Funeral home renamed ‘Clark Chapel’ for 25th anniversaryPublished 8:47pm Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Yazel and Clark Chapel has been a Dowagiac institution since its inception in 1933 by Glenn and Lucile McLauchlin.
Over the years the firm has experienced relatively few ownership changes, having been passed down through the McLauchlin family until 1964, when the business transferred to Douglas and Georgia Clark, a long-term associate at the firm.
In 1988, McLauchlin-Clark Funeral Home merged with Starks Family Funeral Homes, but retained its local identity.
According to Tom Starks, president of Starks Family Funeral Homes, “I was relatively young when Doug and Georgia merged with my firm, and although I grew up in the funeral business, there was much I could learn from a caring professional like Mr. Clark. He and Georgia personified the traditional family-owned funeral home. They lived in an apartment above the funeral home and never left the building without someone on-site to answer the phone. Georgia planted flowers and maintained the facility while Doug was the consummate funeral director, meeting with each family and personally attending to every detail.”
Since the 1970s, thousands of family-owned funeral businesses have been acquired by a small group of acquisition companies that operate funeral homes throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.
From 1993 to 2004, an acquisitions company operated McLauchlin-Clark Funeral Home.
The firm returned to local ownership by Starks Family Funeral Homes in 2004.
Tom Starks grew up in a funeral home and for a time he held various positions in corporate funeral service.
Through this experience he learned the importance of family ownership.
“An independent business has only one priority, to serve the families that select us as opposed to investment bankers and stockholders. We believe this keeps our priorities where they should be — with the families we serve,” Starks said.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the merger of McLauchlin-Clark Funeral Home with Starks Family Funeral Homes, the facility is being dedicated to Doug and Georgia Clark by changing the name to Clark Chapel.
“We are very proud of the tradition started by Doug and Georgia over 40 years ago, and it’s important the sign on our front door reflect the names of the people who established the standards we endeavor to maintain today.”
“The well-being of Dowagiac and its residents was always very important to Georgia and me. Serving as the town’s funeral director made my role in the community very personal, and as sad as it was when a friend died, we were honored to assist a family when they selected the Clark Funeral Home. I appreciate Tom’s dedication to honor the funeral home in my name. If I’m remembered in town for anything, I want it to be as a trustworthy and compassionate professional who was always available to help,” Clark said.
Making funeral prearrangements and pre-payment is a very good decision as families benefit from peace of mind as well as locking in at today’s costs.
Over the years, many Dowagiac families have chosen to make funeral prearrangements and pre-payments with Yazel and Clark Chapel.
This name change does not reflect a change of ownership, nor does it impact your funeral pre-arrangements.
Many families have questions about funeral services, funeral costs and cremation services. Families are invited visit Clark Chapel at 405 Center St. in Dowagiac to review funeral prearrangements, get answers to questions and for a personal tour of the facility, or telephone (269) 782-2135.
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