Business in Focus: Wymans expand funeral services to Ludington

February 20, 2012

Sherry and Randy Wyman in the Ludington planning center

By ROB ALWAY

mcp.com editor

 

LUDINGTON – A Scottville tradition has now expanded into Ludington. Wyman Funeral and Cremation Services, owners of Stephens Funeral Home, has opened a planning center at 510 E. Ludington Ave., the former location of Snyder Insurance.

 

We felt we needed to have a presence here in Ludington,” Randy Wyman said. “With Dorrell’s Funeral Home closing and Alexander-Rye sold to a company in Whitehall, there was no local presence here in town.

 

People throughout western Michigan are familiar with the Stephens Funeral Home name, especially those with roots to Scottville and eastern Mason County,” Sherry Wyman, Randy’s wife and business partner said. “Our presence here will allow for easier access to Ludington residents.”

 

 

Dr. Foster's medical practice, now Stephens Funeral Home in Scottville

Stephens Funeral Home began in the early 1900s as the Billington and Benson Funeral Company of Free Soil. In the early years, funeral homes were often part of a furniture store or livery company. Funeral practices included reposing the body at the family home for a few days before moving to the local church for services, then onto the cemetery for burial. Embalming was not standard during that time.

 

In 1916, Rupert Stephens of Free Soil purchased the funeral business from P. Billington and C.C. Benson and changed the name to Stephens and Benson Company. In 1917 the name was changed again to Stephens and Sons Funeral Company as Rupert’s son, Lloyd, joined him in the business. Two years later the business was moved to downtown Scottville, where they operated both a furniture store and funeral business.

 

Funeral practices were beginning to change with embalming becoming a more standard practice, and reposing of the body at the funeral parlor, rather than at home.  As the need for more space became necessary, the funeral business changed its location in Scottville to a couple of locations until the 1930s, when Rupert and Lloyd purchased the home and office of Dr. Thomas Foster at 305 E. State Street. They added a new chapel and the Stephens Funeral Home relocated to is current site.

 

 

Wyman's planning center, 510 E. Ludington Ave., Ludington

In the 1940s, Rupert was elected as a representative to the State of Michigan House of Representatives, which opened the door for the third generation of Stephens family to join the business when Lloyd Jr. received his mortuary science license in 1949.  In the 1960s, Lloyd Sr. again followed his father’s path, and was elected as a state senator. Lloyd Jr., known as “Stevie” to all, continued to run the funeral home until 1979, when partner Jim Maher became involved with the business.

 

Like the Stephens’, the Wymans are also are a multi-generational funeral business family. Randy grew up working in his father’s funeral home in Grand Rapids, and eventually Clare. His father, Lawrence, still operates the Clare funeral home along with Randy’s brother, Lawrence Jr.

 

I wasn’t going to get into the funeral business,” Randy said. “I was in college studying medicine when I felt God calling me back into the funeral business. It was the first time I had real peace, knowing what I was suppose to do. I know that I have been called into the funeral service business to serve people. That’s what’s really important to us.”

Randy and Sherry were close friends in high school.

 

I knew what I was getting into when we got married,” Sherry said. “I knew that family was key to running a quality funeral service.”

 

Randy graduated from Wayne State University in 1986 and worked in the Grand Rapids area until 1999 when he and Sherry desired to return to a smaller community to raise their family. That year, they became partners in Stephens, completely purchasing the business in 2007 adding the name Wyman Funeral and Cremation Services.

 

The Ludington office is only a planning center. Funeral home services will still be held in Scottville or at other locations.

 

For many years there was the trend to hold the funeral over several days with visitations taking place at least a day before the service,” Randy said.

 

There is now a trend of holding everything in one day. If I was to rebuild, I would not build a large facility but would instead encourage families to hold services in their churches. I am a strong proponent of holding funerals at churches,” Randy said. “Churches are sacred places as funerals are sacred events.

 

Randy and Sherry have four children, each have been active in the funeral business and in the community. Oldest son, David, is a law enforcement officer. Their oldest daughter, Bethany, is a paramedic and their other daughter, Rebecca, is a student at West Shore Community College. Youngest son, Douglas, is a sophomore at Mason County Central High School.

 

We believe it’s important to serve in the community we live in,” Sherry said. “We are called to serve people and both of grow up learning to serve our fellow man. Sometimes that means personal things take a back seat. If there is a family in need, you drop everything because they need something. You take care of the people who are around you.”

 

Randy and Sherry are very active in the community and the funeral industry. This year, Randy is serving as president of the Michigan Funeral Home Directors Association. He has also served on the Scottville Planning Commission. Sherry has been chairman of Scottville Main Street, is on the board of directors of Ludington and Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce and is on the Mason County Central board of education. They are also active members of Mason County Reformed Church.

 

We hope we have passed those values onto our children. We have always encouraged them to get involved with school and the community. They have grown up seeing some of the hard things people have faced.”

 

Wyman Funeral Services is the exclusive area providers of the Life Story experience.  A Life Story Service is about remembering and sharing memories and stories, having a tangible keepsake to pass down to future generations.

 

Every day we’re helping people capture and preserve their own stories. Working with professional writers and graphic designers, we quite literally tell the life story from birth to death. This story is written down and shared in a comprehensive multi-media presentation that includes a four-page full color Memory Folder, personal thank you cards, a DVD with the digital film presentation, an interactive personal webpage and a unique and memorable Life Panel,” Sherry said. “The touching result is a service with real meaning, using personal stories and details, shared using a mix of technologies that make it possible to keep alive the memories and impact of the life lived and loved.

 

All services are handled with great care and attention to detail.  It is our privilege to get to know the families we serve.”

 

Wyman Funeral and Cremation Services

Stephens Funeral Home

305 E. State Street

Scottville, MI 49454

231.757.3333

 

Planning Center

510 E. Ludington Ave.

Ludington, MI 49431

231.613.5154

 

email: [email protected]

www.stephensfuneralhome.net

 

 

 

 

Help Fund Local News

Please consider helping us keep local news active by sending a PayPal payment.

Area Churches

Subscribe to MCP via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 21,514 other subscribers