SERVICE EXCELLENCE when you need it most.
MEET OUR TEAM
Our focus is on creating better ways to serve you and your family. Our team at Families First makes this possible by always looking for additional ways to personalize your experience, and constantly coming up with new ideas on how we can best meet the changing needs of today’s families.
Managing Director | President
Brian started in funeral service in 1979 working with family owned funeral homes of that time. In 1996, with his wife Mary-Lynn they open Families First Funeral Home & Tribute Centre Inc. in May of 1996. Since then the funeral home has grown to 4 locations South Windsor, East Windsor, LaSalle and Amherstburg. Brian is has been and continues to be very active on many Boards and Associations; currently serving on the VON Foundation Board of Directors, Victim Services Board of Directors, Essex Region Conservation Foundation Board of Directors, and the Bereavement Authority of Ontario Board of Directors.
R.N., Vice-President | Funeral Planner
Mary-Lynn with her husband Brian are the founders and owners of Families First Funeral Home. Although her original career was with Metropolitian General Hospital as a registered nurse, she put that career aside in 1997. Mary-Lynn is responsible for all financial management of Families First and is our lead Forethought pre-planning counselor. Brian and Mary-Lynn have 3 children, Alex, Ray and Chantelle.
Vice President of Family Services
Sherri received her Funeral Director's License with Honours in 1994 and began her career in her hometown of Guelph. In 1996, Sherri came to Windsor advancing in her profession and settling to her home in LaSalle. Wanting to move forward she joined Families First in January of 2007 because of our unique team atmosphere. Sherri looks forward to using her talents to offer personalization and choices in an environment that encourages commitment to others. She is a Past President of the Windsor Essex Funeral Directors Association and a Past Practical Examiner for the Ontario Board of Funeral Service. She enjoys weight-lifting at the gym and her canine babies – Parker, Shredder and Secora.
Vice President of Family Services
Jen started at Families First in 2004 greeting our families and working in the office. She has recently accepted a position as our Community Resource Educator and will be sharing information with community groups, charities, employers and private groups. Jen graduated from the University of Windsor in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Jen enjoys, shopping, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.
Managing Director | Team Leader
John started with us on January 27, 2003. John began his career as a Director in funeral service in 1979 when obtained his Ontario Funeral Director's Licence in 1982 from Humber College. John's desire to work for a family-owned funeral home brought him to Families First. He is honest, caring and dedicated to the families that he is proud to serve. John was born and raised in South Windsor and now resides in LaSalle. He is committed to his two daughters, Elizabeth and Madeline. John is an avid outdoors man with his favourite being fishing and hunting.
Funeral Director | Team Leader
Tara (nee Thompson) was born and raised in Windsor & Essex County. She resides in Windsor with her husband Colin, and daughters Brooke & Sarah. Together they enjoy spending time outdoors and camping, especially in the Haliburton Highlands. Tara became a licensed funeral director since 1995, and is the past President & Treasurer of the Windsor Essex Funeral Directors Association. She joined Families First Funeral Home in 2001, because she believed in our mission to serve families beyond their expectations.
Funeral Director | Team Leader
Kate is formerly from Whitby. She came to Windsor to attend the University of Windsor and successfully completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in June 2001. Seemingly destined to be a professional student, Kate returned to Toronto, enrolled at Humber College to become a Funeral Director, and graduated with Honours in June 2003. Kate resides in Amherstburg with her husband, son and dogs.
Funeral Director | Team Leader
Originally from the Windsor area, Jessica is proud of her French Canadian Heritage. She graduated from the Funeral Services Program at College Boreal in Sudbury, Ontario and obtained her Provincial Funeral Director's Licence in 2003. Jessicas compassion and creativity help her to understand the needs of the families that she serves and we are proud to say that she is part of our caring team. She resides in Emeryville with her husband Brent and enjoys traveling and playing baseball.
Operation Administrator | Team Leader
Laura has been with Families First since joining as a co-op student back in 1998. When Laura was first employed she spent a great deal of time greeting our families and taking care of outside/indoor tasks. Today, Laura successfully directs the running of the office and all that it involves. Laura was active with Big Brothers/Big Sisters for over 2 years. She is now a proud mom of a beautiful little boy, Garrett Joseph.
Graphic Designer | Team Leader
Courtney Wilkinson received her diploma in May of 2006 in Graphic Design. In June of 2006 she started her career at Families First. Courtney was hired to incorporate her art and design concepts into what we have to offer you. She offers education to our staff on a daily basis. Courtney grew up in and lives in Leamington. She enjoys spending as much time as possible with her husband, Zach, their yellow lab, Bosco, and Springer Spaniel, Oliver.
Debra is originally from Chatham, starting with Murray Bowman Funeral Home in 1981. She graduated from Humber College in 1984, and was employed at Ostrander's Funeral Home in Tillsonburg and Port Rowan where she interned until ownership changed in 1998. With this change Debra began to look outward for, (her words) "a family owned funeral home focused on moving forward in customer service and one that appreciates dedicated employee's"
We were the lucky pick!
Debra is married to a very lucky guy? named Bob, they have been blessed with a beautiful daughter named Alexandra.
Randi is originally from Prince Edward Island. With aspirations of becoming a funeral director, she moved to Toronto in 2005 to attend Humber College. She completed her internship at Families First and received her Funeral Director's licence in 2007. She now resides in La Salle and enjoys spending time with her husband Brian, son Owen and daughter Nina.
Denis joined our team in September 2006 as a co-op student. Realizing his desire to become a funeral director, he went to College Boréal in 2007 and received his Provincial License in 2009. Denis is proud of his French-Canadian heritage and enjoys bowling, baseball, tennis, traveling and spending time with his family.
Kirsten van den Steene
Kirsten considers herself to be a "county-girl", raised in Malden Twp. and currently home sweet home is in Amherstburg. She is an extremely proud parent of Chelsea and Jacob. She has been serving the Windsor-Essex County area since 1994, obtaining her Funeral Director's License in 1995. Her commercial and fine arts background are utilized on a daily basis, both at home and at work. Kirsten is proud to join the Families First Funeral Home team, where she can utilize these talents to provide comfort to the families that are served. Her professionalism, compassion and attention to detail are also great assets!
Having been born and raised in a family owned funeral home that operated establishments in Windsor and Tecumseh for three generations I can tell you coming back to one is a welcome relief. I chose Families First because of the team culture and their internal values in which customer service is the main focus. I welcome the opportunity to serve any family that requests me regardless of their needs. I thank my family and friends for supporting me on this change especially my wife Donna, my father Jerome and uncles David and Phil Marcotte, my children Adam and his wife Erin, Emily and fiancée Carmine Scandale, Erin, and Meghan. I will continue my dedication to the community of St. Clair Beach, the Knights of Columbus and my church Good Shepherd Parish.
Understanding that serving families incorporates both attention to detail as well as creative personalization, Bill decided to pursue a career in Funeral Service. Bill also has an understanding that every individual‘s life, whether momentous or understated, brief or substantial, is of intrinsic importance and value to their family and loved ones. He completed his Funeral Service studies at Humber College and graduated with Honours, obtaining his Funeral Director’s License in 2010. Being part of a family owned and family focused funeral home is paramount to Bill’s work ethic, and he is proud to be a member of the team. Bill was born and raised in Windsor, and now resides in LaSalle with his wife Lauri and daughter Alexandra.
Marco is originally from Leamington and now lives in South Walkerville with his wife Elizabeth. They are members of Most Precious Blood Parish. Marco is an active member of the Ciociaro Club. He also enjoys playing volleyball, golf and is a member of Lifestyles Family Fitness. Marco has been a licensed funeral director since 2002, and is the past President of the Windsor Essex County Funeral Directors Association. Marco joined the Families First Team in 2011 and is grateful for the opportunity to help families create meaningful and personalized services.
Elizabeth was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario. She received both soccer and academic scholarships to Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa where she completed a degree in biology. Elizabeth chose funeral service as a career to give guidance and comfort to families in their time of need. She later graduated from Humber College, attaining her Funeral Director License in 2011. Elizabeth feels Families First has given her the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. Elizabeth enjoys spending time with family, friends, and her husband, Marco.
After completing her studies in Funeral Service Education at Humber College in Toronto, Danielle joined our team in May 2011 as an intern. She is proud to have graduated and passed her licensing exams in June 2012 with Honours. Prior to this, she also completed an Honours Degree in Forensic Science at the University of Windsor. She was drawn to a career as a funeral director, specifically with Families First, by the great experiences her family had had with the funeral home in the past. After growing up in Windsor, Danielle now resides in the Lakeshore area with her husband Kevin, their children Charlotte and Tyler, and two dogs Penny and Thor. She is the oldest of four siblings and is part of a family that values spending time together often. This helps Danielle recognize the compassion and care that the families we serve require in their time of need, and she strives to improve every day.
Colin was born in Canmore, Alberta and raised in South Windsor. Colin is a graduate of Holy Names High School and continued his post secondary education at the University of Windsor. Colin became part of the Families First Team in the fall of 2009. After several rewarding years with Families First, Colin realized Funeral Service was his calling. He enrolled in the Funeral Service program at Humber College in the Fall of 2011 and obtained his Funeral Director Licence in the summer of 2013. Colin, an alumni of the University of Windsor football program, is a dedicated and enthusiastic supporter of all Lancer athletics and attends as many events as possible. He is an avid outdoors man and loves spending time on the water and in the woods with his family and friends. Colin’s professionalism and compassion assist in providing a meaningful and unique service to each and every family.
Funeral Director Assistant
Kris is originally from Toronto, Ontario. He moved to Windsor in order to pursue a possible career in baseball with the Windsor Selects. He received a baseball scholarship to Paris Junior College in Texas. After moving back to Windsor, Kris started in funeral service in 1998 and joined the Families First team in 2002. Some of Kris' responsibilities include assisting on funerals and making deliveries, after the funeral, to families we have served. He is also responsible for purchasing and maintaining our company vehicles. Kris is also employed on a part time basis at Windsor Regional Hospital in the mental health field. Kris is very proud of his Greek heritage as his "Papous," "Yaya," and his dad emigrated from Sparta, Greece. Kris currently resides in Windsor and enjoys spending time with his wife Stephanie and daughters Angelina and Alexia.
Funeral Director Assistant
Wendy is married to Michael (a retired Windsor Police Constable), mother of Jason, Daryl, Kathleen and grandmother of Lillian and her twin brothers, Mason and Christopher and Grace (2008), Curtis and his brother Logan. Wendy started with us in April 2000 and is often the first kind voice you hear when you call our Lauzon office. Estate notifications to employers and insurance company is usually Wendy's responsibility. The creative scenes in the memorial folders and outside the Visitation Room, most often have her touch. She creates the lifestyle displays with the support and suggestion of the team to help friends share memories and celebrate life.
Simonne joined the Families First team in September 2007, bringing with her over 20 years experience in video production. Creating “keepsake videos” from precious family photos and films has been the heart of her job. A mother and grandmother, Simonne understands the importance of family moments and memories, even more so after the death of her youngest daughter in 1996…. Simonne volunteers for the CMHA bereavement program as well as the “Remember Our Children” (ROC) bereavement group. Simonne is someone you can count on during these difficult moments.
Ann was born and raised in South Windsor and brings with her over 16 years of experience in administration related duties. She currently resides in South Windsor with her husband, two sons, and loyal canine companion. When not working, Ann enjoys spending time with family and friends, boating, travelling, camping, reading, cooking, sewing, and listening to a variety of music.
Sue graduated from the University of Windsor in 1985 receiving an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree with an accounting major. She then pursued a career in accounting for small businesses and charitable organizations and personal income tax. Volunteering and serving church & community have also been a big part of her life.
Sue joined the Families First team in the fall of 2006. A wife and mother of two, she loves spending time with family especially attending her kid’s hockey, football and baseball games. In her spare time, she enjoys golf, rollerblading and cooking.
Maureen Wood Shepley
Maureen has worked for Families First for only a short time ,cleaning the facility and making lunch for the team. Maureen enjoys working with people who are kind and considerate put the needs of others first and she feels blessed to be part of this family team.
Many of our staff members have many skill sets that are an integral part of our business. They can be used in various departments to assist our families in innumerable ways. Kim is one of these specialized individuals who gives her time to complete not only aftercare but personalized tributes, home visits and when needed helping families complete government notifications. These tasks may seem simple but to a grieving family Kim is helping them remove a massive obstacle. When she isn't in our building helping families Kim can be found partaking in a good book on her boat; or participating in a yoga session. It's no secret that Kim adores her family above everything; her and her dear husband Bob have raised 3 outstanding children Robert, Alex, and Erin. Kim's family has continued to grow with her daughter in laws Rachel and Jessica; through these additions her wonderful grandchildren Ryker and Ayla were brought into this world.
I have been a member of this caring team for nearly 21 years. When my husband, Don died in 1996, our family learned first hand how dedicated Brian and Mary Lynn are to the families they serve. I have two children, Diane, Leigh & wife Vicky call me "Mom", I'm "Gram" to three young women, Erica, Jody and Tammi, AND, a great grandmother to 8 grands (Michael, Julia, Elle, Aubrey, Callie, Shaye, Drew and Cole ). My grands call me G.G. or G.G. CO. These are names I cherish! It's been my honour to volunteer for Hospice of Windsor and Essex County since it's beginning, 1979. I'm active in my church and I also enjoy dancing and cards .
Team Support/ Maintenance Staff
Elliott joined our team back in September of 2011 to aid with washing our fleet keeping them in pristine condition for use during funeral services, and aiding Liam our maintenance guy with the grounds at our 4 locations.
Over the years, Elliott has shown a desire and passion for Families First and as such has increased his roles within the funeral home such as helping with funeral services or visitations.
When he's not in a suit or helping around each of our locations, Elliott loves to watch movies or play video games. He also has a passion for all of his pets(cat, hamster, and fish).
Elliott has also recently started a career with the Canadian Coast Guard and awaits any potential relief position that is offered to him.
Funeral Director Intern
Peter and Mary a RN at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital are long-time residents of South Windsor and just recently celebrated their 38 wedding anniversary. They have two children, Ashley 27, a Nurse Practitioner with the Teen Health Centre, and Michael 33, a resident of New Zealand where he is head chef and manager of a restaurant in Metameta. Residing with Peter and Mary, and demanding a great deal of attention, are their three Shitzu's Niko, Nova and Pierre. Peter is an avid golfer, and can be found most winter days at Lifestyles Family Fitness when he and Mary aren't walking the beaches at their winter hideaway in St. Petes Florida. Prior to joining the Families First team in April 2010, Peter spent 32 years as Superintendent of Business and Treasurer of the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, retiring in 2007. "My experience working with the staff at Families First has been very rewarding. Their integrity, hard work and attention to detail is why so many families have trusted Families First to meet their every need."