Standish funeral home officially licensed as Lee-Ramsay Funeral Home
Owner encourages people who prepaid for funeral arrangements to make appointment
STANDISH — The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs officially recognized the former R.O. Savage Funeral Home in Standish as a Lee-Ramsay Funeral Home when it issued the business a license Aug. 20.
Lee-Ramsay Funeral Home owner Dave Ramsay purchased the funeral chapel from Rick Weishuhn, the longtime owner of R.O. Savage Funeral Home who pleaded guilty to embezzlement charges in May.
“As of today, our license was posted online, for the establishment license, and also, last week we were issued a prepaid seller-provider license,” Ramsay told the Independent Aug. 20.
According to Ramsay, in approximately two weeks from the date the license was issued, the funeral home staff would begin meeting with people with prepaid funeral arrangements that were not properly escrowed by Savage. He said the funeral home would assume the roughly $611,000 in prepaid debt owed to an estimated 174 people.
Ramsay said the debt was being assumed not because he condoned what Weishuhn did, but as a way of honoring the community’s wishes.
“The alternative would’ve been that there would’ve been victims,” he said.
On LARA’s website, Standish City Manager and businessman Curt Hillman is listed at the manager and employer at Lee-Ramsay in Standish. He said he would be a hands-on manager, but probably not involved in all of the daily operations.
“I will spend some time there, of course, but day-to-day operations — probably not,” he said. “I certainly will have somewhat of an active part, but how much of that is yet to be determined yet.”
Hillman said he has worked with Ramsay at his Kawkawlin funeral home, Rivertown Funeral Chapel.
Hillman has been licensed in mortuary sciences since 1976 and worked at R.O. Savage when it was owned by Weishuhn’s father.
“I may have left here, but I never really retired from the funeral business, but most people didn’t know that,” he said.
“Curt and I have been friends for 30 years when he was employed here, and we have worked together in those years when he left this establishment, R.O. Savage,” Ramsay added.
“When my partner at Rivertown passed away, Curt became manager at Rivertown,” he said.
Ramsay said he has been an active member in the Pinconning community, where the original Lee-Ramsay Funeral Home is located. He said he is serving or has served on the Lion’s Club, the Pinconning Fire Department, Northern Bay Ambulance and the Chemical Bank Board. Ramsay said he plans on being active in Standish as well.
Hillman said as city manager, he is pleased the community will once again have a local funeral home to turn to.
“It’s nice just to get it back open for the sake of the community,” he said. “I think the town deserves to have a funeral home. People from the town shouldn’t have to drive out of town for a funeral.”
According to Ramsay, the Lee-Ramsay Funeral Home has ties to the Standish community going back more than 70 years. He said Francis Lee, who established what is now Lee-Ramsay in Pinconning, is the son of Floyd Lee, who worked at a funeral home in Standish that eventually became R.O. Savage.
“The origination of Lee Funeral Home came from this establishment, which was Chick Howard’s in the late ’30s, early ’40s,” he said. “Floyd Lee worked for Chick Howard and had the funeral home that became Savage.”
Inside the building, Ramsay and Hillman have made renovations to the chapel.
“We came in and cleaned the building,” Ramsay said. “We put a new lighting system in the chapel. We did plumbing. We fixed the roof.”
“That main chapel is totally redone, other than the carpet hasn’t been changed,” he said. “The wallpaper was ripped off and the walls were painted.”
A drop-ceiling strip through the center of the chapel includes new lighting and a speaker system, Hillman said.
Signage advertising the chapel as Lee-Ramsay Funeral Home has also been applied outside the building.