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Staff Team

The Catholic Cemeteries John O'Brien

John O'Brien, Episcopal Delegate for Cemeteries and Insurance

  • John is a third-generation cemeterian for The Catholic Cemeteries
  • He has a Bachelor of Arts (Hon) degree in Political Science and Economics from the University of Western Ontario
  • John began working at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery at age 15 as part of the grounds crew
  • Provides oversight and counsel regarding strategic planning for The Catholic Cemeteries
  • Can be reached at 905-522-7727
  • Email John O'Brien

"We are an organization that is very contemporary even though we operate with a historical and traditional perspective," John says. "We consider it our special privilege to serve the Catholic community and we’re grateful for the trust that is placed in us."

The Catholic Cemeteries John Foster

John Foster, Director of Cemeteries

  • Responsible for the management of the Catholic Cemeteries in the Diocese
  • Holds a degree in Philosophy, University of Waterloo
  • Attended post-graduate studies in Theology at St. Peters Seminary, London
  • Part of the team since 1989
  • Can be reached at 905-522-7727
  • Email John Foster

"It's my job to ensure our staff team is well trained and they have the resources they need to do their jobs. The core skills our counsellors need are to be compassionate, empathetic and knowledgeable."

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The Catholic Cemeteries Dwayne Cahill

Dwayne Cahill

  • Studied at St. Peter's Seminary in London before joining The Catholic Cemeteries
  • Part of the team since 1998
  • Can be reached at 905-522-7727
  • Email Dwayne Cahill

"Listening, compassion and patience are three skills that are very important when helping families. You need a solid combination of all three, and sometimes you need more of one than the other. It's my job to ensure families feel comfortable and have the right information to make these very important decisions."

Most rewarding part of the job: "Knowing when I've helped a family through a very difficult time. It can be as simple as a 'thank you,' or a handshake that lets me know I've done my job."

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The Catholic Cemeteries Nanda Cozzi

Nanda Cozzi

  • Speaks fluent Italian
  • Graduate of McMaster University
  • Part of the team since 1999
  • Can be reached at 905-522-7727
  • Email Nanda Cozzi

"It is important to listen to a family’s needs or requests and sometimes, just listening when they like to share their story with you. In our case, it’s not about making a sale but ensuring people are aware of their options."

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The Catholic Cemeteries Leanne Fischl

Leanne Fischl

  • Holds a Bachelor of Science degree, McMaster University
  • Began in 2001 as a summer student before becoming a full-time counselor in 2006
  • Can be reached at 905-522-7727
  • Email Leanne Fischl

"I always think about the families at the end of each day. I review the day to ensure I did my best for them, that I met their needs and price points. I want to make sure I made it as easy as possible for people during a difficult time."

Most rewarding part of the job: "I enjoy speaking with families and having that direct one-on-one interaction with people. Knowing that I have helped an individual or family through a difficult time can be quite gratifying."

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The Catholic Cemeteries Delma Longboat

Delma Longboat

  • Graduated with Business Marketing diploma, Mohawk College
  • Career in retail sales prior to joining Catholic Cemeteries in spring 2013
  • Based at the main office at Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery
  • Can be reached at 905-522-7727
  • Email Delma Longboat

"I love my job, I feel that I'm helping to provide the last respect to a person and making sure things are arranged for them. There are some similarities to retail; I'm helping people find what they are looking for. It's finding out their needs and meeting those needs."

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The Catholic Cemeteries Nicolaas Van Gemert

Nicolaas Van Gemert

  • Graduated with diplomas in General Business and Business Administration from Mohawk College
  • Worked as part of the Catholic Cemeteries grounds crew as a high school student
  • Joined the family counselling team at the main office in spring 2013
  • Can be reached at 905-522-7727
  • Email Nicolaas Van Gemert

"Every situation is different, and it's very rewarding to work with families. It is a unique time for them; a time they will always remember, so I want it to go better than well. The easier I can make it for them, the better."

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The Catholic Cemeteries Ross Hutchison

Ross Hutchison

  • Responsible for Holy Cross Catholic Cremation Centre
  • Began working with The Catholic Cemeteries in 2003
  • Can be reached at 519-442-2214
  • Email Ross Hutchison

"I enjoy it; I like dealing with people. I feel good when someone says: ‘You've made this so much easier to deal with. You’ve explained everything.’ It's a nice feeling."

Most rewarding part of the job: "It's about listening and understanding families' needs. It's important they get what they want."

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The Catholic Cemeteries John Perrotta

John Perrotta

  • Responsible for Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Halton Hills (Georgetown)
  • History graduate, McMaster University
  • Speaks fluent Italian
  • Began in 1998 as a summer student before becoming a full-time counselor in 2003
  • Can be reached at 905-877-8500
  • Email John Perrotta

"Each and every day is different for me. Individuals and families bring forward a different scenario and they all have unique needs - this is what keeps me on my toes. My job is very interesting and extremely rewarding."

Skills needed for the job: "Patience and understanding. These are skills that I've learned along the way and will continue to refine. Listening is also very important. Sometimes families just need my ear."

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The Catholic Cemeteries Alice Puma

Alice Puma

  • Responsible for Our Lady of Hope Mausoleum, Resurrection Cemetery in Ancaster
  • Speaks fluent Portuguese
  • Part of the team since 1995
  • Can be reached at 905-304-9138
  • Email Alice Puma

"It can be difficult working with families who have suddenly lost a young child. But that's why our jobs are so important. We help people through these difficult situations by making the process easy to understand and as smooth as possible."

Most rewarding part of the job: "When people come back to me and say 'thank you, you've made it all so easy for us.' Knowing that a family has felt comfort at a time when they needed us most…that's the best feeling."

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The Catholic Cemeteries Angela Schon

Angela Schon

  • Responsible for Our Lady of the Angels Cemetery and mausoleum in Stoney Creek
  • Speaks fluent Hungarian
  • Part of the team since 2002
  • Can be reached at 905-643-0189
  • Email Angela Schon

"People are often surprised when I tell them what I do. I'm quick to tell them it's about a lot more than death. It's all about people and families, and I love helping people – it's the best part of my job."

Most challenging part of the job: "Sometimes families arrive in very large groups and have difficulty making decisions together. It's my job to simplify things for families so their options are easy to understand."

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The Catholic Cemeteries William (Bill) Templeton

William (Bill) Templeton

  • Responsible for Holy Cross Cemetery, Our Lady of the Assumption Mausoleum, St. Joseph Cemetery in Brantford, Sacred Heart Cemetery in Paris, and St. Patrick Cemetery in Galt (Cambridge)
  • Part of the team since 1982
  • Can be reached at 519-442-2608
  • Email William (Bill) Templeton

"I take great pride in my job. I know what it's like to lose a family member, so I treat families just as I would my own."

Most rewarding part of the job:"It's the relationships I build with families that make this job so satisfying. I wouldn't trade these experiences for anything. I absolutely love what I do."

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The Catholic Cemeteries Dominic Tersigni

Dominic Tersigni

  • Responsible for Marymount Cemetery and Our Lady Immaculate Mausoleum, and St. Joseph Cemetery, both located in Guelph
  • Spent 23 years as a funeral director before becoming part of The Catholic Cemeteries team in 1995
  • Speaks fluent Italian
  • Can be reached at 519-836-8814
  • Email Dominic Tersigni

"Being a cemeterian can be challenging - but it all adds up to experience. Every day I learn something new about my job and myself. This is what makes our work so unique and exciting."

Skills needed for the job: "Patience is a virtue. I always treat people as I would my own family, beginning with patience."

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