G.F. Oliver Funeral Chapel History
G.F. Oliver Funeral Chapel was established by George and Norma Oliver in 1957. It is located at 225 – 15th Avenue North, in the beautiful Creston Valley. George Oliver received his diploma from the Alberta School of Embalming in Edmonton on July 6, 1956. George, wife Norma, and son Bob moved to Creston B.C. on Labour Day in 1956 from the Crowsnest Pass, where George had apprenticed under Harold Calham. The funeral business, owned by Stan Hendren Sr., was purchased by the Oliver’s in 1956, and a new funeral home was erected and the Oliver Funeral Home began it’s venture in August 1957. Operating a funeral home in a small community was a family affair – on call 24 hours a day.
After 13 years, the Oliver’s thought it was time for a break and hired a manager, Norm MacDonald. They packed their suitcases and with their two young daughters, Rhonda and Cheryl, left for 13 months to Hawaii. Their son, Bob was attending B.C.I.T at this time. Norma, being a U.S. citizen (born in Boston, MA) and an R.N., had no trouble getting employment in one of the hospitals. George sold cemetery property for the Valley Of The Temples on Oahu.
Shortly after returning from Hawaii, they decided to incorporate. Unfortunately, Oliver Funeral Home (company name) was already taken, so George put his initials in front, making it G.F. Oliver Funeral Chapel Ltd., in 1978. Next came the founding of the East-West Kootenay Crematorium Ltd., of which he has been a director and part owner since 1980. In 1991 there was a need to expand the funeral chapel, so major renovations were made to add a new chapel and 140 seating capacity, family room, display room and working office.
In addition to operating his business, George has been involved in community affairs, serving as School Trustee, member of the Creston Rotary Club, Master of the Masonic Lodge in Alberta, president of the East-West Shrine Club, president of the Creston Valley Blossom Association and was instrumental in the restoration of the Kootenai Canoe, which is now on display in the Historic Native Museum in Ottawa, Ontario. George was voted Citizen of the Year in 1984.