In 1909,Benjamin "B.G." Gregor Bennett began his professional service to Benzie County by establishing BENNETT FURNITURE & UNDERTAKING, in Honor, Michigan. The Bennett Funeral Home stood at the current location of the Honor State Bank.
During the early years of B.G.'s career, his reputation began to resonate throughout the area. By 1920, he was serving families as far as Empire. During the winter months, the Bennett family had a horse drawn carriage equipped with skis that could be pulled by horse through the snow. At that time the majority of all embalming and preparation was done in the deceased's home. Therefore, Mr. Bennett was always being summoned to the homes of area families to prepare the deceased for the funeral service and arrange with the family, the wake, and burial.
In 1926, the funeral home in Honor that B.G. began his family business in was destroyed by a devastating fire. The family would of course rebuild. However, the decision was made to move the business to a more central location to the families they served. The Bennett's chose Benzonia.
In 1936, the growing family and growing business established another location in Frankfort. In addition to these two fully functional funeral homes, there were numerous "casket showrooms" in several communities throughout the area. These showrooms were used to accommodate the many different towns that called on the Bennett family. This was a common practice at that time.
The Bennett Funeral Homes served more families as each year passed, so in keeping with tradition and fulfilling a dream of B.G.'s, his three sons: George, Cyril and Robert followed in their father's footsteps as funeral directors.
The county ambulance service was also operated from the Bennett Funeral Home by the Bennett family. The ambulance/hearse combination was equipped with a stow away seat for the person seated next to the injured to administer first aid or oxygen, an ambulance cot and tanks of oxygen. The driver concentrated on arriving at the hospital in a timely, but safe manner and the assistant was there to tend to the injured. This practice was very common among funeral homes until ambulances became privatized in 1973.
In 1970, the Bennett family patriarch and chief funeral director died, leaving the thriving business to his 3 sons. George, Cyril and Bob operated the businesses that were throughout Benzie County.
The business in Frankfort was considered to be the headquarters for the Bennett family. The majority of the book work, preparation and housing of vehicles was done at this location.
Upon the retirement of both George and Cyril; Bob, being the youngest was now the sole Bennett operating the business. In the late 1970's Bob began construction of what would be one of the most modern funeral homes in the state of Michigan. As construction progressed, the funeral home in Frankfort was sold, as was the firm in Benzonia. Area families would now be served out of one central and convenient location in Beulah.
When opened in 1978, an open house was held and an outpouring of community members attended. This was the first funeral home in the area built for this specific purpose. A longtime dream of the Bennetts was now reality.
For 10 years Bob Bennett served his townspeople from the new funeral home in Beulah until his semi retirment in 1988. For many years following, he continued to work and play an active role in business.
Bob and his wife Sally continue to live next door in the home that was built during the construction of the funeral home. He can still be found on occasion at the funeral home doing what he has done his entire life- serving the families that have trusted his family for 100 years.
Throughout the Bennett's rich heritage in this area, the family was contributors to, members of, or founders of:
Frankfort Glider Club
President-Village of Bear Lake
Bear Lake Lions Club
District Governor-Lions Club
Board-Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital
President-Benzonia Village Council
Benzie County Coroner
Director-Honor State Bank
Frankfort City Council
Mayor of Frankfort
Frankfort Board of Supervisors
Benzie County Ambulance
1909 ~BENNETT~ 2009