William James Hayes began the undertaking business on the corners of Main & Centre Streets in 1912. Previously he had worked as a stone mason and plasterer and continued that vocation on the side as the funeral business slowly grew. The first funeral of the fledgling business was conducted on August 2, 1915.
The original funeral home was destroyed by fire in 1921 and subsequently rebuilt at its current location,134 Centre St, in 1922. The building has seen many additions and improvements over the years.
Joining W.J. in the business were his sons, Arthur, in 1943 and Mahlon (Mac) in 1946. Prior to returning to the family business, Mahlon had opened a funeral establishment in Renfrew after returning from his war duties in the Canadian Navy. The senior Mr. Hayes died in 1955 and Mac & Art ran the business jointly until Art's death in 1977.
The ambulance service was another responsibility of the funeral home. The "invalid coach" service as it was known operated until 1978.
By this time the third generation of Hayes', Mac's two sons, Ted & Bruce had begun working in the family business serving the needs of the Pontiac. Ted worked at the funeral home as well as at the local paper mill until his accidental death in 1971. Bruce began driving the ambulance in 1963 at the age of 15 and has been here since. Mac ran the business from 1977 until his death in 1996. The fourth generation, Bruce's son, Greg returned to join the company in 1997 and now operates the business. Greg and his wife Kristine, have 3 sons so hopefully the tradition will continue into the fifth generation.
In early 2014 the business expanded twofold with the acquisition of two funeral homes- one in Fort Coulonge, the other in Chapeau. This now enables Hayes' to provide service throughout the Ottawa Valley.