Stéphanie Côté-Marcoux - President and Funeral Director

Stéphanie Côté-Marcoux

President and Funeral Director

I’m Stéphanie Côté-Marcoux, a licensed funeral director and embalmer. A graduate of the Funeral and Mortuary Science Program at Collège Rosemont, I have also studied business administration at HEC and project management at McGill University. I have provided funeral services in the West Island of Montreal and the surrounding area for over 20 years, serving hundreds of families and their loved ones.

I founded Voluntas in 2007 in order to have the freedom to serve customers the way they want to be served. Our dedication to be open and transparent in everything we do is greatly appreciated.

I have always believed that my mission is to provide humanitarian support to help grieving individuals gently through the transition period after losing someone they love. With my many years of experience, organizational skills, meticulous attention to detail and network of associates, I can help you to create meaningful and personal celebrations of life. Planning and coordinating a gathering can be difficult at such an emotional time. Rely on me to provide the support you need so that you can concentrate on being with those you love.

I often tell those I serve: “I’ll be your best friend and ally in the days ahead.”

Denis J. Marcoux - Funeral Director

Denis J. Marcoux

Funeral Director

For 40 years, the past 20 on the West Island, I’ve had the privilege of serving grieving families. Over the years, I’ve seen many changes in what families need and want. Families today don’t want a generic funeral – they want a memorial that really reflects the person and is truly meaningful.

I’m a licensed embalmer and a member of the Quebec Funeral Standards Committee. I have been involved in the community for many years, notably as outgoing president of the West Island Palliative Care Residence and leader of a bereavement support group. I believe that the Voluntas concept is an innovative and positive solution, and I’m proud to be part of the Voluntas team.

Lynn Brown-Poole - Communication & Customer Service Specialist

Lynn Brown-Poole

Communication & Customer Service Specialist

Lynn is a Communication & Customer Service Specialist at Voluntas. Her strong interpersonal and communication skills come from her years employed as a Senior Executive in sales and marketing for a large international corporation. She is a respected team leader who nurtures, motivates, and empowers high performing, productive teams. She also possesses solid entrepreneurial skills having built a successful business start-up.

As an avid reader, it was the love of reading that led her to start writing. And, once she started, she was hooked! She writes both non-fiction and fiction, but it is the thrill of creating a story simply from one’s imagination that really excites Lynn.

It only takes a one-word prompt and my brain is off to the races thinking of all sorts of possible storylines. My best imagining is when I’m driving home after my creative writing workshop. It is not unusual to see me laughing alone in my car as I come up with all sorts of amusing and sometimes twisted ideas. Wink.”

A strong believer in community, Lynn is also an active volunteer with Literacy Unlimited, a community organization dedicated to changing lives through improved adult literacy.

Donna Olinik - Receptionist & Hostess

Donna Olinik

Receptionist & Hostess

In May 2018, I was happy to be invited to join Voluntas and become a member of this wonderful team.

Born and raised in Montreal, I have worked in customer-related fields for a variety of companies including a Telephone Company, Butcher Shop, Car Dealership, Church and now a Funeral Service. While travelling along the road of my career, I’ve been very active in the community as I have always loved to help others.

When my Dad suffered from a stroke, I began investigating healing modalities and subsequently studied to become a Healing Pathway Practitioner. This is a Christian-based healing modality with the aim of restoring balance and harmony within an individual’s energy system and thus enabling the self-healing of an individual.

I am also a Registered Certified Reflexologist.

I wear many hats, depending on the time of day or week.  I am a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and primary caregiver for my Mom.  I volunteer for Karnak Shriners by organizing drivers to pick up children travelling to Montreal to receive treatment at the Shriner’s Hospital for Children – Canada.  I love to sew and watch movies.

Working for Voluntas gives me the opportunity to add you to my list of people that I may have the opportunity to support to the best of my abilities.  I look forward to meeting you.

Michael

Michael "Mike" Olinik

Funeral Service Assistant

Molie Filiatrault-Asselin - Customer Service Administrative Assistant

Molie Filiatrault-Asselin

Customer Service Administrative Assistant

Johanne Brunet & Serge Aumais - Janitorial Team

Johanne Brunet & Serge Aumais

Janitorial Team

Gabrielle Marcoux - Customer Service Administrative Assistant & Hostess

Gabrielle Marcoux

Customer Service Administrative Assistant & Hostess

Having both my parents work in the funeral industry, it seemed natural to start working at Voluntas. I had seen both my parents, but especially my mother, Stéphanie poor her blood, sweat and tears into founding Voluntas and bringing it to where it is now. Seeing her work countless hours was really inspiring and I aspire to become as invested in my career as she is. She built this company and it is stil HER company. She serves clients with grace and compassion and even the smallest actions, such as writing personalized letters to every client, can have the biggest impact.

I am passionate about sciences and seek to further my education in that field. Medicine is my ultimate goal, but food sciences bring out an interest that I have not had for many subjects. I am gaining both administrative work and human relations skills as I work at Voluntas. Human relations are not my strong suit, but I try to get better every time I answer the phone or meet a customer.

I enjoy the feeling of doing work that means something to others. Families trust us entirely and we do work that impacts a period of life that can be stressful, devastating and difficult to deal with. That is to me the most rewarding feeling. Seeing the families relieved and happy. Funerals where people mingle, laugh and eat, all while mourning are by far the most wonderful thing I’ve seen in the time I’ve been working at Voluntas.

Annie-Rose Marcoux - Hostess

Annie-Rose Marcoux

Hostess

Filou - Pet Therapist

Filou

Pet Therapist

Hello! I’m Filou, the pet therapist. Read my blog!

 

Julie Grammond - Funeral Director 2014-2020

Julie Grammond

Funeral Director 2014-2020

 

After more than six years of dedicated service to the families served by Voluntas, Julie has decided to explore new horizons. Her last day at work was July 26, 2020.

The adventure began in the autumn of 2013, when as an apprentice funeral director, Julie met Stéphanie. Their friendship began in the lab looking after deceased. Most embalmers wear shoes while embalming, Julie wore rubber boots. These boots eventually were discarded to her delight.

We were involved in many firsts and unusual circumstances:
• Julie received her embalmer’s licence.
• Then, her driver’s licence, accompanied by learning to drive the utility vehicle. The stress level related to damaging the car was accompanied by tears, as we later learned.
• She was a witness and party to the growth and evolution of the company, from a small boutique in Kirkland to the present location in Dollard-des-Ormeaux.
• The challenges involved in finding a new site for Voluntas, the acquisition, renovations and adjustments.
• Julie had the ability to retain clients in a very competitive market. All these families never regretted their choice.
• She supported me throughout my mother’s illness and eventual her death.
• The death of our dear colleague and friend Carol-Lynn Chayer.
• She acted as webmaster and social media expert. A talent she learned on her own and excelled at.
• She was a great administrative help with her inventory control and CNESST training and procedures.
• Her considerable role in managing projects such as the Distinction accreditation and implementation of the procedure manual.
• The enthusiastic involvement in installing a beehive on Voluntas grounds.
• During the Covid-19 pandemic she continued to offer support even though she had already announced her departure.
• And of course, her community involvement, and her incredible gift of a singing voice. When singing in groups, she always held back so as to not being the centre of attention. She sang with the Lakeshore Light Opera, Ste-Anne’s Singers, and also for the West Island Palliative Care Residence. She made friends everywhere especially with those working close to her, such as Café Maurizio and other businesses in the area.
• But foremost was her unwavering dedication towards families. Even when the tasks and challenges were important, she did what had to be done.

Among the many attributes we will miss:
• Her wonderful sense of humour and her wit.
• The dark mode on her computer, nobody would bother looking over her shoulder.
• Her singing while walking the hallways.
• Her mouthing “pop pop” sounds as she checked the telephone reception.
• Even though we did not always agree, we loved debates and discussions with her.
• Her ability to save palliative plants.
• Filou, our comfort dog, running towards her for her tender attention.
• Her animated description of her cat Otcho.
• Her care of the garden, harvesting vegetables, and ecologically chasing pests.
• Her sharing of news and gossip.
• And many more quirky but loving attributes.

Julie, even though you leave Voluntas, you will always be considered part of the Voluntas family. My daughters Gabrielle and Annie-Rose, Denis and myself, have probably spent more time with you than with our own families.

I wish you much joy in your new endeavours. Thank you for all you have done for Voluntas, and for me.

With gratitude,

Stéphanie Côté

 

In loving memory of Carol-Lynn Chayer - 1965-2018

In loving memory of Carol-Lynn Chayer

1965-2018

There are people who make a major impact when they enter into our lives. The relationship began in 2002 when Carol-Lynn and Stéphanie met at the funeral of a family member. It was winter 2012, at another memorial service this time for the mother of her friends, they renewed their acquaintances.

Stéphanie then asked Carol-Lynn to join our small Voluntas team.  At first, she assisted the fledgling organization by accomplishing various tasks around the office. Her ability to greet and connect with families at the office and especially at commemorative events became an indispensable attribute. With her warm and contagious smile, her compassion, her listening skills, her impeccable appearance, her joie de vivre and sense of humour, grieving families were immediately put at ease and comforted in these difficult circumstances.

Following her first bout of cancer, she returned to work with renewed energy as she embraced her role by bringing peace in our work environment and an increased desire to accompany grieving families.

Carol-Lynn, you brought much joy in our lives. When we think of you, we can’t help but smile even as we shed tears. We think of you often, especially when we walk in the forest, when we enjoy salt and vinegar chips, when we read environmental and health related articles, but especially when we are serving families in need.  Every year when clearing spider webs in front of our office, we recollect the day, when hundreds of little Spidermen descended upon you. You’ll be pleased to know that we have discovered a new and more ecological alternative solution to the spider problem. You will always be in our thoughts, as we share stories and sometimes laugh at those comical moments we experienced together, as we continue to serve grieving families as you would, with affection and compassion. Be assured we will continue to maintain ties with your family, Guillaume, Nicolas and Alexandre.

Your Voluntas friends forever

 

Here is a text written and read by her husband, Guillaume Hervé, at the celebration of her life.

 

…As an introvert, Carol-Lynn picked one of the most difficult jobs: working with families and large groups to ensure their funeral or commemoration services were done with the utmost respect and compassion and occurred without a single glitch. To truly understand Carol-Lynn, you would have to assist to one these events – like this one – when she was hosting. Which I did on two occasions when they were short on staff.

If she had been running this event, she would have prepared well ahead of time and rehearsed all the steps to ensure everything was well prepared in advance. She would show up early for the set up to make sure the space represented the wishes of the family. She might have prepared the transfer of the ashes into the urn as if it was her most beloved person that had been cremated.

Then, Carol-Lynn would have greeted us all with a warm and compassionate smile, as if she had known these strangers all her life, she would spot a grieving person and quietly walk over and kindly offer a Kleenex, a hand or a hug, she would stay and listen to the ceremony and eulogy to understand the life that was lived and give her own goodbyes to this stranger she had adopted for the day.  She would wait until the very last person left before touching anything to ensure all had the time to grieve.

She would come home and speak to me about these ceremonies and how grateful she felt of being a witness.  She would insist on taking part in the most difficult events: The passing of a young child or a suicide or a tragic death. I guess she knew this is where people would need the most support.

When I or her colleagues or the family she served told her how great she was, she would be embarrassed and say she did what anyone else would have done. She was humble to a fault.

To see her eulogy published in newspaper: https://voluntas.ca/fr/necrologies/chayer-carol-lynn/