By Breanna Schnurr
From Calgary to Waterloo, funeral director Rob Wintonyk shares his experiences in the funeral industry.
It’s a cold and cloudy Monday morning as Rob Wintonyk walks up the concrete path leading to the brown double doors of Erb & Good Funeral Home. He strides in through the entrance, stomping his shoes on the front mat to shake off the excess snow as he makes his way to his office.
Rob Wintonyk is not just a funeral director from rural Saskatchewan, although he has many stories about his experiences in the industry. He realized funeral directing was his dream career at the tender age of 12- after witnessing his own grandmother’s funeral. At 16, he had his first embalming experience. He laughs, remembering the embalmer saying to him, “You’re not gonna pass out on me. You’re too big for me to pick you up off the floor.”
In the early days of his career, Rob remembers hosting a funeral service for Owen Hart, a Canadian professional wrestler. He smiles, saying he’ll never forget when Hulk Hogan walked through the front door of the funeral home to pay his respects to Owen and his family. “I don’t even remember what exactly my question was, but I was just totally out of my body,” Rob said, mimicking the shocked look he would’ve had just over 20 years ago.
After moving from Calgary to Waterloo, Rob came to be a part of the Erb & Good family. “I just got such a good feeling when I came into this funeral home- and it felt like a home, you know, it didn’t feel like a cold business,” Rob said with a warm smile spreading across his face. The previous directors, Jim Urban and Paul Good became inspirations to Rob as he got accustomed to his new workplace. “Jim treated me like a son, you know, and still does. At the end of the day, they’re just a very, very, special family.”
Erb & Good, according to their website, is, “Kitchener-Waterloo’s longest serving independently and family owned funeral home.” The buiness has stood strong since 1946, marking this year as their 75th anniversary.
Over the last 11 years, Rob Wintonyk has taken over the duties and ownership of Erb & Good, choosing still to run with many of the foundational traditions that the business opened with; but he knows he wouldn’t have been able to do it by himself. “I got a wonderful team. Just- I’ve got incredible people, so I’m very, very fortunate.”
Erb & Good funeral home is located at 171 King Street South in Waterloo, Ontario.