Our History

Carl W. Donelson
Carl W. Donelson
1908 - 1984

The year was 1947 when two men had a dream of owning their own funeral home in Pontiac, Michigan. Carl W. Donelson and Donald H. Johns each had been employed by Pontiac funeral homes for 25 years: Carl at Voorhees Funeral Home, and Don at Huntoon Funeral Home. They left these well-established firms, and through hard work, long hours, and a sizable investment, their dream became a reality.

 

Carl W. Donelson
Donald H. Johns
1908 - 1968

On March 18, 1948, Donelson-Johns Funeral Home opened for business at 855 W. Huron Street, which represented the first, and to this day, the only funeral home in Pontiac built from the ground up for the purpose that it served. They also were the first in Pontiac to make the unheard of decision at the time to avoid the ambulance-chasing business.

 

The founders followed their philosophy to do one thing well and devoted all of their efforts to arranging and conducting funerals. They worked long hours, and their willingness to serve was noticed and appreciated. Soon, they hired another employee, a young man in mortuary science school, Max Evans, who joined the firm part-time in 1954. In 1955, he earned his license to practice mortuary science and became a full-time employee that year.

 

The business continued to grow, and the founders purchased property in Union Lake for another location. Eventually, the property was offered to Max, yet they all decided to work together to run one funeral home and do their best to do things right.

 

Don Johns retired in 1968 and died shortly thereafter, and one year later Philip V. (Bob) Wellemeyer joined the firm after serving 25 years at Sparks-Griffin Funeral Home in Pontiac. Bob was well-known in the area, and Carl, Max, and Bob made a good team. When Carl retired in 1975, Max and Bob purchased the business that same year.

Max A. Evans, SR.
1934 - 2002

 

Business continued to thrive, and in 1977 Michael A. Evans joined the firm thinking that this is what he wanted to do. It didn’t take him long to realize it would be his life’s work.

 

The state-of-the-art facility of 1948 no longer met the business’ needs, due to the once prime location having evolved as many cities do. They realized their funeral home’s future was four miles to the west of their original location. Thus, Max and Bob purchased the Loveland Funeral Home from Tony and Margaret Loveland, and on January 1, 1987, the business moved to its present location.

Phillip Wellmeyer
Phillip V. Wellmeyer
1922 - 2000

That same year, Max Evans, Jr., joined the firm thinking that this also would be his chosen profession, and it indeed became his life’s work. Bob retired in 1994 and passed away in 2000. Max Evans, Sr., retired in February 2001 and passed away in March 10, 2002. This marked the end of the second generation.

 

As the generations pass, they leave significant shoes to fill. The past generations were a credit to the profession, respected in their community, and unique in their styles. Strong bonds were created after working hand-in-hand with families for several days assisting them in arriving at an end that suited their own unique needs and ideas of what a celebration of life should be.

 

As the third generation, we have endeavored to carry on the tradition of service and respect that those before us have earned. We have been left with wonderful memories that inspire us to carry on in a manner that is pleasing to all. The photographs and increasing number of final dates that always will line our hallway will serve as a constant reminder of our past. When our final dates are placed, we can only hope that we have proven worthy of the recognition as those who have gone before us.

 

 

 

We invite you to contact Donelson, Johns & Evans Funeral Home at 248 673.1213.


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