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Collins Family Funeral Home, Inc. FD435: Serving Our Community with Care

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Michael Collins has strong ties to the Lodi area, and his experience has led him to become owner of Collins Family Funeral Home, Inc. FD435, formerly Gierhart-Wells & Donahue Funeral Home, which he purchased January 1, 2017.

He has been a funeral director for over 30 years, the past 20 of those years in Lodi. He came to Lodi as manager of Lodi Funeral Home, where he served in that capacity for 17 years. In June 2012, Lodi Funeral Home was sold by the Samuel D. Salas family to StoneMor Corporation, Trevose, Pennsylvania. Michael stayed on with StoneMor for five years until the opportunity to purchase Donahue Funeral Home, better known in the community as Gierhart-Wells & Donahue, arose in 2017. 

Family Focus
“I purchased the funeral home and took over operations on January 1, 2017. We continued to operate as Donahue Funeral Home until January of this year, when I changed the name to Collins Family Funeral Home,” he noted. “We are the only independently operated, family-owned funeral home in Lodi.”

The undertaking business originally began in 1869 by Andrew Rutledge; in 1907, he sold the business to Thomas L. Bawden and in 1909 Oscar Wells joined as partner. As time went on, Harold Wells, Oscar’s son, took over the business. Russell Gierhart joined the firm in the 1950s and it became known as Gierhart & Wells Funeral Home. When Patrick and Merry Donahue purchased the firm in 1988, they added their name and it became Gierhart-Wells & Donahue Funeral Home. The Donahues removed the Gierhart-Wells names in 2007 and it became known as Donahue Funeral Home. 

“We are known for offering highly personalized services at very affordable prices. Since we are family owned and don’t answer to corporate shareholders, we can set our own pricing, take the time to listen to our families and incorporate elements of meaningful tribute into every service,” he commented. “We are familiar with all aspects of different cultural services and beliefs and strive to serve the entire community.”

Innovations in Service
Going forward, the Collins family will continue to serve our community and the surrounding areas with caring, personalized service for years to come. They are excited to be launching a new website this month that is much more interactive and user friendly. “We’re expanding our services to offer memorial tribute videos and online streaming of services. We have updated and expanded our vehicle fleet so we can now offer families in-house limousine services for funeral transportation,” he related. 

Recently, Collins Family Funeral Home renovated the downstairs area to accommodate meetings and receptions, which have never been offered onsite before. Also, this year they are looking forward to remodeling the lobby area and chapel entrance to better accommodate larger parties to conduct on-site funerals and Celebrations of Life in the chapel. The sound system will be updated to better accommodate music from streaming sources as well as better sound quality and recording capabilities.

In addition, Michael notes that Collins Family Funeral Home is expanding aftercare services to include an email service to help with grief support. A daily support email in addition to a quarterly newsletter offering valuable information regarding the grief process with resources available will assist family members through the grief process and journey. The firm provides a full range of in-house pre-planning resources and options for those wishing to pre-arrange and pre-purchase their services.

Personal Connection
“Every employee of our firm was originally hired and trained by me personally at Lodi Funeral Home, and each person is familiar to our community. We all live in the Lodi area and have worked together for nearly 20 years,” he smiled. “We attend community events together, participate with various service organizations and support many local charities, and we understand the importance of participating in our community and make every effort to give back to the community as much as possible. 

“All of us appreciate the support of those who have followed us to the new location. We hope to continue serving an even larger portion of our community as people we’ve served in the past find us at our new home, as new residents learn about our services, and as we continue to grow in our service to the community.”

Collins Family Funeral Home is located at 123 N. School Street, Lodi, California. Visit collinsfamilyfuneralhome.com for more information on services and future planning.