Call Anytime 902-895-5587

Call Anytime 902-895-5587

About Us

Colchester Community Funeral Home prides itself on being Truro’s only 100% family owned and operated funeral home since 1994.

Colchester Community Funeral Home was the first funeral home in Truro to be professionally designed and constructed for the sole purpose of providing funeral services to the community. The end result was a bright, modern, spacious facility opening the doors to the public in February of 1994. Having a building that was designed from the ground up with careful planning has been very rewarding for both the staff working in this environment and the families who have been served over the years.

Colchester Community began its value-oriented funerals with a total of three funeral director/embalmers, Paul Gatchell, the late Milton Hayman, and David Johnson who collaborated as funeral professionals and were excited to bring this new facility to Truro, but more importantly to provide a high quality of caring service to the families they served. The commitment provided by these individuals in the beginning has set the precedent for how funeral services continue to be followed.

In October 2009, Kristell and Michael Collins purchased the Colchester Community Funeral Home from Mr. Paul Gatchell. The whole experience of owning their own business has been both humbling and very satisfying. With over 25 years of combined experience between them in the Funeral Industry they project a kind and genuine personality toward the families served.

Our Directors, Verdell, Kristell, and Michael are always available to answer any questions you may have.


Meet Our Staff


All of our staff members adhere to the highest standard of ethical practices and are committed to ensuring that all of your needs are attended to.

Owner, Funeral Director & Embalmer
Email Michael

Michael is a graduate of the Funeral and Allied Health Services Program class of 1999. He comes from his home of Windsor, N.S. and has been involved in and around the funeral profession for over 25 years now, having been licensed as a Funeral Director and Embalmer for the past 17 years. On April 1, 2008, Michael joined the staff of Colchester Community Funeral Home. He displays a genuine kindness and caring attitude with the families he has the privilege of working with. Michael, along with his wife Kristell, purchased the funeral home in 2009. Michael and Kristell reside in Truro Heights.

Owner & Funeral Director
Email Kristell

Kristell graduated from the Funeral & Allied Health Services Program, Kingstec Campus in June 2005. She has worked at various funeral homes throughout the Annapolis Valley. Kristell, along with her husband and colleague, Michael, purchased the funeral home in 2009. Her kind, caring and gentle nature is appreciated by the families she serves. Kristell enjoys spending time with her family as well as travelling.

Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer
Email Verdell

Verdell Longstaff has twenty eight years experience in the Education Field from teaching high school to College Administration in both Canada and the United States.

Having been an ordained minister, administrator and professor he is an accomplished communicator having presented seminars in various settings for audiences throughout the United States and Canada including Universities, Colleges, church groups and other organizations. His broad range of topics appeal to a variety of audiences and deal with such issues as personal life skills, managerial and employee staff needs, budget considerations, strategic planning development, assessment programs, as well as the development of policy manuals and guidelines, and various retreat topics involving every day living experiences.

Beyond the College setting Verdell also served with the American Association of Bible Colleges as an Accreditation team member serving colleges throughout the United States and Canada.

Verdell hails from New Brunswick originally but currently resides in the Valley with his family and serves as a licensed Embalmer and Funeral Director where he continues to draw upon his past years of expertise as an administrator, educator and clergyman assisting those experiencing death and the grieving process.

Office Administrator
Email Joanne

Joanne was born in Truro, the youngest and only girl with three older brothers. She grew up in North River where she spent most of her time at the Leo Blair ballfield playing softball. She married her best friend, Greg, and moved to the Shortt’s Lake area where they raised two children and a lot of flower gardens. She and Greg have a few hobbies, some of which include woodworking and bicycling.

Joanne has had a variety of occupations including a customer service representative at a bank, as a patient coordinator in a dental office and even as a school bus driver. She is very pleased to be the newest addition to the Colchester Community Funeral Home family.

Staff Support

Kenn has been with the funeral home for over 22 years on a part time basis. He is a very kind and caring person and puts the needs of the families he serves before his own.

Soloist & Staff Support

Anne has been affiliated with Colchester Community Funeral Home since 1995 as a soloist and most recently in the office. She has lived in Truro for over forty years and during that time has been very active in community voluntary service. Anne is on hand to accept donations and is always willing to help our grieving families in any way she can. Anne is involved with Colchester Regional Hospital Auxiliary, past president of the Colchester Regional Hospital Auxiliary and the V.O.N. Board, past president of Immaculate Conception C.W.L. and past president of Provincial Chapter IODE. We are very fortunate to have Anne with us here at the funeral home.

Staff Support

We were happy to have John join our staff in December of 2015. He works here at the Funeral Home on a part-time basis as staff support. He has a caring and approachable personality.

John is involved with a number of community organizations including the Royal Canadian Legion, Air Force Association, Knights of Columbus and is a volunteer in the coffee shop with the Colchester East Hants Health Centre Auxilliary. John is a member of Immaculate Conception Parish, Truro and serves as an animator and usher.

Special Recognition

Office Administrator – Retired

Born in Truro and remaining a life-long resident, Susan has played a vital role as the office administrator for over 17 years here at Colchester Community Funeral Home. Her experience in clerical administration spans a total of over 32 years here in Truro.

Susan’s caring and compassionate nature along with her genuine concern for people make her a valuable member of the funeral home. She is often the first person seen by our families when visiting the office and we couldn’t be more proud to have this exceptional person representing the funeral home.

Funeral Assistant – Retired

Mike was born in Truro, NS and raised in Upper Stewiacke, NS. He has been a long-time resident of Middle Stewiacke, where he continues to reside with his wife Barb.

An engineering technician by profession, Mike has been involved in the funeral industry since 1964 in various capacities. Mike began working for Colchester Community Funeral Home in 1999 and we have been fortunate to still have him with us. Mike is a very capable funeral assistant in all aspects. He can be approached at nearly all funerals and most visitations. Too say his job ends there would not be accurate.  He handles nearly all the behind the scenes activities and can take much of the credit for how wonderful the facility always looks.

Mike has the appearance of a professional who enjoys his position here at the funeral home. A smile greets those he comes in contact with on a daily basis and he always has time to offer a friendly hello.

Former Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer

Nicole grew up in Granville Centre, Annapolis County and graduated from Annapolis West Education Centre in 2009. Following high school she went into the Funeral and Allied Health Services program at NSCC, graduating in 2012, receiving  the Arbor Memorial Ethics Award.  

Nicole obtained her funeral directors and embalmers licenses while working in Stratford, Prince Edward Island for the past three years. She is grateful for the opportunity to return to her home province and looks forward to making Truro her new home. Nicole believes in serving the families of Truro and surrounding areas with respect, dignity, compassion and understanding. Being the rock for her families to lean on during the difficult time of losing a loved one. 

Nicole has always enjoyed giving back to her community through ways of volunteer work. Recently she became a member of the Truro Volunteer Fire Brigade and looks forward to other volunteer opportunities. Nicole is pursuing a career as a Paramedic and is currently enrolled in the Primary Care Paramedic Program in Dartmouth. She still works part time at the funeral home.

Former Founding Director – Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer

A third generation Nova Scotia Funeral Director, Paul began his funeral service career apprenticing under the guidance of both his grandfather and father at Mundle’s Funeral Home in Pugwash, learning the values and sensitivity offered to all the clients they served.

In 1989, Paul purchased Mundle’s Funeral Home, Pugwash from his parents and continued with the traditions that had been established by his family. In 1991, he purchased Coulter’s Funeral Home, Tatamagouche.

Then in 1993, with a great deal of support from the community, he began the construction of Colchester Community Funeral Home in Truro, opening the doors to the public in February of 1994. With the invaluable contributions of both Milton Hayman and David Johnson of Truro, the response and support from Truro and surrounding areas has been humbling and we continue each day to offer courteous services to our clients.

Paul sold both Mundle’s Funeral Home and Coulter’s Funeral Home in 2005 to allow him time, to better concentrate his efforts at Colchester Community Funeral Home. Those valuable lessons taught to him by his family, have been carried forward to the exemplary staff here at the funeral home.

Former Founding Director – Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer


Milton had been a licensed funeral director and embalmer here in Truro for more years than he cared to admit. His dedication and professionalism to the industry was second to none. A warm smile and a friendly story were what usually greeted anyone coming through our doors.

Milton came on board with Colchester Community Funeral Home, prior to the structure even existing.  His input into the design of the funeral home was invaluable.

Milton worked tirelessly for many years here at the funeral home and his teachings have been passed through to all the staff presently serving the community. His memory shall live on through all of us here at Colchester Community Funeral Home and will forever be missed.

Former Founding Director – Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer


David was a graduate of Syracuse University in New York with a degree in their mortuary science program.  

David served the funeral needs of Truro for more than 40 years. One of the founding directors here at Colchester Community Funeral Home, he worked tirelessly in not only the design of the funeral home, but was key in the day to day operation of the facility. Dave had many attributes that made him not only an excellent funeral director, but a wonderful person. He was a very giving individual and put others ahead of himself. He was proud of Colchester Community Funeral Home and will forever be remembered by the staff here as well as the many families he served throughout the years.