Ribbon Cutting Celebrates Opening of New Ceremonial Chapel in Royal Oak
Sullivan & Son Funeral Directors unveils renovations, which include a 30-foot-long copper skylight and beautifully vaulted ceilings.
Assisted by the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce, Wm. Sullivan & Son Funeral Directors marked the opening their new formal chapel—the only one of its kind in Oakland County—with a ribbon cutting on Thursday.
“We created it to meet the changing needs of the families we serve,” said Sullivan co-owner Michael Lope. “In our 106 years, we’ve developed a very personal relationship with the families we serve. That connection has informed all the decisions we’ve made over that century.
"In recent years, more and more families have chosen to hold their services here in our existing visitation spaces," he said. “People may want a small, low-key, simpler event. They may not belong to a church or may be secular." He cited a Gallup study showing that 43 percent of Americans do not belong to a church and/or do not attend church regularly.
The addition, on the west side of the building, widens an existing chapel to 29 feet. The space has a 30-foot-long copper skylight at the apex of beautifully vaulted ceilings. The space can be combined with the room next to it for more capacity and the new décor carries over into the existing room.
“This new space is more suited to ceremonial gatherings rather than limited to traditional visitation,” Lope said. It is designed by Silveri Architects of Ferndale in partnership with Charles Johnston, AIA, of Troy, and is being built by Jonna Construction.
This is the fourth renovation to the Sullivan building, at 705 W. 11 Mile Rd., which was built in the early 1930s. The greatest expansion was in 1956, with additional work done in 1972 and 1993.
The chapel at Sullivan's Utica facility has been used regularly since it was built in 2000. Lope said that success supported the decision to create a similar space in Royal Oak.
Each year, before the December holidays, Sullivan holds remembrance services for the families it has served and for the general public. The Royal Oak event, previously held at the Royal Oak Women's Club, will now take place in the new chapel.
"It will be a truly beautiful setting to help celebrate and memorialize all of those we serve," Lope said.
Source: Wm. Sullivan & Son Funeral Directors