Our Story

It’s hard to believe it's been more than a decade since Anna died. Anna was a professional photographer who saw the world through a lens of wonder and gratitude. You would think that every deer, mountain or sunset was the very first she’d ever seen, and that made her a master of her craft.
 
Well, that and the fact that she was a practical and stubborn woman who had very high standards. But her true gift was that she possessed a soft heart for anyone in need. Over her life time Anna took in many strays, myself included.  

 

With great sadness we all watched her slow departure from the world, and eventually grieved her loss. Anna did not appreciate wasted time or wasted money, she valued industry, artistry, and ingenuity, and in this spirit, asked her friends and family to build her a coffin.

 

Gavin being a carpenter, took the lead in organizing the build. Others made the bedding for the inside, choosing a cozy fleece in bright hues, like the ones Anna always wore. People brought food and poured the coffee, the kids buzzed around the edges of the construction, listening to the stories. We all wrote our farewells on the inside of the coffin lid, the smallest of us leaving a print of her hand. Building her coffin became the project that helped all of us connect in our shared sadness.  

 

Since then there have been a few more coffins built, and each one taught us about the value of families taking an active role in the funeral of a loved one. We always marvelled at how a simple coffin can not only be environmentally friendly and economical, but is truly beautiful in its simplicity.  

 

This is why we offer our craftsman-built coffins made from sustainably grown Vancouver Island timber, to help you and your family honour your loved one. Each coffin kit is made in pre-constructed panels for easy assembly, and flat packed for shipping directly to you.

 

Sincerely,

Sita

Gavin Then

Gavin grew up on a farm in north-west British Columbia. He and his five siblings learned early the lessons of working hard, making do with what you had, and especially, taking care of the environment so it could take care of you.  

 

Gavin is a carpenter, specializing in large scale renovations, a challenging business that calls on his creativity to solve the complexities of marrying the old with the new. 

 

Over the years Gavin has built just about everything, including furniture. Making natural wood coffins appeals to Gavin’s practical side, the un-fussiness of a well-made box that’s easy on the environment and beautiful in its simplicity.  

 

Whenever he builds a coffin he puts the same care and attention into its construction as he would a table or chair.  He likes to call the coffins he makes “underground furniture”.  

 

Gavin says that ecologically made coffins are ‘the way to go’.   With that in mind he made Evergreen coffin kits so you could build something special to honour your loved one.  

Sita Then

Sita was born in Toronto but was drawn to north west British Columbia as soon as she finished her degree from the Ontario College of Art and Design in the late 1980’s. The town of Smithers surrounded by mountains and vast forests captured her heart with its warm and creative people who valued an agrarian lifestyle, and where Gavin and his family had lived since the 1940’s.

 

In 2013, Sita and Gavin sold the family farm and with their kids moved to Vancouver Island where Sita is a practicing art therapist (Flourish Art Therapy) with a focus on grief and dying.  

Through Evergreen Coffin Company Sita and Gavin have brought their individual expertises together to offer a gentler and more inclusive option for burials. 

“Remembering and honouring your loved one through a group process like building and decorating a coffin can be very healing, effectively connecting people to each other.  

It allows everyone to participate as they can or as they choose. It give those who are left some control over end of life ceremonies and helps to express feelings and emotions that are often hard to convey.

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© 2020 EVERGREEN COFFIN COMPANY

3850 Royston Road, Royston, British Columbia, Canada  250-792-5892.  evergreencoffins@gmail.com

We respectfully acknowledge that we are standing on the unceded traditional territory of the K’òmoks First Nation.