Three generations of the Mundell family have proudly served the Orillia area through the business that has borne their name since 1914.
The first officially registered owner of the properties now known as 79 West Street North, Orillia - our present location - was a resident of Medonte Township, Mr. William Teskey.
For most of the next fifteen years, a local merchant by the name of Francis J. Gribbon owned and resided at a smaller home located at this address. Of note, the Church of the Guardian Angels was only one of a very few buildings neighboring the Gribbon residence near the northern-most boundary of the town of Orillia. (The original church was constructed of brick in 1872 and then reconstructed in 1910 from Longford limestone).
Title was then dealt to Mr. and Mrs. John McCosh. Mr. McCosh was a lawyer, police magistrate, and politician who served this town for five terms as mayor (1881, 1882, 1886, 1903 and 1904). It was then the McCosh family, which included five children, undertook the construction of the lavish Victorian Gothic mansion that would eventually become the Mundell Funeral Home.
The original sixteen rooms of the McCosh house consisted of handcarved oak and cherry woodwork, hand-painted and stained glass windows, and seven different fireplace mantle designs. A 20x40 foot stable was constructed at the south end of the property to match the Victorian architecture of the home. All construction was completed in early 1888 and this was to be the residence of John and Gwendolyn McCosh and family until 1907. "Josh" McCosh, as he was sometimes known, was then appointed as judge to the provincial court and subsequently moved his family to the town of Barrie where the courts are located today.
The McCosh family sold this, as one of the largest homes in Orillia, to Thomas H. and Sarah Sheppard. The Sheppards were prominent residents of the area who operated a successful lumber supply business out of Orillia and Medonte township. Mr. Sheppard had also served the then 5,000 residents of Orillia for two terms as mayor (1898 and 1899).
This was the year that author and summer resident of Orillia, Stephen Leacock, wrote his book entitled "Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town".
The Orillia setting which he used for his story included this house as the fictional residence of his character "Judge Pepperleigh". It is believed that the "Judge Pepperleigh" character may very well have been derived from the original owner and creator of this house, the very colorful Judge "Josh" McCosh
"J.A. Mundell, Undertakers" opens for business, located at the corner of Mississaga Street East and Matchedash Street North.
The magnificent home at 79 West St. N. was then sold to Mr. Thomas B. Jebb and his wife Clara. Mr. Jebb was proprietor of a local jewelery store. An interesting fact of this transaction is that the selling price was registered as seven thousand dollars.
The Jebb's sold the house to local undertaker, John A. Mundell and his wife, Catherine. Renovations at 79 West Street were done through 1926 and in November of that year, the business was relocated to it's present site with the second storey becoming the residence of John and Catherine Mundell and family.
The population of Orilla at this time was approximately 8,000 people. John A. Mundell practiced as embalmer and funeral director out of this home until his retirement in 1955 at the aage of 70. He was assisted by his only son, Jack, from 1945.
Jack officially took title to the Mundell Funeral Home and, with his wife Constance and eventually their seven children, also made their residence on the upper floor of the building (rear apartment) from 1950 until 1966.
John A. Mundell, eldest child and third generation funeral director, took over the helm from Jack Mundell. Shortly thereafter an extensive refurbishment, renovation and restoration project was begun that would encompass both stories of the building increasing its present usage of business floor space to approximately 14,000 square feet.
John Mundell of Mundell Funeral Home Limited and Andrew Clark, Chief Executive Officer of Park Lawn Corporation are very pleased to announce a business partnership. Park Lawn will make a meaningful investment in Mundell Funeral Home to help reinforce the family firm's long-standing position as a highly respected and industry-leading provider of funeral services to Orillia and area. This partnership, which was effective February 10th, is specifically designed to enhance the delivery and scope of services being offered to Mundell's at-need and pre-need client families for many years to come.
John Mundell, the 3rd generation of Mundell family funeral directors and Vice President of Mundell Funeral Home, said that "We are very excited about our partnership with Park Lawn Corporation. It will allow the Mundell Family to continue to be involved in serving Orillia and area with the highest standard of caring and compassionate funeral service which our community has come to expect from our firm over our 102 years in business in Orillia."