Walker-Martin Funeral Home
One of Michigan’s oldest funeral homes, the Walker Funeral Home was established in 1856 by O. F. Walker. He was a carpenter and cabinet-maker by trade who started out providing handmade coffins, and he gradually became involved in the undertaking business.
The original furniture store and undertaking business was located where the Malt Shop now stands. In 1884 O. F. Walker built one of Chesaning’s first brick buildings to house his growing business.
His son, W. B. “Bert” Walker, joined the business in the early 1890’s. Bert received his Embalmer’s License from the Michigan Department of Health in 1901. One of the very first licenses issued in the state, the license numbered 15, still hangs in the funeral home today.
They worked side by side until O. F. Walker’s death in 1909. Bert and his wife, Nellie, moved the business into their home shortly after Bert’s death. The business is still located there today.
Bert Walker died in 1936, at which time the business was passed to a third generation when Frank B. Walker, O. F. Walker’s nephew, took control of the family business. F. B. Walker ran the business for over 20 years before he sold it to Raymond J. and Mary Martin in 1959. Ray and Mary still resides in Chesaning. In 1983 he sold the funeral home to his son, Daniel R. and Laura Martin.
Whelpley-Martin Funeral Home
The O’Hare Family established the funeral business in New Lothrop. Raymond and Eva O’Hare ran the business successfully for more than 35 years. Ray O’Hare died in June of 1968. Eva O’Hare sold the business October 1, 1969 to Thomas and Pearl Whelpley. They were owners and operators of the small business until it was sold to Daniel R. and Laura Martin in 1988. Tom continued to serve as Manager at the New Lothrop chapel location until his death April 24, 2006. Tom’s wife Pearl still resides in New Lothrop.