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Our History

Family Owned Since 1952

/SkinnerFuneralHome/EatonRapidsHistory.jpgIn January 1952, Max and Connie Skinner purchased the Beashore residence located on River Street in Eaton Rapids where Skinner Funeral Home still stands today. It was there that they began their new business and started their family. Max had just graduated from Wayne State University’s Mortuary Science Unit in Detroit, MI and subsidized his new business by working as a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Eaton Rapids, as well as operating the local ambulance service.

Living in the funeral home was often difficult, especially while raising two children. Furniture was moved out and part of the residence was transformed to a funeral home for each service.

In 1963, the Skinners purchased the Milbourne Home (built by the Kositchek family) next door, on the corner. The family moved into the house and the original home was used entirely for the Funeral Home. The large spacious chapel, which connects the residence to the funeral home, was added in 1968. Also in 1968, the City of Eaton Rapids took over the ambulance service.

Max and Connie’s son, Larry, married Jill Cleeves in 1978. Larry went on to attend Worsham College of Mortuary Science located in Chicago, IL. In 1980 he graduated with honors. Larry took his knowledge and teachings back home to work side by side with his father. In 1983 Larry and Jill purchased the funeral home from Max and Connie who both continued to have an active role in the business.

While raising their three children over the years, Larry and Jill worked tirelessly to grow and update the funeral home making the facilities more accessible and public friendly. These renovations included purchasing adjacent property for additional parking. They also modified the funeral home to be handicap accessible, expanded the foyer and improved the outside appearance. Together they have committed themselves to providing exceptional facilities that are warm and welcoming.

In 1993 Max and Larry were approached with an opportunity to assist a Lansing funeral home that was in need of a funeral director.

 

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Chapel in the Pines Funeral Home was founded in 1980 by Jake and Pat Bliesner. Together they ran the business for a short time before Jake’s passing in 1985. At that time, Pat took on all managerial responsibilities with the help of an assistant, Bill Sherman. The funeral home needed a director’s license to hang in the building in order to operate. With Max having a license that was not in use the two parties worked out a deal in 1993 that made Max Skinner the licensed funeral director for Chapel in the Pines Funeral Home. This business decision would ultimately change the future of both funeral homes.

In March of 2007, Larry and Jill’s two boys, Nathan and Jonathan both graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science. Upon moving back from Chicago they were both eager to make their mark on the business and the Skinner name.

Shortly after fulfilling their apprenticeships, The Skinner’s were presented with an opportunity to expand the business. In October of 2007 Pat Bliesner decided it was time to retire and sold Chapel in the Pines Funeral Home to the Skinner family.

The Skinner’s updated Chapel in the Pines Funeral Home with a new casket display room. They also added a new foyer and remodeled both the men’s and women’s bathrooms. In August of 2012 the name Chapel in the Pines was changed to Skinner Funeral Home of Lansing.

The Skinner family is continually challenging themselves to strive for excellence in the funeral industry. Using core principles adopted by their founder, Max Skinner, holding themselves to the highest ethical and professional standards. The Skinner family takes great pride in their heritage that is evident in each family served.

Eaton Rapids has been home to Skinner Funeral Home since 1952 and with that comes a greater responsibility to their families and their community. The Skinner family focuses much of their time and energy towards community building. The Skinner’s are members of the Eaton Rapids Historical Society, Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club, The Eaton Rapids Development Corp., Executive Board Member of the Chamber of Commerce, as well as volunteers for the Special Olympics, Relay for Life, and Meals on Wheels. The Skinners look forward to building the Lansing area community with their volunteer time and efforts.

Skinner Funeral Home was founded on strong core principles that place service over self. These framework values will continue for generations to come. Here at Skinner Funeral Home we are dedicated to providing meaningful services to honor those that have passed while doing whatever it takes to enrich the lives of others.