Andrew Hodges and wife Andrea Macko-Hodges have owned the Andrew L. Hodges Funeral Home since December 2003. In 2000, Andrew obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in History with a number of courses in Thanatology (study of death and bereavement) at the University of Western Ontario in London. In 2002, he graduated from Toronto’s Humber College with a diploma in the funeral services education program. Completing his training as a funeral director in Toronto, Andrew continued to work in the city until November 14, 2003 when he and Andrea, also born and raised in Dresden, decided to leave Toronto for a town where Andrew could perform funerals in a more personal way, and the couple could become part of a community and eventually raise a family.
Andrew and Andrea took ownership of the Robt. G. Sass Funeral Home on December 1, 2003. At the age of 25, Andrew was one of the youngest funeral directors in Canada to own and operate a funeral home. To reflect the change in ownership and responsibility, the name of the funeral home was changed to the Andrew L. Hodges Funeral Home Ltd. Andrea, who graduated from Carleton University in 2001 with an Honours degree in Journalism, is now a columnist for the St. Marys Journal Argus. The elementary school sweethearts were married on September 7, 2002.
Andrew and Andrea have one daughter, Charlotte Grace Hodges, who was born on December 8, 2010. The family is also the proud owner of Agnes the miniature dachshund, who serves as "grief counsellor" at the funeral home.
The Hodges are the latest in a line of compassionate families and individuals who have served St. Marys and area for almost 120 years. The Hodges Funeral Home traces its roots to 1897, when a funeral and furniture business was established on Queen Street by T. T. Garner. At that time it was common for the furniture maker to moonlight as the undertaker, because he had the means to build caskets. There was also no need for the undertaker to have facilities for visitations and funerals because they would take place in homes. In 1903, Garner hired R.F. Harrison as an associate and Garner retired in 1904, leaving the business to Harrison.
Harrison soon hired J.A. Lamond, and in 1907 the partners sold the business to G.W. Loucks. Loucks, who in turn hired W.M. Whittle, moved the operation to Water Street South, in the "Opera House" building.
This partnership only lasted six months and a Mr. Knetchel bought both men out. N.L. Brandon was hired, and the partners worked together for about one year, until Knetchel left the business. N.L. Brandon then ran the funeral home from 1908 until 1935.
In 1935, Brandon sold the business to the Corothers brothers. While they were operating out of the Water Street location, they required more space, as visitations and funerals were increasingly taking place at the funeral home. The brothers felt that buying a house would ease this transition for families by having a setting where visitations could still take place in a home-like environment. The Corothers purchased lot five on the west side of Wellington Street South in 1938, what is known today as 52 Wellington St. S.
In 1939, Samuel Marriott opened a funeral business on Queen Street and the Corothers sold their business to him. Marriott then moved his funeral and furniture business to the Wellington Street facility. In 1950, he purchased land across the street (lots four, five and six, today known as 47 Wellington St. S.), renovated the house to suit funeral services, and moved the business there.
The stately yellow brick home at 47 Wellington St. S. was built in 1897 by John Elliott, an area mason who also assisted in the construction of St. Marys' unique town hall. Elliott and his wife Margaret lived in the house, but John passed away in 1902, leaving the house to Margaret. The home served as a private residence and as a convalescent home until Marriott's purchase and renovation.
In 1961, Marriott sold the funeral business to Bob Lindsay and the furniture business was eliminated from 47 Wellington. Changing the name to the Lindsay Funeral Home, Lindsay expanded to the front and rear of the building to create more space. Lindsay and his wife Ione raised two sons, Ron and Murray, in the upstairs apartment during their tenure.
Robert (Bob) Sass, the next owner, a St. Marys native, began his career as a funeral director in Aurora, north of Toronto. He returned to St. Marys to take over the Lindsay Funeral Home on June 1, 1983, and changed the name to the Robt. G. Sass Funeral Home. Sass was responsible for some major changes to the property, notably, creating the parking lot on the south side of the building and adding the wheelchair ramp to the north porch to make the funeral home accessible.
Bob and his wife Pat also raised their children Paula and Jeff in the funeral home and served the community in various organizations. Even though he is formally retired from funeral service, it's not uncommon to see Bob making a "cameo appearance" at the funeral home.
On December 28, 2012, the Andrew L. Hodges Funeral Home Ltd. purchased L.A. Ball Ltd. All funeral service operations in St. Marys are located at the Andrew L. Hodges Funeral Home at 47 Wellington St. South, St. Marys.
Although the funeral home has seen a lot of changes since 1897, by way of locations and owners, the same commitment continues:a locally owned establishment that provides each family it serves with personalized service in a gracious and comfortable atmosphere.
Licensed funeral director and owner Andrew Hodges graduated from Humber College’s Funeral Service Education Program in 2002, and worked at Trull Funeral Homes in Toronto. Seeking to better serve families (and to spend more time with his bride Andrea), Andrew and Andrea purchased the former Robert G. Sass Funeral Home in 2003, and purchased L.A. Ball Funeral Chapel in 2012. Andrew is an active member of the Kinsmen Club of St. Marys, Holy Name of Mary Parish Council, and the St. Marys BIA. In his spare time, Andrew enjoys tennis and badminton, karaoke, and spending time with wife Andrea, daughter Charlotte and Agnes the family dachshund.
Co-owner and administrator Andrea Macko entered funeral service by marriage; she and Andrew have been married since 2002. With a background in journalism, Andrea served as reporter for the St. Marys Journal Argus and is now a columnist for the paper. Andrea is a board member for the St. Marys Memorial Hospital Foundation, often planning fundraisers, and was a driving force behind the restoration of the town's tennis courts. She also is a lector at Holy Name of Mary church. In her spare time, Andrea enjoys tennis, badminton, cycling and reading, as well as spending time with husband Andrew, daughter Charlotte and Agnes.
Licensed funeral director Gary Mallalieu is a St. Marys native. He is married to Cynthia (Copeland) and have two daughters, Aralynn and Raianna. He is a member of St. Marys United Church and has been active in church choir, council and Sunday School. Gary graduated from the Funeral Service Education Program at Humber College in June 2016, after assisting Andrew for a few years. Gary’s interests include gardening, music, musical theatre and refinishing furniture, but most of all, he enjoys home and family life.
Part-time staff member Jamie Hahn is well known in St. Marys; he served as its Mayor for many years. Jamie’s memory of residents past and present is impressive to witness when people attend visitations and funerals. Jamie is enjoying retirement from political life with wife Joan, children and grandchildren.
Part-time staff member Bob Sass is the former owner of what is now the Andrew L. Hodges Funeral Home; the facility at 47 Wellington St. S. was the Robert G. Sass Funeral Home from 1983 to 2003. Bob was licensed as a funeral director in 1968, and still serves as mentor to Andrew and Andrea. Born and raised in St. Marys, Bob and wife Pat are now enjoying retirement (and a grandchild), and it is always a pleasure to have Bob (and his sense of humour) in the building.
Welcoming committee and grief counsellor Agnes the dachshund has been an important staff member since arriving at the funeral home as a puppy in 2006. The red brindle miniature dachshund is renowned for her general cuteness and ability to put children and adults at ease during at a time of grief and sadness. When she’s not serving as doorbell for the funeral home, Agnes enjoys naps, sitting in laps, and belly rubs.