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
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.
I was a bookseller for nearly a decade. When a friend of mine fell seriously ill, I began to think about the inevitability of death, and in my distress, I kept thinking that if he died, there would probably be a stranger taking care of him. The day after he was diagnosed, I enrolled in the funeral service program, with just one idea in mind: to reassure other people who were grieving by offering compassionate, understanding service, giving them the knowledge that their loved ones will be treated in a dignified and respectful manner. I crossed paths with Stéphanie in 2013, while I was in my last year of funeral direction studies at Rosemont College. I took my training with Voluntas, and I never left…
At Voluntas, I do exactly what I went back to school to do: guide you through your darkest days. Very few people are fortunate enough to find a company that exactly matches their values right after leaving school. I feel extremely privileged to have found my mentor here. At Voluntas, my listening skills and my creativity are at your service, so I can pinpoint your needs and suggest options to help you find a significant way of remembering the person you love. I’m analytical by nature, so I’m a quick study, and my attention to detail means you can rest assured that all the organizational procedures will be taken care of. Working in a business where the staff is a second family means we’re all working together on the same wavelength, and we can rely on each others’ strengths. I’m glad to add more strings to my bow by keeping up with the latest developments in the field so I can really be there for you, whatever you may need. Most of all, I’m glad to be the person you’ll come to know and trust to take care of the person you love.
I have the great good fortune of being able to pursue my passions while giving to others: my voice, my active listening, my involvement. I was a classical singer in the past, and when I came here I discovered the Lakeshore Light Opera and then Sainte-Anne Singers – the start of a long and fruitful love story, as the arts and the helping professions go hand in hand. I believe that community involvement is the best way to discover the soul of a neighbourhood. In the years ahead, I hope to get to know all the cultural and other benefits of the West Island and surroundings. There’s so much green space here, so many interesting small businesses and associations. I’ve only just seen the tip of the iceberg, so if you have some special places, events or activities to share, please come by and see me!
Natasha Gonzalez Vilchis
Apprentice Funeral Director
By the end of my second year in the Funeral and Mortuary Science Program at Collège Rosemont I had the luck of discovering and joining the Voluntas team as an apprentice funeral director. Having lived in the West Island for the last 8 years, I had no idea that such a great company existed so close to home!
Before settling for a career in funeral services, I had the chance to explore multiple career choices because of my studies, one thing I found is that I’ve always been drawn towards vocations aligned with my values of integrity, creativity, compassion and innovation. I had previously studied in social sciences and social services which consolidated my desire of wanting to help people. However, I often found that those subjects lacked in manual and practical work, which I also enjoyed doing. I found that the funeral service program merged all my interests and would allow me to use my previous knowledge of psychology and sociology, as well as my creativity in order to help families.
I’m incredibly grateful to have found a business that encompasses all of my values, and also proud to be part of such an amazing team of passionate, empathic people who always do their best to offer you attentive and personalized services during your difficult times.
I hope to be of service or to support you during your loss and even beyond that. No matter what you’re going through, I believe I’m a good ear and a steady shoulder whenever you’ll need one. Any other time, you can always drop by to practice your Spanish with me, share your recipes or your crafting ideas; I’ll always be happy to see you.
Administrative Support & Receptionist
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.
Assistant Funeral Director
As an Assistant Funeral Director at Voluntas, I perform a variety of tasks including preparing the gathering grounds prior to a service, arranging floral offerings, greeting and escorting mourners and transporting the deceased to the funeral home. I also fulfill many other functions during funeral services in order to assist the Directors and to ensure that services run smoothly and as planned.
That being said, let me tell you why life has been preparing me for this specific position. I just might be living proof that life works in a mysterious way.
Since I was young, I had my heart set on art, design and photography. I studied at John Abbott College in Creative Arts, College Marsan’s Commercial Photography and I also took some extra courses at l’UQAM in Industrial Design. It goes without saying that these skills can be very useful and I’m always happy to help out with special requests at Voluntas.
Following my education, the search for monetary stability eventually veered my path toward the corporate world, where I worked for almost ten years as a Damage Insurance Broker and a First Response Claims Representative. During those years, I learned a great deal about administration, legal policies, professionalism, the art of listening, compassion for those in need, and most of all, about life and where I stand amongst all things.
One day on a hiking trip in Iceland, I decided that it was now time for a major life change and perhaps the perfect moment for a well-deserved break. I needed to check off some boxes on that bucket list of mine. My career didn’t feel as motivating or fulfilling as that of my friend, a Funeral Director. He was always very passionate and fulfilled with his work and I admired the way he made a difference in peoples’ lives on a daily basis.
That being said, 2018 found me travelling around the world for almost six months visiting six continents and fourteen countries. Little did I know that it would be the beginning of a new journey, one that would see me as an Assistant Funeral Director rather than an Insurance Broker.
Returning from my trip and in the West Island where I had grown up, the stars aligned in a way that nobody other than God could have predicted. Out of the blue, a loved one told me that I should get in touch with the wonderful Stéphanie Côté. No need to tell you what happened next. Thanks to Stéphanie and the team, I am now looking forward to writing the rest of my story as a contributing member of Voluntas.
An unknown story lies before me. One with many chapters. But I am certain, this new chapter will find me thankful that I can use my years of experience to assist my Voluntas colleagues in supporting the families we serve in a meaningful and caring way. Ultimately, my goal is to ensure that all services are a little easier for our families so that they may have peace of mind throughout their grieving process.
And that is why life works in mysterious ways. It has the power to bring you back where it wanted you all along, all in due time.
In loving memory of Carol-Lynn Chayer
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://www.voluntas.ca/fr/necrologies/chayer-carol-lynn/