History & Staff

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.

Our History

Pray Funeral Home was established in 1921 by Ernest G. and Myron E. Pray

Pray Funeral Home was established in 1921 by Ernest G. and Myron E. Pray. This father and son team purchased an existing furniture store and "Undertaking" company. Their business was located on the main street of Charlotte's downtown business district until 1930 when Myron and his wife, Hazel, purchased a residence at 405 W. Seminary Street. This was used as their personal residence and as the funeral home until 1949.

In 1949, the present funeral home was constructed next door at 401 W. Seminary, and the former funeral home was converted back into a residence for Joseph Eugene Pray, who was newly licensed as a Funeral Director that year. The furniture store was sold a year later, and the Pray family's full attention was concentrated on funeral service.

Pray Funeral Home is still an independent family owned and operated funeral home. We are currently in our fifth generation of family members involved in the firm. Our family looks upon our tradition and heritage with great pride.

The prestige of Pray Funeral Home in the local community is built on years of dedicated service to the community. This is a factor in each and every decision we make concerning our services to the community.

As a result, the Pray Funeral Home has been awarded the Pursuit of Excellence Award from the National Funeral Directors Association for our outstanding and compassionate service to the families of our communities. We have earned this award each year since 1989. This is awarded to a select group of funeral directors from around the world who meet the strict qualifications of community and professional service in more than eight different areas.

In 2006 Pray Funeral Home was inducted into the NFDA's Hall of Excellence at the 125th annual convention in Philadelphia, PA. The Hall of Excellence, part of the NFDA's Pursuit of Excellence Program, honors firms for their continued outstanding service to families, commitment to the community and dedication to upholding the highest ethical and professional standards.

Most of the families we serve are from Charlotte and the surrounding communities of Potterville, Vermontville, Olivet, Bellevue, and Dimondale.

We are located 20 miles southwest of Michigan's capital city of Lansing. Our staff is involved in many different forms of service to the families of our community, from Pre-arrangements, through the funeral services, and on through Post-Funeral activities. Our staff members are also involved in many different organizations to help the community.

Our Service Goals are:

  • To help the families of our community through one of the most traumatic times of their lives by arranging meaningful services that depict the lives of their loved ones. 

  • To provide support to families beyond the actual funeral services. 

  • To support the community of Charlotte as a whole through educational programs, economic and personal support of community projects, and personal and corporate involvement in community development. 

We feel that the way to insure our future is to provide the best possible service to our clients, and to support the community as a whole.

Our Valued Staff

  • Joseph Ernest  Pray

    Joseph Ernest Pray, Licensed Director and Creationeer

    Joe, or Joe E. has been an active Licensed Funeral Director since 1979. He attended Michigan State University and graduated from Wayne State University School of Mortuary Science in 1979 Joe has been through various continuing education programs and trainings to continue his education and is a graduate of Life Appreciation Training . Joe is a former Board Member of the International Order of the Golden Rule and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association.

    Joe E. grew up around the funeral business and started out by helping care for the grounds and washing the automobiles used by the funeral home. After receiving his license, he joined his parents and grandparents in business at Pray Funeral Home. Joe E. is currently the owner of Pray Funeral Home, Inc.

    Joe has held numerous leadership positions in local organizations and service clubs and continues to be a member of the Charlotte Rotary Club, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, and Knights of Columbus.

    Joe is currently Board Member of the Eaton County Community Foundation, where he advises two of the endowment funds that were started in his family's name through the Foundation to further the philanthropic goals of the Pray family. He also is a treasurer of the Charlotte Public Schools Education Foundation.

    In Joe's personal time he enjoys sharing time with his family, Barefoot waterskiing, flying with local pilots, and tinkering with antique automobiles.

  • Joseph Eugene  Pray

    Joseph Eugene Pray, Licensed Director

    Joe has held a State of Michigan Funeral Directors License for over 60 years. He attended Michigan State University and graduated from Wayne State University School of Mortuary Science in 1949. He is an active committee member in the Michigan Funeral Directors Association and is a graduate of Life Appreciation Training.

    Joe literally grew up in the funeral home and was involved in the operations of funeral service at a young age. He learned extensively from his mother and father, Hazel and Myron Pray, who then owned the business. After receiving his license, he joined his parents in the funeral home.

    Joe, or Joe Sr. as some refer to him, has served the community in many organizations including Christmas Kiddies which he directed for many years. He is currently a member of the Charlotte Kiwanis Club, and St. Mary Catholic Church.

  • Joseph Tyler  Pray

    Joseph Tyler Pray, Licensed Director

    Tyler Pray graduated on August 6, 2006, from the Wayne State University Mortuary Science program in Detroit with a Bachelor of Science Degree. He was the only of 24 graduates coming from a family business.

    The Mortuary Science degree is Tyler Pray's second degree, his first being a B.A. in English from Kalamazoo College in 2005.Tyler follows his father, a 1979 graduate of the program, in receiving the C. Beaver Edwards distinction in restorative art, an award named for a famous sculptor and restorative artist who was a Professor of Joe Pray Sr., a 1949 graduate of the program.

    Since graduation, Tyler has attended Life Appreciation Training, and participated in several staff exchange programs with other funeral homes. In April of 2008 Tyler was installed as a Director on the Board of the International Order of the Golden Rule. He served OGR until April 2011.

    Tyler currently serves as President of Michigan Funeral Directors District 5.

    Tyler has a wide range of interests including writing, acting, barefoot waterskiing. In addition to funeral service Tyler is pursuing a career in writing and has been published in many literary journals, newspapers and periodicals.

  • Dana  Pray

    Dana Pray, Corporate Secretary

    Dana Pray is a licensed funeral director with experience in managing both family owned and corporate owned funeral homes. She is a former Michigan Funeral Directors Association staff member serving as the membership liaison.

    She now serves the Charlotte community as corporate secretary and management consultant for Pray Funeral Home.

    Dana is best known in the community for her work with Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital's ALIVE, a multi-million dollar health park that will boost the health and well being of the community in numerous ways. Dana is a community development coordinator for ALIVE and has been instrumental in bringing the story of ALIVE to many throughout the tri-county area.

  • Daniel  Hoffman

    Daniel Hoffman, Pre Planning Counselor

    Daniel or "Dan", helps families explore and prepare funeral and memorial arrangements without the time constraints that are experienced at the time of a death.

  • Dawn  Hoffman

    Dawn Hoffman, Pre Planning Counselor

    Dawn assists her husband Dan Hoffman with the many details of Pre-Planning at Pray Funeral Home. She is also licensed as a Pre Planning professional.

  • Lori  Pray

    Lori Pray, Financial and Facility Manager

    Leonore, or "Lori" is a graduate of Michigan State University, is married to Joe E. and the mother of two sons, J. Tyler and J. McLain. She serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Pray Funeral Home, as well as the Facility Manager.

    Lori serves the community in several capacities through her memberships in the GFWC-Charlotte, Friends of The Charlotte Performing Arts Center, and numerous other organizations.

    Lori also serves on the Board of Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital.

  • Mrs. Kristine  Sowles

    Mrs. Kristine Sowles, Office Manager

    Kristine has numerous responsibilities at Pray Funeral Home including greeting family and community members when they walk through our front doors. Chances are when you call Pray Funeral Home, the voice that greets you will be Kristine's.

  • Lori  Baum

    Lori Baum, Receptionist

  • Laura  Cushman

    Laura Cushman, Receptionist

  • Richard  Martin

    Richard Martin, Service Associate

  • Richard  Bernard

    Richard Bernard, Service Associate

    Richard, or Dick as most people know him, is one of our gentleman that assists us in many ways, from a home transfer to helping at the funeral home on the day of the service

  • Duane  Royston

    Duane Royston, Service Associate

  • John  Mayes

    John Mayes



    John is one of our gentleman that assists us in many ways, from a home transfer to helping at the funeral home on the day of the service. John also prepares our Family Album Tribute Video's and many other image/ computer related photos and graphics.

  • Donald  Lea

    Donald Lea, Service Associate

    Don, or "Zauner" as many know him, is one of our gentleman that assists us in many ways, from a home transfer to helping at the funeral home on the day of the service.

  • William  Martin

    William Martin, Grounds Maintenance

  • Ben  Crowley

    Ben Crowley, IT Specialist

    Ben develops our Living Album Videos for the families we serve. He also helps keep the behind the scenes technology running at the funeral home.

    As Owner of Accent Computers Ben has the knowledge to build and develop computers and systems for varied applications. His expertise and skill has been very helpful in Pray Funeral Home's service to the families of Eaton County.

  • Lela Rodrigeuz

    Lela Rodrigeuz, Receptionist

  • Nate Lovaas

    Nate Lovaas, Funeral Service Associate

    Nate grew up here in Charlotte. His polite and outgoing personality has endeared him to many within the community. He is working with Pray Funeral Home while he completes Mortuary School. We look forward to his completion of his studies and licensure requirements so he can join our staff as a fully licensed Funeral Director.