Our History

Our History of Excellence

Serving Families of Metro Detroit for over 105 years.

Trusted experts creating custom goodbyes reflecting love and life.

For over 105 years, we have served families with dignity and compassion, providing the highest standard of care. In 1917 on Woodward Avenue in Highland Park, Michigan Angus J. McInnes founded the A.J. McInnes Funeral Home. Albert J. Desmond joined Mr. McInnes in 1930 and shortly after we become known as McInnes-Desmond Funeral Directors.

The next generation of Desmonds entered funeral service when two of Albert's sons Terry 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 on Crooks Road in Troy. In 1990 Terry's daughter Kathy Desmond Barr and in 2008 son Kevin joined the firm. Both are third generation family funeral directors. Through the years, several other Desmond family members have been involved; today Margaret Desmond contributes much to the firm.

In 1991, A.J. Desmond & Sons again expanded by merging with the well-established firm, Vasu, Rodgers & Connell. Bill Vasu had opened the Wm. Vasu Funeral Home in 1922, also on Woodward Avenue in Highland Park. With his financial partner Richard Connell, Bill moved his firm "way up north" to Royal Oak in 1955. Upon Bill Vasu's death, the Connell family hired Ed Lynch to manage the firm and it became known as Vasu-Lynch. After Paul Connell joined the firm in 1974, he and Lou Rodgers led Vasu, Rodgers & Connell until the merger.

In April 2015, A.J. Desmond & Sons expanded east with the purchase of Price Funeral Home on Rochester Road in Troy. Founded in 1956 by William H. Price (1931-2010) and later operated by his wife Susan, the firm has deep roots in Troy; until 1974 they provided Emergency Ambulance Service for Oakland and Macomb County Sheriff Departments, the Troy Police and the Centerline Post of the State Police.

Today, we serve over 1000 families from our three convenient locations. To continually improve our services, we all participate in ongoing educational programs. Several staff have achieved advanced professional recognition.

A.J. Desmond & Sons 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 bereavement counselor, Linda Dzbanski, LLMSW, individual counseling, grief recovery groups and several other activities are available. 

We are also leaders in offering assistance to families wishing to make arrangements prior to the need for a funeral. Advance planning does not require advance payment. We do offer a trusted selection of trust and insurance programs for those wishing to do so. Mike Smela, Zach Throne and Tyson Raff are our Advanced Funeral Planners. 

A.J. Desmond & Sons is a very accessible 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 churches, community centers and various senior and caregiver fairs to offer our assistance and expertise.

Finally, continuing Al Desmond's legacy of community involvement, the staff of A.J. Desmond Sons is very active in numerous community and charitable endeavors. Staff activities include participating in local efforts for veterans, homeless, and senior citizens and serving as leaders of various civic organizations. We are also members of several area churches and involved as volunteers and leaders in local elementary and high schools. In 2010, our entire organization was recognized for our community involvement in the City of Troy when Leadership Troy named us The Outstanding Business.


In recognition of our efforts, A.J. Desmond & Sons regularly receives the highest awards in the Pursuit of Excellence programs sponsored by the National Funeral Directors Association;we have participated for over 40 years. In 2005, we achieved the Pursuit of Excellence Crystal Eagle Award, one of only three firms in the nation so recognized. In 2006, we became a charter inductee in the NFDA Hall of Excellence. Most recently, in 2023 we received a Certificate of Honorable Mention from the Pursuit of Excellence Task Force.

We remain a family-owned and operated firm. The dedicated staff and strong leadership from Kevin, Kathy and Margaret will continue the Desmond tradition of personal, dignified service, providing the finest to families and the community at large.

McInnes-Desmond Funeral Home in Highland Park 1917-1951 on Woodward Avenue 

McInnes-Desmond Funeral Home in Highland Park 1951-1984 on Woodward Avenue

Richard Connell (left) and William Vasu (center) examine plans for a new funeral home on Woodward Avenue in Royal Oak about 1954

Albert J. Desmond

Kathy Desmond Barr, Kevin, Terry and Margaret Desmond 2022

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.




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