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!
Class 1 Funeral Director (2007)
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. Throughout the years, Krystal was involved in organizations such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters of St. Catharines- Thorold & District and she contributed to the Campaign for the United Way St. Catharines & District. In 2016, Krystal made a decision to join the Bocchinfuso Funeral Home, in Thorold. With Thorold being a special place to Krystal, she was honoured to be able to work in her small home town community. During her time there, Krystal was shown the responsibilities of operating a small family owned business, and the importance of community involvement.
As Krystal grew into the role of being a funeral director, she proudly contemplated different ways she could effectively give back to her community. Currently, Krystal is President of the Niagara District Funeral Service Association. Krystal is dedicated and involved with the Rotary Club St. Catharines South, where she is an active rotarian and board member. She is the past Chairperson of Spiritual Development and a member of the Catholic Women’s League, of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church. She also contributes time and support to the Tool Box Project- Niagara, Hospice Niagara, and to other important community organizations.
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. She 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 bringing our family owned business to life.
As a son to two educators, Andrew was raised in St. Catharines, in a home full of stimulating conversation, ideas, and a keen curiosity of the world. The dinner table was always a place to discuss the day, as well as current events. This healthy curiosity and engagement of the world took Andrew to the Toronto area to pursue a career in Information Technology.
Still learning from those he encountered, Andrew realised that the one constant in his life was that he had been walking in his father’s (Rev Malcolm Binks) footsteps of serving the community all along. Andrew enrolled in the Humber College Funeral Services Education programme. And just this past June, he graduated from the programme and went on to successfully complete the provincial licensing examinations.
Andrew has come full circle and is now back home in Niagara to serve the region as a Funeral Director with the Essentials Cremation and Burial Services team. This career change has resulted in him finding his truly fulfilling and joyful path in life.
Andrew is also passionate about discovering new culinary adventures and having friends over for some great conversation and tasty food, especially when he gets to use his graduation gift to himself: a Big Green Egg charcoal barbecue!
Born and raised in Fort Erie, he graduated from Ridgeway Crystal Beach Highschool. Following secondary school, David graduated from Niagara College’s Culinary Skills Program and joined the Canadian Forces. Shortly after this time, David met Krystal. Throughout the years, Dave supported Krystal’s passion for her career, and began to admire her dedication and compassion for the families she served. David will partake in various roles at Essentials, such as assisting Krystal with day to day operations, marketing and bookkeeping. He is honoured to be part of our family owned business, and he looks forward to helping families and serving our community.
Anita is a proud lifelong resident of the Niagara Region and has made a home for her and her family in Niagara Falls for nearly 30 years. As a child, Anita’s grandfather worked for the City of St. Catharines, managing the Victoria Lawn Cemetery. She recalls fondly the time spent there with her grandparents, in the big white house, and summer days with her cousins walking around the beautiful gardens within the cemetery gates. For over 15 years, Anita found her passion as a Holistic Spa owner and professional make-up artist.
The trajectory of Anita’s life changed in 2013 when she took a huge leap of faith, and pursued her childhood dream of working in Ministry. She holds certifications in Youth & Family Ministry, mental health/addictions/first aid and has dedicated herself to lifelong learning, regularly attending courses for various pastoral care modalities.
Anita has a great love for community service and is committed to assisting families in their time of need.
Her life is filled with love, and she has the honour to be “Nan” to 4 amazing little people. She is an active Yogi, and an active member of her Church. Dividing her time between being a member of the greater Niagara Social Justice & Outreach team and a spiritual care visitor within the Niagara Health System. Her various charitable efforts include hosting women’s circles, art for meditation & healing, walking annually for Kids Help Phone and fundraising for Start Me Up Niagara.
You will find Anita assisting Krystal, offering a warm and welcoming smile, a tea and a cookie to anyone who walks through our doors here at Essentials Cremation & Burial Services.