Our History of Excellence
For almost 100 years, we have served families with dignity and compassion, providing the highest standard of care. The roots of A.J. Desmond & Sons go back to 1917 on Woodward Avenue in Highland Park, Michigan.
McInnes-Desmond Funeral Home in Highland Park 1917-1951 on
Woodward Avenue between Midland and Pilgrim
Founded as the A.J. McInnes Funeral Home by Angus J. McInnes, trusted employee Albert J. Desmond took over management at his death and the firm became known as McInnes-Desmond Funeral Home. Meanwhile, Bill Vasu opened the Wm. Vasu Funeral Home in 1922 also on Woodward Avenue in Highland Park, one block south of Davison.
The next generation of Desmonds entered funeral service when two of Albert's sons, Terence and John, joined McInnes-Desmond in the 1960s. In 1973 the firm became A.J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Directors when it established a premier location in Troy. The Highland Park location was closed in 1984. Al's daughter Joan joined her father and brothers in the 1980s. Since 1990, Terry's daughter, Kathy, has been with the firm, becoming a third generation family funeral director. In 2008, Terry's son Kevin became the most recent Desmond to join the family business and become licensed. Through the years, several other Desmond family members have been involved; presently both Margaret Desmond and Eileen Desmond contribute much to the firm.
McInnes-Desmond Funeral Home in Highland Park 1951-1984 on
Woodward Avenue at Puritan
In early 1991, A.J. Desmond & Sons again expanded by merging with the well established firm, Vasu, Rodgers & Connell Funeral Home in Royal Oak. Bill Vasu had moved his firm "way up north" to Royal Oak in 1955 to its current location on Woodward Avenue. Upon Bill Vasu's death, the Connell family hired Ed Lynch to manage the firm and it became known as Vasu-Lynch Funeral Home. After Paul Connell joined the firm in 1974, he and Lou Rodgers led Vasu, Rodgers & Connell Funeral Home until merging with A.J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Directors.
Richard Connell (far left) and William Vasu (center) examine plans for
a new funeral home on Woodward Avenue in Royal Oak about 1954
Today, A.J. Desmond & Sons provides families with two convenient, well-appointed Oakland County locations. Serving over 800 families annually, we assist each family personally while honoring their loved one's life. To continually improve, we all participate in ongoing educational programs and several staff have achieved advanced professional recognition.
A.J. Desmond & Sons also believes that the funeral director's role extends into interaction with families after death, as well as with the community as a whole. Under the guidance of an expert bereavement counselor, Mary Jamerino, individual counseling, grief recovery groups and several other activities are available. In recognition of this programming, A.J. Desmond & Sons has frequently received the highest awards in the Pursuit of Excellence programs sponsored by the National Funeral Directors Association and in 2005 achieved the Pursuit of Excellence Crystal Eagle Award, one of only three firms in the nation so recognized. In 2006 we became a leading inductee in the NFDA Hall of Excellence.
We are also leaders in offering assistance to families wishing to make arrangements prior to the need for a funeral. Terry Desmond co-founded the National Trust 100 Pre-Arrangement Program in Michigan. Experienced counselor and funeral director Suzanne Seitz Behan, Certified Preplanning Consultant, currently coordinates the firm's pre-need programs.
A.J. Desmond & Sons is also available as a community resource. We are always available for questions and information. We provide programs to different groups and receive school tours throughout the year. In addition, we visit various senior and caregiver fairs to offer our assistance and expertise.
|Albert J. Desmond
Finally, continuing Al Desmond's legacy of community involvement, the staff of A.J. Desmond & Sons is very active in numerous community and charitable activities. Staff community involvement includes participation local efforts for veterans, homeless, and senior citizen. Staff also belong to and serve as leaders in local Lions, Rotary, and Kiwanis clubs, various local Chambers of Commerce, the Boys and Girls Club of Troy. Staff are also members of several aread churches and involved as volunteers and leaders in local elementary and high schools. Recently, our entire organization was recognized for our community involvement by the City of Troy.
Both John and Joan pursued other career opportunities, but John has recently returned to A.J. Desmond and Sons Funeral Directors and is again serving families. We remain a family-owned and operated funeral home. The dedicated staff and strong leadership from Terry, Paul, Kathy and Kevin will continue the Desmond tradition of personal, dignified service, providing the finest to the families and to the community at large.
We pledge to provide dignified professional funeral services in a personal and compassionate manner, always being sensitive to individual needs and family traditions. We pledge to offer complete assistance both before and after death to the families we are privileged to serve, and to act as a professional resource for the benefit of the entire community. We pledge to serve all regardless of financial circumstances. Most importantly, we accept the responsibilities entrusted to us with the highest level of integrity and respect.