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Bob and Carol Starks

Bob and Carol moved to the Twin Cities in 1961, and Bob formed a partnership with Louis Kerlikowske at Kerley & Starks Funeral Home in St. Joseph.

Bob and Carol are very active in the St. Joseph First United Methodist Church and in their community. Bob has been a past president of the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Rotary Club, the United Fund, the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, and the International Conference of Funeral Service. Carol has been very active in the Lakeland Medical Center, serving as a member of the Board of Directors and the Hospital Foundation Board. She is active in the Lakeland Auxiliary and Child and Family Services. Carol is also a member of the Hospice at Home Foundation Board.

Bob and Carol reside in St. Joseph.

Tom Starks — Owner

Luann Leto — Director of Funeral Service Operations

Andy Menchinger — Funeral Director

Andy began his career in funeral service in 1974 while attending Benton Harbor High School. After graduating in 1980 from Indiana College of Mortuary Science in Indianapolis, he joined the Starks’ family business.

Andy is a member of the First Church of God in St. Joseph and is a board member for Hospice at Home. He also is a member the Benton Harbor-Fairplain Lions Club. He enjoys fishing, boating, and camping.

Andy is a lifelong resident of the Twin Cities area and resides in Benton Harbor with his wife Sonya and sons Erik and Aaron.

Ralph Sommerfeld — Funeral Director

Ralph has been a resident of Southwest MI, since 1967. He graduated from Benton Harbor High School in 1973. Ralph attended Wayne State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (1978), also graduating from the Department of Mortuary Science of Wayne State University (1976).

Ralph is the current Owner-Manager of Sommerfeld Chapel. He came to New Buffalo, in September of 1979, and worked alongside the founder of Smith Funeral Home, Ronald H. Smith, until Ron’s death in 1981. Ralph then became manager of the funeral home, and has proudly served the families of New Buffalo and Harbor Country.

Ralph is a licensed funeral director in both states of Michigan and Indiana. He is a member of the National Funeral Directors Association, the Selected Independent Funeral Homes, and the Michigan Embalmers Society. Ralph is also active in local organizations such as, New Buffalo Lions Club (since 1984), a member of the New Buffalo Savings Bank Board of Directors, the Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce, and the New Buffalo Business Association.

Ralph has lived in, and been part of, the Harbor Country community since 1979. He has been married for over 25 years to his wife Heidi (Fandrich); she works in Michigan City at the Lighthouse Mall. Together they have a son Aaron; he is a graduate of New Buffalo High School, and is currently a student at Lake Michigan College, and also works in Michigan City at the Lighthouse Mall.

Dick Swem — Funeral Director

Dick, lifetime resident of Buchanan and second generation funeral director, started his career in funeral service at age fourteen working in his father's funeral home. He became a licensed funeral director after graduating from Wayne State University in 1955 at which time he joined the family business. Dick, as he is known, has spent his entire life in funeral service except for the time he served in the U.S. Army as a combat medic. Dick and his wife Becky have four grown children and nine grandchildren. The Swems are active members in the Buchanan Community and hold membership in a number of local organizations and serve on many of its boards. In 2007, the Swem Chapel celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary of service to Buchanan and surrounding area families.

Jason Storm — Funeral Director

Cameron Ondresky — Funeral Director

Katrina Washburn — Funeral Director

Katrina was born and raised in Dayton, OH, where she graduated from Bellbrook High School in 2004. She went on to attend Wright State University as a Pre-Med/Psychology major. It is there she learned her passion for the funeral service industry. After 3 years at Wright State she applied at the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science where she received her Bachelor’s of Mortuary Science in 2009. She is a licensed funeral director and embalmer in the states of Michigan and Ohio. In her spare time she enjoys visiting with her friends and family back home as well as meeting new people and enjoying all of St. Joseph and the surrounding areas.

Olivia Starks — Funeral Director

Laura Starks — Funeral Director

Jim Starks — Funeral Director

Jim was raised in St. Joseph, Michigan where he graduated from St. Joseph High School in 1975. He continued his education at the University of Wyoming and graduated in 1979. He attended the Mid-America College of Mortuary Science. He started his Career in Funeral Services at Kerley & Starks Family Funeral Home in 1982. Jim now resides in South Haven, Michigan and enjoys hunting, wood working, and bicycling.

Cynthia Layman — Funeral Arranger

Stacey Miller — Funeral Arranger

Nate Wilder — Funeral Arranger

Brenda Yenchus — Accounting/Office Manager

Brenda has been a Coloma resident most of her life. She graduated from Coloma High School and attended classes at Lake Michigan College. After working 14 years for a local company, Brenda chose to be a stay-at-home mom with her boys. She then became a paraprofessional at Coloma Schools for seven years. Now that her boys are older, she has joined the Starks & Menchinger family.

Brenda has been very active with school activities, the PTO and was Secretary for the Band Boosters for four years. Brenda enjoys spending time with her family, scrapbooking and reading.

Brenda is currently living in Benton Harbor with her husband, Joe, and their two children, Brandon and Zachary. They are members of St. Joseph Catholic Church in St. Joseph.

Susan Landry — Office Assistant

David Froehlich — Advance Funeral Planner

David is a life long resident of St. Joseph. He retired from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans after serving his members with their insurance and financial needs for 17 years. David and his brothers, Karl and Ted, owned and operated Froehlich’s Little Super in St. Joseph from 1970 until 1986. Their parents, Harry and Elsie, began the business in 1940.

David is a member of Grace Lutheran Church in St. Joseph. He enjoys golfing and fishing. He and his wife Margaret have two children and three grandchildren.

Lloyd “Mac” MacTavish — Advance Funeral Planner

Mac retired after forty years in public education. He has been a teacher, coach, and counselor at St. Joseph and Lakeshore Public Schools. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University and a masters degree from Western Michigan University. Mac is a member of the First Congregational Church of Christ in St. Joseph. He is on the Board of Trustees of the Samaritan Counseling Center and the Maud Palenske Memorial Library in St. Joseph. He is a member of the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Rotary Club.

Mac and his wife Kathy live in St. Joseph. He is the father of two children, two stepchildren, and the grandfather of two grandsons.

Funeral Associates

Dick Wendt

Ivan Kiessel

Len Menchinger

Marc Fruedenburg

Roger Reddel

Jim Priebe

Ed Stover

Bob Karsten

Rick Brohman

Riley Raines

Tom Bird

Ron Bjes

Gene Pastrick

Beth DeCoursey

Deniece Fisher

Kevin Gillette