Superior Memorials History
Creating Memories in Stone.
In the early 1920’s, Mr. Carl Heumann came to Canada from Germany and worked for Caspar Braun, a Kitchener stone mason and building contractor. Mr. Heumann was experienced in the manufacture of architectural artificial stone used on buildings. In 1924 he, with capital provided by William Mitchell and M.B. Shantz, formed the company known as Superior Stone Company at 528 Victoria Street North, Kitchener, Ontario.
In 1928, Elven Shantz, brother of MB Shantz, and Alson Weber, a nephew of the Shantz’s, joined the company as employees. In 1931 Mr. Heumann left the company to start a similar operation, located in Kingston, Ont. Elven Shantz became the manager of Superior Stone Co. and Alson Weber was the company’s draftsman.
In 1937, Mr. Mitchell sold the company to four employees: Elven Shantz, Alson Weber, Frank Tremain and Ernie Tremain. Frank Tremain was a skilled granite cutter, so the company soon began to produce granite cemetery memorials as a sideline to the building stone business. Braun Monuments and Twin City Monument Co., local competitors, were purchased by Superior Stone Ltd. in 1941 and 1953. In 1946 Alson Weber’s father, Irvin, joined the company as an employee.
In 1952, the company started to manufacture concrete burial vaults. The vaults are supplied through local funeral directors. This part of the business has grown significantly since 1952.
On the retirement of the Tremains and Elven Shantz, Alson Weber became sole owner of the company in 1962. On his retirement in 1974, the company was purchased by his son, John Weber and an employee, Alex Whorwood.
At that stage, due to changing circumstances relating to production of precast concrete architectural units, the decision was made to discontinue the building stone business in favour of expanding the memorial business.
Decorative precast stone produced by Superior Stone Ltd., can be seen on hundreds of buildings in both southern and northern Ontario. Local examples would be: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, King & Queen Streets, Forest Heights Collegiate, Eastwood Collegiate, Sheppard School, Elizabeth Ziegler School, St. John’s and St. Anne’s RC Churches, Holy Cross Church, K-W Hospital, Kitchener Public Library and many other buildings.
In 1974 & 1976 Superior Memorials expanded by purchasing Farnworth Superior Memorials in Guelph and Dumfries Superior Memorials in Cambridge.
In 1989 Donna & John Weber became the sole owners of Superior Memorials. In 1995 their son, John-Michael Weber, 4th generation joined the company.
In 2002 John-Michael purchased shares from Donna & John Weber and became president of the company. Also in 2002 Superior Memorials expanded into the Harriston area by purchasing Harriston Superior Monuments.
Superior Memorials has won many international memorial design awards. We are members of the American Institute of Commemorative Art, one of only five memorial companies in Canada to qualify. We are also members of the Ontario Monument Builders Association and the Monument Builders of North America.
The upright memorials and lawn level markers designed and produced at Superior are made of granite shipped from Quebec, Newfoundland, South Africa, Vermont, India, Minnesota, Europe and Northern Ontario. At one time all granite carving was done by hand with hammer and chisels. Today, the lettering is done with automatic sandblast equipment and computers. The intricate design work is done with hand-operated sandblasters and pneumatic chisels. Photographic design on memorials is also done by Superior staff. All design work and lettering is done at the Victoria Street North design studio and manufacturing shop in Kitchener.