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About Us

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Our History

We stand behind our reputation and will continue to serve our community with the values instilled by our funeral directors.

Caring Enough to Try

We strive to remember that everything we do is intended to benefit you and your family.

There is nothing more important to us than to:

  • Help families make well-planned preparations in their time of need.
  • Provide a comfortable environment where people can gather to honor the life of a loved one.
  • Encourage the time and place for gathering and telling our stories.
  • Preserve longstanding traditions and customs.
  • Develop unique ways to commemorate a special individual.
  • Offer personalized and affordable services and products. Reach out to the greater community.

​We want to assist you and your family and extend to you and your loved one the respect and dignity that you and your family desire and deserve.

No one can ever make this experience easy. But we will do everything possible to make it as simple as possible. We ask only that you allow us the honor and privilege of helping you and your family.​

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Our Guiding Principles

Since our founding, the guiding principle of Wagner Family Funerals has been the commitment to treating each family who comes to us as our own. With sincerity, pride, and dedication, we are committed to this time-honored tradition.

Our family opened the doors of the funeral home years ago. Our reputation for providing the highest quality of service grew, and today we are privileged to serve hundreds of area families each year.

In recent years, we’ve gathered together a staff of highly-qualified and deeply caring individuals to assist us in continuing the funeral home’s mission of providing excellence in service to families in their time of need.

Whether you have an immediate need for our services or you wish to begin pre-planning a funeral arrangement for you or someone you love, call us. We will be proud to serve you.

Our Story Begins. . .

The funeral homes of Cassopolis and Three Oaks are once again under the ownership of one family, just as they had started out. When they began the funeral homes were run by two members of the Connelly family. William owned and operated the funeral home in Cassopolis and his brother, Howard, owned and operated the funeral home in Three Oaks.

William H. Connelly was born in 1885 on the family farm on Union Road in Calvin Township, the second of four children born to Thomas Jefferson Connelly and Carrie Euans Connelly. With no more than an 8th grade education, William, known as "Billy," moved to Cassopolis and began working with a business man from Chicago, Illinois, named Oscar Northrop, in Northrop Livery and Undertaking.

In 1910 Billy purchased the business from Mr. Northrop. J.J. Fisher also had a furniture and undertaking business in Cassopolis as well. There were no actual funeral homes at that time. Funerals and visitations were held in churches or at the family home. Embalming was most often performed in the home as well, usually in the bed of the deceased. In many small towns, the funeral director also owned a furniture store, since wooden caskets almost qualify as furniture.

The William H. Connelly Furniture store was located on South Broadway Street, across the alley from Hayden Hardware. The hardware store is still operating today, although the building housing the furniture store and the several buildings behind it used for storage have all since been demolished for use as parking lots. The furniture store closed in the 1960's.

In 1930 Billy purchased a home form Dr. Tompkins at 202 North Broadway Street that became the first actual funeral home in Cassopolis that continues to this day as the only funeral home in the center of Cass County. In the early thirties a large porch was added to the south side that is still used as a conference room today. In 1948, with the development of the Ambulance service a large, five bay garage was added to the rear of the building. The upstairs of the addition housed the casket selection room, a feature that was becoming increasingly popular in "modern" funeral homes.

After serving in World War II, Thomas L. Connelly, joined the firm in 1947 and worked until his death at age 69 in 1990. William died in 1965 at age 80. Tommy added the chapel to the north side of the building in 1967. Thomas' son, Gregory T. Connelly, began working at he funeral home when he was just big enough to put away chairs after funerals. He fondly recalls being thrilled to be paid a quarter by his grandfather for completing that job.

After graduating from Wayne State School of Mortuary Science in Detroit, Greg joined the firm as a licensed funeral director in 1975 and continued the family tradition until his retirement in 2010, 100 years after William Connelly's founding of the firm. William's younger brother, Howard Connelly, moved to Three Oaks, Michigan and purchased the Holden residence at 106 Ash Street East, and began another Connelly Funeral Home. He eventually sold the firm to Vern Noble, who, upon his retirement, sold the company to Chris and Linda Pobocik.

​Eugene and Lois Wagner, both natives of Detroit, Michigan, purchased the Cassopolis funeral home in 2010 and continue to live in the building. In 2015, they were able to also acquire the Three Oaks location, once again placing both funeral homes back under the same family ownership, just as they had been originally. 

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The Wagner “dynasty” of funeral service began in Detroit, Michigan March 21, 1931, the twenty-first birthday of Loren A. Wagner. That was the day he received his funeral director and embalmer licenses. It was also the day he went into business for himself, a pattern that would be repeated by his son and grandson.

Loren A. as he would affectionately become known, moved to what was then the outskirts of the big city on Harper Avenue, between East Outer Drive and Chalmers Avenue. Funeral Parlors, as they were often known at the time, were little more than a storefront with an office, an embalming room, and a place to store the equipment used in house funerals on the first floor and an apartment for the funeral director on the second floor.

Within a few years, as the number of families served continued to increase, Loren A. relocated around the corner to a large two story, two flat house, using the first floor for the visitations and funerals that were increasingly being held in “Funeral Homes” and the second floor flat for his family’s residence.

With the construction of the I-94 freeway through the center of Detroit in the early 1950’s, the Wagner Funeral Home relocated again. Moving five blocks north, from the corner of Chalmers Avenue and Hern Street, to the corner of Chalmers Avenue and Wade Street, the new building was years ahead of its time. It was more than three times the size of the old house and barrier free with no steps – a feature that would eventually become the norm in all commercial buildings throughout the country. Another innovation was the addition of a large off-street parking area.

It was here that Loren A. and Elsie B. raised their three sons. All three boys would heed their father’s advice to pursue their passion. The oldest became a high ranking officer of the Detroit Police Department, the middle son earned his Doctorate in Fine Arts and continues as a concert organist, church musician and Program Director and Host of Detroit’s classical music radio station, and the youngest became both a funeral director and a rostered member of the clergy of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

The patriarch and matriarch of the Wagner family continued to serve at 9401 Chalmers Avenue until their retirement in 1979.


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