Team

Tyrel Burton

Tyrel Burton

Owner

Having been raised in a household with a family business in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Tyrel started to work in the family business on weekends from a young age. He appreciated the hard work and dedication it takes to manage and grow a successful family venture and it’s always been his dream to do the same.

In 2004, Tyrel took a sabbatical from pursuing his dream to be in business for himself in a family business. He knew in order to be successful in business in the 21st Century, it would be important to obtain a formal education & foundation in owning and operating a business. Shortly after completing his studies at the University of Manitoba, Tyrel moved to Vancouver in 2006 and enrolled in the Chartered Accountant program at one of the largest accounting firms in Canada.

After practicing as a Chartered Accountant for a number of years, Tyrel felt that the “Corporate” environment of a large international accounting firm lacked the personal touch he was used to while working at his family’s business in Winnipeg.

So, following his dream, Tyrel decided to search out new opportunities. Through family, he was introduced to the owner of Alternatives in 2012. He felt an instant connection to the “family feel” and founding principles of Alternatives and knew then that his career path was about to change.  By mid-2013 Tyrel had joined Alternatives as Managing Director.

On Tuesday, August 1st, 2017, while celebrating Alternatives 25th anniversary, Tyrel purchased the companies and is the new owner of Alternatives.

When he does find time outside the office, he enjoys travelling with his wife, Laine, and exploring his home community in North Vancouver. 

Lawrence G. Little

Lawrence G. Little

Founder, Corporate Director

Lawrence G. Little, founder of Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Services® (the new name for Personal Alternative® Funeral Services), has a distinguished 45-year career in the British Columbia funeral industry.

Lawrence began his apprenticeship in the funeral business in 1971.  After completing a two-year apprenticeship and Mortuary College, Lawrence received his Certificate of Apprenticeship and Certificate of Trades Qualification for "Funeral Directing and Embalming" and was issued his license by the Province of B.C.

In 1980, Lawrence began a six-year term as a Director of the British Columbia Funeral Association and served as Chairman of the Professional Education Committee, the Public Education Committee and Chairman of the Management Committee.  Little has designed and conducted numerous funeral service training seminars and workshops throughout B.C., as well as international seminars for the International Order of the Golden Rule, an affiliation of funeral homes world wide.

Throughout his career, Lawrence has received several "Service Awards" for his contribution to funeral service and had served on numerous government and legislative Advisory Boards spaning his career.

Early in 1987, Little joined a large independent funeral company as their Regional Manager, overseeing the operation of eight funeral home locations, a crematorium, florist shop and monument company.  In 1989, the company was sold to a funeral conglomerate based in the United States.

In April 1992, Lawrence established Personal Alternative® Funeral Services to provide consumers throughout the entire Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley with a comfortable, affordable and common-sense alternative to the escalating costs found in traditional funeral homes and Memorial Societies.

In 2009, Lawrence was elected to the Board of Directors of the prestigious Cremation Association of North America and served 3 years as a Director of the Board.  British Columbia has the largest cremation rate (87%) of any jurisdiction in North America.

In 2011, Little rebranded Personal Alternative® Funeral Services to Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Services®, which serves 1,400 families annually and is the largest family owned funeral home in Western Canada. 

 

Andre Carelse

Andre Carelse

General Manager

Andre joined Alternatives in October 2018, as General Manager of our Funeral Home and Crematorium Operations.

Born and raised in South Africa, Andre was privileged to be integrated into the family funeral home at a young age. After graduating in 1995 it was only natural for Andre to continue serving families in a profession that he finds fulfilling.

Andre and his wife Elaine owned and operated 2 funeral homes in South Africa prior to emigrating to Canada.

In 2008 together with their 2 young children, Andre and his family settled in Salmon Arm, BC where he continued serving families in the funeral profession. Due to international licensing requirements; in 2009 Andre completed his 2-year apprentice program obtaining licences in funeral directing and embalming.

Andre has an entrepreneurial vision; and as society evolves he is constantly searching for alternative ways to better serve families.

Andre has great aspirations for the funeral profession. Leading a team of professionals keeps him motivated and committed to ensuring that families receive service of the highest standards.

Andre has been drawn to the founding principals of Alternatives, ensuring that families continue to have all the options all the time.

Andre and his family enjoy travelling and spending time along the West Coast and in the beautiful BC mountains, as well as supporting their children beside the soccer field.   

Theresa Dovey

Theresa Dovey

Executive Assistant

Theresa joined Alternatives in 2009 as Executive Assistant.

With over 30 years of administrative experience - including a 28 year tenure at General Motors of Canada Head Office - Theresa’s administration skills & talents are invaluable in our very busy office.  

Theresa is married with 2 adult children and enjoys spending time with her family.  Theresa’s favourite pastime is music, playing professionally in her band for the past 14 years.

 

John Romeyn

John Romeyn

Licensed Funeral Director

Family is everything to John. He and his wife Jackie met in grade 4 and have been married 33 years. The Romeyn’s have 3 adult children and one granddaughter (his second love), and one grandson (his new fishing buddy). John enjoys fishing on his time away from work.  John joined in 2000 and stayed through 2006, and rejoined in 2015.  John loves his career as a Licensed Funeral Director and puts his heart into every family he serves.

Martin Scholz

Martin Scholz

Licensed Funeral Director

Martin was born and raised in Port Coquitlam B.C.  He has an extensive knowledge and experience in the health food industry, where he has spent 18 years operating his family owned business. He joined Alternatives in 2011 eager to continue consulting with and serving families in the Lower Mainland. Martin received his Funeral Director license in 2016. 

Martin enjoys spending time with his wife and son, and is active with his many different interests. Whether he is taking a ride on his motorbike on the "Sea to Sky Highway", skiing at Cypress Mountain, or training in Okinawan Goju  Ryu Karate, Martin approaches everything he does with commitment and passion.

Gaymond Wong

Gaymond Wong

Licensed Funeral Director

Born and raised in Vancouver, Gaymond  is a graduate of Simon Fraser University and has a  degree in History and Political Science. He has worked in the funeral profession for 18 years.  Joining the Alternatives team in May of 2016, Gaymond has an amazing personality that makes everyone around him feel welcome. He has been a valuable addition to the company and families we serve. When not serving others, his focus is on a wide selection of popular music and trivia, along with a fondness for non-fiction.

Cody Baker

Cody Baker

Licensed Funeral Director

Donald W. Ross

Donald W. Ross

Licensed Funeral Director

Don Ross has had a stellar career in funeral service for over 50 years. Born in Kelowna, he began his career in the Okanagan, eventually moving to Vancouver.

Much of his career has been spent in furthering the development of funeral services, and was elected President of the BC Funeral Service Association, President of the Funeral Service Association of Canada, and Provincial Representative of the Order of the Golden Rule, an organization of select funeral homes throughout North America.

Don and his wife Shirley both enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.

Megan von Bergermann

Megan von Bergermann

Licensed Apprentice Funeral Director

Originally from Prince George, BC, Megan joined Alternatives in 2018 as an apprentice funeral director and embalmer.  She received her diploma in Law Enforcement Studies at the Justice Institute of British Columbia in 2017 and then pursued her interest in funeral studies by enrolling in mortuary college shortly thereafter.  Megan is currently completing a two-year apprenticeship as a licensed funeral director while she earns her certification and she is passionate about serving the families in the community she loves.  When she is not studying, Megan enjoys camping, live music, and visiting museums and national parks with her husband Matthew and their two young children.

Dwayne Little

Dwayne Little

Financial (Accounting) Administrator

Dwayne was born and raised in Delisle, Saskatchewan and began his retail career in a well established men’s apparel store and then at The Bay in Saskatoon where he developed a sound and disciplined business ethic. He later moved throughout Western Canada, holding senior management positions in Woodward’s, Eaton’s and again at The Bay, this time in Edmonton and then settled in British Columbia in 1991.

Once in British Columbia, he was recruited by a large national retail clothing chain as Western Regional Manager, overseeing the operations of 37 stores between Vancouver Island and Winnipeg. 

Dwayne joined Alternatives Funeral & Cremation® in 2007 as Financial (Accounting) Administrator.

Dwayne enjoys curling and international travel with his husband and often brings their two Shelties to work – much to the delight of the families dropping into the funeral home.

Melissa Matthews

Melissa Matthews

Crematorium Operator

Melissa joined Alternatives in August 2018 as Crematorium Operator.  After working at an emergency animal hospital as a veterinary assistant and many years of being a croupier, Melissa is excited to be a dedicated team member of Alternatives.  Her passions include travelling, animals and playing bass guitar with her band.

Manuela Barkovic

Manuela Barkovic

Office Administrator

Born and raised in Ontario, Manuela's background was in event co-ordination, management, administrative and operations of several prestigious Banquet Halls and industrial companies. In 2006, Manuela moved to British Columbia with her family and has spent the last 11 years raising her children and acting as a supporting partner in her husband's contracting business. As her husband and children are now firmly established, Manuela has chosen to share her 25 years of administrative excellence with our family at Alternatives. Manuela's experience in the service industry combined with her operations background, allow her to offer exceptional support to our team in her role as Office Administrator

Bushra Chaudhry

Bushra Chaudhry

Office Administrator

Originally from Orange County, California, Bushra moved to British Columbia in the latter part of 2013. She is married, has two children and currently lives in Langley. Bushra’s experience in a municipal agency has provided her with a strong background in all areas of office administration. She has completed two years of college course work from a post-secondary institution in California and has 7 plus years of experience providing service to her community.

She loves British Columbia and enjoys the contrast of the greenery and seasons. She is passionate about serving others and some of her other hobbies include yoga, meditation, cooking, gardening and reading.

Her goal is to assist families with the loss of their loved ones with the greatest sense of compassion and empathy.  

Karen Muskovac

Karen Muskovac

Advance Planning Representative

An experienced, compassionate service professional in advanced planning with extensive experience throughout the industry in Western Canada, Karen provides tender advice on end of life options. Karen's professional experience ranges from rest home owner to compassionate counsellor and advanced planning professional.

As a devoted mother of four children, Karen enjoys spending time with her six grandchildren in her spare time.

Henry Mackin

Henry Mackin

Henry joined Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Services® in 2016.

Henry had a thirty-three year career in the forest industry as a customer service representative; which was followed by a brief career as a civil mediator.  

Henry's main focus at Alternatives is serving our cremation families by personally delivering cremated remains to the next-of-kin in the comfort and convenience of their own home. Henry's mediation training and customer service experience have provided him with the empathy and compassion to be effective at this service. Many people have called after meeting Henry to comment about his kind, gentle, and professional demeanor after he as returned their loved one's cremated remains to them. 

In his free time Henry enjoys golfing at Beach Grove Golf Club and volunteering with the “Food on the Corner” organization in Vancouver. Henry and his wife enjoy traveling and love spending time with their friends in Mexico. 

Henry has often said that he finds his position with Alternatives to be very rewarding and is privileged to be part of this outstanding team.