Forest History

As was the case with so many of the original Canadian undertakers, Mr. Steele was a cabinet maker and furniture man.  Mr. Andrew F. Steele  purchased the Decker Furniture and Undertaking Emporium in 1877 and in 1881 was joined by his brother Frank Steele.

The company was renamed "Steele Brothers".  The partnership dissolved and eventually A.F.'s son Gerald joined the firm and it became known as A.F. Steele & Son.  Note in the picture above the plumes attached to the hearse to symbolize a male death.  In 1926 George McFarlane purchased the Steele business becoming McFarlane and Catt.  Partner Stanley Catt also had a funeral business in Arkona at the time.  They added a 1929 Model DeSoto Coach to their fleet so that they could also provide ambulance service to the community.  In 1936 Allen Oke "Mickey" McFarlane joined his father in the business.  They worked together until 1949 when his parents George and Minnie (Prout) McFarlane were killed in a car accident.  In 1971, Ronn E. Dodge purchased the business and served the people of Forest for 36 years.  In 2007, Bill and Brett Denning purchased the oldest continually operating funeral home in Lambton County.