Awards Earned by Pray's

We strive to continue to provide compassionate, unique, personalized and world-class services to our community. And we are proud that our efforts have been recognized by a huge variety of organizations.

2012 Keeping it personal (KIP) awards

In 2012, Pray Funeral Home won First Place in the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association’s 2012 KIP (Keeping It Personal) Awards, recognizing the best in personalization in the cemetery, funeral service and cremation profession.  Pray’s was recognized for the personalized funeral service of Timothy “Coop” Cooper in October of 2012.

The KIP program honors recipients in five categories. Pray Funeral Home was honored in the Most Personalized Service (or Memorial) category.

The ICCFA’s 2012 KIP Awards contest drew 41 entries from across the United States, Canada and Australia. Marketing and communications professionals from outside the cemetery and funeral service profession performed the judging.

The services for Timothy "Coop" Cooper were held at Dart Auditorium on the campus of Lansing Community College in Lansing where Coop was an instructor in the EMS program and had touched over 29,000 lives. The family had several ideas, the foremost being Tim’s comment “I don’t want to ride in a hearse; I want an ambulance to take me to the cemetery.”

Pray Funeral Home decided to include as many people and entities in the service as possible to represent how Cooper had influenced so many lives. “We received calls from over 15 emergency medical, fire, and law enforcement departments from around central Michigan who were all touched by Tim and wanted to take part in Tim’s sendoff,” said Joe E. Pray of Pray Funeral Home.  “Incorporating the many different facets of his life without overwhelming the guests was a personalization challenge.”  The funeral home staff developed numerous items for the service including: a video tribute, a memorial booklet designed to look like the paramedic textbook that Cooper used in his teaching, and a static cling window decal.

On the day of the service, guests were able to take a self-guided tour through the Emergency Service Training Lab that Cooper developed at LCC, as well as look at the various photos and collections of his that were on display in the auditorium. “We were grateful for the help of Lisa Ferris-McCann, Director of the LCC EMT School, in arranging the use of the LCC Facilities, and the Lansing Police Department for coordinating the traffic needs to accommodate us on the day of the service,” said Pray.   After the service, an ambulance from Eaton Area EMS, a division of Hayes Green Beach Hospital, was waiting to carry Cooper to his final resting place. “We were glad to be a part of the recognition of the contributions that Tim made to our profession and our community” said John Truba, EMS director.  “The family was so grateful for Hayes Green Beach’s participation in fulfilling Tim’s wish for his final ride,” said Pray.  At the cemetery two local buglers played Echo Taps and a Med-Evac helicopter slowly circled the gravesite in a salute to Tim before flying away into the distance.

2011 Keeping it personal (kip) awards

Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte, Michigan, has received the Grand Prize Award and First Place in its category in the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association’s 2011 KIP (Keeping It Personal) Awards, recognizing the best in personalization in the cemetery, funeral service and cremation profession.

Created by the ICCFA Personalization Committee, the KIP program honors recipients in five categories. Pray Funeral Home Service was honored in the Most Personalized Service/Memorial category.

The ICCFA’s 2011 KIP Awards contest drew 58 entries from across the United States, Canada, China and Guatemala. Marketing and communications professionals from outside the cemetery and funeral service profession performed the judging.

Charlotte, Michigan, high school teacher Barbara "B.C." Collinsworth-Johnson was a vibrant personality in her community. Her students, family and friends wanted her service to represent her passion for her teaching, theatre and her ability to inspire everyone she met, and Pray Funeral Home obliged.

B.C.'s casket was custom painted in her favorite color, royal metallic purple, at a local auto body shop. She directed numerous school plays, so the service was held at the new Charlotte Performing Arts Center, which she helped design. The format of the service was divided into three "acts" separated by video interludes of photos from her life. Before entering the darkened auditorium, attendees were presented with pins featuring drama masks and her nickname "B.C." on them as well as the Playbill-inspired service program that told her life story as the acts in a play, with the service participants listed on the back page as the cast of characters.

Marquee posters featuring her favorite caricature and posters from many of the plays she directed flanked the entrance to the auditorium. In dramatic fashion, the gleaming casket was spotlighted on the left side of the stage. As the service began, the curtains parted to reveal an empty purple director's chair with B.C.'s initials along with poster-sized photos spotlighted on stage. As a celebration of her life, an alumni choir and jazz band performed between the many eulogists who shared their remembrances and told how her dreams would live on in her students. 

The service concluded with the Michigan State cheerleaders and mascot, "Sparty" flooding the stage during the MSU fight song and leading the crowd to the luncheon in the adjoining cafeteria, while along the way they were presented with B.C.'s favorite snack: popcorn served in purple cups. The services were recorded and edited together with interviews of family and friends and presented to B.C.'s family as Pray's exclusive "Remember a Life Well Lived" video after the event. The family chose to order numerous additional copies to be sent out to relatives and friends as remembrances.

 “We were extremely pleased with the broad range and high quality of entries to the KIP Awards program this year,” said Stephen Bittner, chair of the ICCFA’s Personalization Committee. “The staff at Pray Funeral Home demonstrate a strong commitment to personalization, to serving the community and to providing caring, meaningful services to families in their time of need.  They are true leaders within our profession and are very deserving of this prestigious award.”

As the grand prize winner, Pray Funeral Home received a complimentary registration to the ICCFA 2012 Annual Convention & Exposition, March 19-22, at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Pray’s along with all the KIP Awards recipients were presented with their award during the opening ceremonies of the Convention.  

“We were very honored to receive recognition as one the top creative funeral home’s in the country,” said Joe E. Pray of Pray Funeral Home.  “Our goal is to make every service we create as meaningful and as healing as possible for each family we serve.  B.C.’s family mentioned numerous ‘touch points’ during our conversations that were important to B.C., her family, and friends, and they gave us permission to use our creativity to make a moving and meaningful tribute to one of my favorite teachers.”

Founded in 1887, the ICCFA is the only international trade association representing all segments of the cemetery, cremation funeral and memorialization industry. Its membership is comprised of over 7,500 cemeteries, funeral homes, memorial designers, crematories and related businesses worldwide.

Alan Jenson presenting the award to Joe Pray

mfda Pursuit of excellence award

The Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte was among those honored on at the 131st Annual Convention of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association in recognition of their achievement of the Pursuit of Excellence Award by the National Funeral Directors Association.  Pray Funeral Home is one of only 15 funeral firms in the state of Michigan to receive this award. 

“We strive to serve the families of our community in numerous ways not only at the time of their loss , but through our aftercare and support through numerous community programs and projects,” said Joe E. Pray, funeral director and owner of Pray Funeral Home, Inc.  “Our mission is to be a resource for support and helping folks through their loss, and we are honored to be recognized for our efforts.”

To achieve the Pursuit of Excellence Award, funeral homes must demonstrate proficiency in key areas of the funeral service profession by fulfilling a set number of criteria in six categories of achievement. Participants must show their commitment to: Complying with state and federal regulations; providing ongoing education and professional development opportunities for staff; offering outstanding programs and resources to bereaved families; maintaining an active level of involvement.

Joe Pray Sr receives award from MFDA President Chris Anderson

mfda 60 years of service award

Longevity in funeral service is becoming a rare instance in today's world. The rigorous pace of life in a funeral home coupled with the unpredictable schedule that seems to be changed every time the telephone rings doesn't make it easy for most people to stick with it for so long.

On May 5, 2009 Joseph Eugene Pray was recognized by the Michigan Funeral Directors Association for holding a License to Practice Mortuary Science for over 60 years.  The award was presented at the MFDA Annual convention.

"While funeral service can be a difficult profession, it isn't to surprising to me that a few folks make it this far.  Some of us look at funeral service as a way of life, a way to help our friends and family in our community, rather than a job," said Joe "Sr."  "In our family we have received recognition for longevity in the professions numerous times."

Mr. Pray continued, "My mother Hazel Pray had received a 40 year licensee award from MFDA, in 1982, Myron would have received a 60 year award that same year, however the State of Michigan Records weren't able to prove the exact year he received his license, even though it is hanging on our wall at the funeral home. Laurel is currently one of the oldest, if not the only remaining women with a funeral directors license in the State of Michigan.  Her license was issued under the dual license statute, where you could either get a license to be a funeral director, or an embalmer, or both."

nfda pursuit of excellence award

Pray Funeral Home, of Charlotte, was honored for its 20th time by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) with the 2011 Pursuit of Excellence Award during its International Convention & Expo in Chicago. Only 147 firms, nationwide and abroad, received this prestigious recognition for adhering to strict ethical and professional standards and for providing unsurpassed service to families and communities, placing Pray Funeral Home among an elite group of funeral service professionals.

“We are proud to continue our tradition of consistency in excellence and service to our community,” said Joe E. Pray, funeral director and owner of Pray Funeral Home, Inc. “Our mission is to be a resource for support and helping folks through their loss, and we are honored to be recognized for our efforts.”

To achieve the Pursuit of Excellence Award, NFDA-member funeral homes must demonstrate proficiency in key areas of the funeral service profession by fulfilling a set number of criteria in six categories of achievement. Participants must show their commitment to: Complying with state and federal regulations; providing ongoing education and professional development opportunities for staff; offering outstanding programs and resources to bereaved families; maintaining an active level of involvement within the community; participating and actively serving in the funeral service profession; and promoting funeral home services through a variety of marketing, advertising and public relations programs.

“The needs of families are constantly evolving; they expect services that extend beyond a funeral or memorial service,” said NFDA Chief Executive Officer Christine Pepper, CAE. “The Pursuit of Excellence program provides award recipients with a unique opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to offering innovative programs and services that have a profound impact on those they serve.”

Pray Funeral Home has received the Pursuit of Excellence Award 20 times and has been inducted into the program’s Hall of Excellence which recognizes firms who have achieved the Pursuit of Excellence Award for ten years or more.

“Working for certification for the Pursuit of Excellence Award has helped us incorporate a number of outstanding programs, activities and opportunities into the way we serve families and our communities,” said Joe E. Pray, “we are the only family owned funeral home in the greater Lansing area to have achieved this award.”

Some of the unique programs that helped Pray’s earn the award include their professionally staffed aftercare program that includes grief counseling for every family they serve, the Annual Holiday Candle Light Ceremony, and their unique Family Affirmation Services and Remembering A Life Well Lived Program.

The award was presented at NFDA’s All Star Recognition Ceremony. NFDA President Patrick Lynch presented the award to the Pray Family.

athena award

Lori Pray was selected to receive the Athena Award. The honor is aimed at recognizing an individual who assists women in reaching their full leadership potential.

Immediately following her graduation from college, Lori joined Pray Funeral Home as business manager.  Lori is part of the Pray family and has been employed with the funeral home for 28 years.  Lori's formal education and expertise allows her to work in "keeping the books" and managing business operations for the funeral home.

Lori's life reflects her commitment to her family and to her family and to her community.  Since 1980, when Lori graduated from college, she joined the General Federation of Women's Clubs, GFWC-Charlotte .  The objective of the GFWC-Charlotte service organization is to promote the growth and general advancement of women by providing programs pertaining to literature, science, art, and public interest, and to promote lines of public welfare in the community of charlotte, as well as at district, state, national and international levels. 

CoC's president's award

The Pray Funeral Home of Charlotte was presented with the 2004 Annual President's Award on March 16, 2005 at the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner. The President's Award is given each year to the company that has exhibited dedicated service and commitment to excellence to the Charlotte community. The selection is made each year by the President of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.

This was the 7th time Pray's won this award from the Charlotte Michigan Chamber of Commerce.