Our Staff

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The caring and experienced professionals at McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel are here to support you through this difficult time.  We offer a range of personalized services to suit your family’s wishes and requirements.  You can count on us to help you plan a personal, lasting tribute to your loved one. And we’ll carefully guide you through the many decisions that must be made during this challenging time.

You are welcome to call us at any time of the day, any day of the week, for immediate assistance. Or, visit our funeral home in person at your convenience.  We also provide a wealth of information here on our web site so you can learn more from the privacy of your own home.

At McKenzies we are proud of our long standing service to the community of Portage la Prairie and area. Our success has been derived from a long line of community minded individuals.  Please read on for a brief overview of the history of what is now known as McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel.

Jeff Dubois

Jeff Dubois

Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer


Amy Chappellaz

Amy Chappellaz

Licensed Funeral Director



Karen Letts

Karen Letts

Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer


Len Essay

Len Essay

Funeral Assistant

Len is our longest serving member of our staff having just passed the 15-year mark. He and his wife Judy will be celebrating 50 years of marriage this summer (2019).  Len and Judy have three sons; Mark (Emily), Don (Lori) and Ken along with 9 grandchildren who light up their lives. 

Len had a long, fulfilling career with Canada Safeway for 36 years.  He is extremely involved with his home community of Oakville. Len was a municipal councillor for the RM of Portage, Village of Oakville for 21 years, he has been a member of the Lions club for over 20 years, served as president of the Oakville Community Club, president of the Oakville Curling club, he was on the board of directors at the Oakville seniors center and notably was a founding member of the Oakville and District Endowment Fund. 

In his spare time Len enjoys curling, golfing and spending time tending to his beautiful yard.  He also enjoys following curling, hockey and football. 

Len is an invaluable part of the McKenzie team.  His friendly face serves a warm welcome to everyone he meets.  We are grateful for his hard work and ingenuity in building items or sharing ideas to make things easier and simpler in our detail oriented work. 



Gerry Gillespie

Gerry Gillespie

Funeral Assistant

Gerry has been working with us for over five years.  Prior to joining us he farmed at Macdonald for over 35 years, retiring in 2013.  Prior to that he worked for Manitoba Hydro for 4 years and was also a winter heavy equipment operator with CFB Portage.  

He was born in Portage and grew up on the family farm.  He moved to Portage in 1995.  Together, he and his wife Barb have three sons; Wade (Cara), Jeff and Gavin (Shayla) along with five grandchildren; Donovan, Jenna, Ethan Jai and Jager.

Gerry is highly involved with sporting community in Portage. He is a member of both the Portage Golf Club and the Portage Curling Club where, in the past, he also served on the Executive.  Currently, Gerry is on the Portage Service for Seniors board of directors.  He also takes advantage any chance he gets to volunteer his time with various Curling events going on in our community. 

In his spare time Gerry enjoys golfing, curling and travelling to many sunny destinations.  But most of all he and Barb enjoy being spectators at their grandchildren’s sporting events and other activities. 

Gerry is a very detail orientated and logical, both qualities that are essential to the work we do.  He makes himself available to help whenever he can and ensures all jobs he has to do are done well.  He is a great story teller which makes him fun to work with. 



Cheryl Nickels

Cheryl Nickels

Funeral Assistant

Cheryl is proud to be born and raised in Oakville and has close ties to the community to this day.  She has been working with us at McKenzies since November of 2016, shortly after retiring from a 40+ year career at Portage Mutual. While at the Mutual she was president of the Staff Association as well as serving on the safety and social committee.  She enjoyed organizing countless events, celebrations and fundraisers.

She is married to her high school sweetheart Dale and together they have three daughters; Stacey, Cari-Ann and Andrea along with five grandchildren who range in age from 18 – 7; Jacia, Raina, Keaton, Owen and Tielan.

She has a volunteer spirit and is highly involved with many different community groups and organizations such as; The Salvation Army, MCC Thrift Store, Sunset Palliative Care and has recently received her 40-year pin for serving on the CWL (Catholic Women’s League) at Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church.  She is a regular visitor to the residents of the Lions Prairie Manor and volunteers at Portage’s many hockey and curling events.  Cheryl is also ready willing and able to help at the events we at McKenzies are involved with like our Tree Dedication ceremony, No Stone Left Alone, Central Plains Challenge Walk and the Salvation Army Kettle campaign. 

In her spare time Cheryl enjoys tending to her yard, crocheting, baking, canning and house work.  She and Dale can also be seen cheering on their grandchildren at all of their school and sporting activities.  She’s an avid sports fan supporting the Portage Terriers, Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Gold Eyes .  She keeps active by walking the walking track at Stride Place and has recently taken up aqua fit. 

Long before she started working with us, we knew what a wonderful person Cheryl is.  She is incredibly thoughtful, hard working, kind and caring towards everyone she meets.  She is clearly a “people person”, a trait perfectly suited for working with the families we serve. 



Dale MacFarlane

Dale MacFarlane

Funeral Assisant


Vi Siemens

Vi Siemens

Office Administration / Pianist


Helen Roy

Helen Roy

Funeral Assistant / Soloist



Toby Trimble

Funeral Assistant


Walter Ewert

Funeral Assistant


Ed Dzikowski

Cemetery and tree care


Dianne Dzikowski

Cemetery and tree care


Barb Gillespie

Cemetery and tree care


Jared Bergen

Support Staff



Nick Plourde

Support Staff



George Baziel

Support Staff and Cemetery Grounds



Along with our Staff we wouldn't be a family without the support of their partner and family.  

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