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Tom Starks — Owner

Richard L. 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.

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.

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

Susan Landry — Office Assistant

Susan is a life-long resident of Southwest Michigan, growing up and currently residing in Berrien Springs where she has raised her two children, Joshua & Lauren.  She previously worked in holistic health care for many years until the doctor she worked for died suddenly.  While sorting through her own grief, she soon after found herself working for Starks Family Funeral Homes and helping families with the loss of their loved ones.  This was very meaningful and healing for her because it was so close to her heart.

In addition to attending softball, volleyball, choir and other events of her children, Susan enjoys spendng time with family and friends, social campfires, going camping up north in her "tin cabin" and attending Granger Commnity Church.

Funeral Associates

Bob Nelson

David Lee

Robert Smith

Donald Lucas

Louise Sadowitz

James Torbet