkhouse.

Melania is also very proud of her title “Nonna” to William and Alex. Melaina contributes her experience to planning, marketing and day to day operations of Essentials. You will find her friendly smile as she provides assistance as a receptionist, and also assists Krystal during funerals and memorial services.

It is with great pleasure she joins her daughter, Krystal in starting our own family business.

Melaina Gava

Co-Founder

Rebecca Hagglund

Position: Licensed Pre-Planner and Celebrant

We first connected with Rebecca in her role as a Funeral Celebrant, as she walked alongside families in their time of loss, creating personal and meaningful end-of-life ceremonies. She joined our team at Essentials in November 2019, assisting us in the office, and she found that she enjoyed learning the different aspects of funeral care.

Rebecca has now graduated from Humber College’s Funeral Pre-Planner program and is looking forward to supporting families with advance arrangements. Rebecca’s husband Steve and their two sons, Jeff and Zach, have been an encouragement to her as she has expanded her role in funeral care. As a family, they make special memories each summer when they go camping and they always enjoy playing their musical instruments together.

Rebecca is so pleased to be a member of the compassionate and dedicated team at Essentials, doing what she loves to do best – helping families.

Rebecca Hagglund

Licensed Pre-Planner and Celebrant

Cathie Cretney

Position: Family and Team Support

Cathie joined the Essentials family as a supportive team member, in February 2020. She has a passion for serving families who are grieving the death of a loved one. Cathie and her husband, Bob, have been the chaplains at Lookout Ridge Retirement home in Fonthill since it opened in 2008. In her spare time, Cathie enjoys spending time with their 9 grandchildren and playing the piano. It is a privilege for Cathie to be part of such a compassionate team, who serves Essentials’ families with great care, honour and respect.

Cathie Cretney

Family and Team Support

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