Petoskey Funeral Home Customers Discuss Their Experiences Following State Shutdown

“I assure my clients that they have nothing to worry about.”

After being suspended by the state, the owner of a Petoskey funeral home is defending himself against claims of running a deplorable and unsanitary operation.

We told you the Charles G. Parks Funeral Home in Petoskey was shut down by the state Wednesday.

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs says it was because of a number of violations concerning unsanitary conditions and money.

Among the issues, the department says the funeral home was storing embalmed bodies in an unrefrigerated garage, had baseboard trim with a suspected worm infestation, and had cremated human remains stored alongside cremated animal remains.

On the financial side, the funeral home’s accused of failing to escrow money for pre-paid funeral goods and services, and not depositing money with an escrow agent within 30 days of getting it.

The owner, Charles Parks Jr., allowed our cameras into the facility.

He says it’s messy but denies any violations, including any financial wrongdoing.

Now, many are talking about their experience with the Charles G. Parks Funeral Home.

We spoke with two people who had their loved ones brought through the funeral home.

They both had strong reactions to the news that it was shut down, but for two very different reasons.

“It just blew my mind they were saying such things about him.”

Pam Mish says she was stunned after hearing the news.

“I was very picky about things, and they followed everything I wanted done to the T.,” said Pam.

She said her experience at Charles G. Parks Funeral Home was as positive as possible during a tough time for her family.

“Chuck was very caring and took really good care of my mom, and he had to keep her an extended time because my brothers lived out in California. We were very pleased, we had an open casket viewing and they did a great job, very professional about everything,” explained Pam.

Karen Burkhart painted a completely different picture.

“There was just dirt everywhere, they were dirty, they were filthy, they didn’t present themselves like they should have,” said Karen.

Karen’s son passed away in 2010. She says dealing with this funeral home was a nightmare.

“I felt like my son was neglected. Even though he wasn’t alive, he was treated poorly and that’s wrong,” explained Karen. “Do I need to get my son’s remains tested? I don’t know, are they my son’s remains, I don’t know.”

She thinks the state should have looked into the funeral home’s operation years ago.

“I’m not shocked that it happened, because it should have happened a long time ago,” said Karen.

Charles Parks Jr., the owner of the funeral home, says he plans on appealing the state’s suspension.