Coats funeral home tries to degrade WWII Vet

A must read, please feel free to distribute this story or link!

No, I will NOT let it go!

My father died on November 14, 2009.

just 7 short years later my father a World War II Veteran, also passed on to spend eternity with my mother and had already paid in full for his funeral. This way he knew his children wouldn't have to do this and it would be easier for us to get through the day.

Coats Funeral Home in Waterford Michigan is a very nice and well kept funeral home and for the most part the people who run things are very nice and show much compassion for your loved one. But when it comes to being sneaky the woman Pam Mcfagan was pushy, rude and didn't so much as have a guest booK, and only a hand full of cards for guests.

My mother was treated fairly and with dignity, but now I know, it was because of the crowd. With my father, they didn't have this crowd, so they didn't think word would spread about their behavior.

WELL, HERE IT IS! I'M SPREADING IT, AND I WILL NOT LET IT GO!

THE TRUTH:

My father, 87yr old WWII Vet was going to be pushed through there as if he didn't matter because there wasn't but 6 people at his funeral. When Ms. McFagan excused herself for a second she lied that she had to look something up when in fact she had left the room to make a call to someone who asked to be alerted when he passed, his daughter who didn't want to attend her fathers funeral. If fact, she didn't deserve to know since she said to his face she was not going to attend his funeral. Other than my mothers death it was the only time i ever seen my dad cry, it hurt him that his daughter would say such a thing. I'm glad I stood by my father and cared for him in his last days, even when he asked for her I had to tell him it would do no good she already made her choice that she wanted nothing to do with Any of us and would not come unless it suited her own feelings, which is what she did.

Because my mother was a cosmotologist by trade, she had many friends, clients. Her and dad attended church regularly so of course people from there came to hers but didn't come and pay him any visits after she passed, not even his sisters made the effort to come. The funeral homes pastor was the one who gave him their version of a very generic eulogy for my mom.

My dad on the other hand, trusted very few people, and he did not make it a point to make many friends in life. He'd said often, that if you make one true friend in life, you've done well. That he'd only met one man in his life that he'd trust with a suitcase full of money! He'd told me this man he felt confident he could leave him with a suit case of money then be gone a year and every cent would be there when he returned for it. He was right about so many things.

But this hub isn't about that per se, it's about how he was treated, after he'd fought for this country during WWII and witnessed hell on earth, and some might believe he came out of that war unscathed, but they are wrong. He still fought that battle til the day he began to lose his memory due to dementia.

While my mom lay dying in a coma in 2002, dad went to Coats Funeral home to make their arrangements. He paid in full everything from their account. Because mom's funeral held so many people, she was given a full treatment that any person should deserve, but when it was my fathers day at that funeral home, they shortchanged him every way they could. Right down to under folding his suit rather than having me return it for the correct size.

The woman who ran the funeral was crass and rude and if I. Our stop one family from enduring what I went through with them I would. She took advantage of my pain and used it to her advantage. I'm also sure she pocketed any money as there was not so much as a card or flowers from either of his living sisters. No acknowledgement whatsoever all due to his middle daughter.

As my friend walked with me into the large room, room without flowers or people, I had a few items that I wanted to put with dad to rest with him. One of those things being his wallet. No, I didn't put a large sum of money in it, I left it just as he had when mom died. He'd taken all the photos out of it, and other things. But he still carried it around with him. I put a dollar in it, because he always joked he couldn't have enough money. He did have money but it had been stolen by the two people he trusted the most. What he left me was gone for biker parties, dates, booze and trinkets. I only for the empty box.

  • We stood there over dad, and I held his wallet, I was going to slide it as close to his back pocket as I could, when she (the funeral director) snatched it out of my hands, and tried to tuck it under HIS HANDS! *She was quick to grab, and try to push the "show" on, so they could get us out of their way. I just had to tell her I wanted to be alone with my friend for a minute. So the funeral director left the room. Not that she was invited in anyway! But my friend and I finally were there alone with dad. She agreed we could gently tuck it by his side, so that's what I did. That's when I found his pants had been tucked under him.

Then dad had a hat he loved, a golfers cap. My son had bought it for himself, but dad took a liking to it and sort of made it his own. He wore it til the day he died. It too was going to be buried along with him. The problem was, it just didn't match dad's suit I'd bought him. Also the funeral home was careless and had gotten make up on the sleeve of his suit. My friend proped it over his arm in a nice way, making it look as if he were standing he could be holding it, and it covered the make up stain the funeral home had left on the arm of the suit jacket. I can never be thankful enough for my dear friend who stood with me, and my friends who came to be with me. They were and are my true family.

My son had bought him two tiny tractors, while he was on the road, (he's a truck driver) and they sat on dad's dresser, so we decided to tuck them in as well. We tucked them under the side of the pillow, I guess so we'd have the feeling we sent some of the "country" my dad knew so well with him.

He looked nice, although I believe they put too much rouge on him. Dad was never the dress up kinda guy, he was totally a manly man! He was quite pale all his life. Good color for him as he was fair, with blonde hair blue eyes as a child, that changed darker over the years.

  • When it came time for us to leave, there were only going to be 3 cars behind the hearse. This lady funeral director came to me and said that we'd not have the flags, because this was so small, so we'd have to obey all traffic signals and such.
  • That was a slap in the face. The bill had been paid, they got their money now they just wanted this OVER so they could have the rest of their day off. I guess one can't expect a funeral director to have much compassion as death since death and dying are their business. But why is it that they give much respect to those with larger funerals, and no respect to those of smaller funeral turn outs.
  • It's not a popularity contest after all now is it? Or, is it? (Apparently at Coats it is).

I would not hold my tongue. No! My father who fought for this country, America, and served his time and was given an Honerable Discharge was not going to be short changed by this rude woman! I told her, yes, you're going to give my father the same respect that any one else would get regardless of the people who showed up or not. One person or 1,000, he would get the flags, and we'd have the same respect on route to the cemetery that everyone else got.

She didn't like it, and I saw the frowns upon their faces, and WHY was everyone in such a hurry? Why didn't he matter? His life insurance paid the same price as was due. I actually think he was charged twice for the digging of the grave, but I just couldn't argue that point that day. They know family is distraught, so they took advantage of that. But I still insisted on the flags for the cars, and we made our way to the cemetery. Upon arriving at the cemetery, things were of the norm.

A strange pastor, one of their choosing gave a passe' eulogy, saying really nothing about what my dad's life was about or like. He did not know my father, never asked any questions to what kind of person he was, nothing. It didn't matter, I don't even remember what he said.

What point I really want to make known is, PLEASE, DO NOT USE

COATS FUNERAL HOME IN MICHIGAN, BECAUSE THIS IS HOW WE WERE TREATED, UNFAIRLY TO A WWII VET, A MAN WHO FOUGHT FOR THIS COUNTRY, AND THEY TRIED TO STRIP HIM OF WHAT HE DESERVED IN A FUNERAL.

I know some will think "just get over it," but no, that's not going to be the case. I will NEVER GET OVER HOW RUDELY THEY TREATED MY FATHER, MY SON AND MYSELF.

Funerals, the reminder of, the dreaded day.

Will you be looking a bit closer to the funeral home you choose for your loved one or self?

  • YES, thank you, I most certainly will not go to Coats Funeral home in Michigan!
  • Yes, I will go to another place who will give everyone the same treatment!
  • War Veteran or not, everyone deserves to be treated better than that woman treated your father!
  • Thank goodness I don't live by there! But will make a note to get proper treatment of my loved one!
See results without voting

Coats Funeral Home in Waterford Michigan

My dad at age 17, going off to war. In 1939.
My dad at age 17, going off to war. In 1939.
My parents, dad made it home and did live the American dream. A good wife, good job, and family. Photo 1963. His Abe Lincoln look!
My parents, dad made it home and did live the American dream. A good wife, good job, and family. Photo 1963. His Abe Lincoln look!
Dad and me, 2006
Dad and me, 2006

More by this Author


Comments 10 comments

Katharella profile image

Katharella 6 years ago from Lost in America Author

Thank you to whoever voted, War Veteran or not, everyone deserves to be treated better than that woman treated my father. BTW, her name is PAM MCNEAL FAGAN, and is a licensed Funeral service Counselor. "COUNSELOR"??? Every time I think of that day, not only do I feel ILL at the way he was treated, I still have yet to properly MOURN the loss of my father.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA

Sorry to hear about your bad experience. At least you got your story out so people will know about what happened to your dad.


Katharella profile image

Katharella 6 years ago from Lost in America Author

You are a SweetiePie! Thank you. Yes, I want people to know. Glad they are finding out. Especially if they live in SE Michigan, they'll know to go to someone more compassionate to their customers. They were already paid, so they didn't want to take the time. :( thanks for the recognition!


Glo 6 years ago

No one should be treated this way, no one. The pastor that Coats used should have been informed of your Father's experiences and the fact that he fought for our Republic. He was/is one of the the Greatest Generations----we have those in power now who do not who do not appreciate the sacrifices your Father made, please know I do. God Bless your Father and your Family. As Gibran wrote, "You Can Not Know Joy Without Sorrow".


Katharella profile image

Katharella 6 years ago from Lost in America Author

Hi Geo, thanks, you know, I have been so distraught over EVERYTHING surrounding my fathers death that I didn't even think of saying anything to him. I did request a letter of apology from Pam McFagan and once they sent me copies of the death certificates and extra cards they'd made (to shut me up which is not happening) and another time they just sent me a book on how to mourn. I went to counseling when my mother died, and (the same funeral home) didn't send anything, but hospice sent out several self help books. (And they work hard, and they do not charge a fee. They are also very kind)

A very wise saying, and one also can't know how hard his times were because they did not walk a mile in his shoes. Thank you for posting. Thank you for the appreciation.


Taylorwise profile image

Taylorwise 5 years ago from Austin, TX

Wow,I 'm so glad you shared this whole story as a hub.....it's amazing the way people behave.


Katharella profile image

Katharella 5 years ago from Lost in America Author

Thanks Taylorwise, your hub brought back some memories (that of the pine box, cos that was a joke with my dad) but yes, it was horrible of that woman. So I just am straying as many people away from that funeral home as possible. Make up on his suit, the fold over pants, the grabby way she was, and NOT giving him a proper ride to the cemetery! My dad fought for her freedom to be who she is, so it's her morals that break down the freedoms he fought for. Thanks for the post!


Darrell Scott 4 years ago

Anger is often a part of grieving, but you seem to be holding on to yours with both hands - and for some unreasonable points. The Funeral Director would not have been the one to select the clergy unless YOU wanted her to. Had your father, or you, had a minister in your life, he/she would have been a clear choice. When you don't have a church life while you are alive, it's a little late when you are dead. Also, instead of trying to find reasons to be unhappy with the funeral home, you could have taken a moment and SPOKEN to the minister and shared some things about your father. As far as military honors, the funeral home had no say in that. If your father did not get the big show you think he deserved, it was because he did not deserve it. Tax payers are already paying more than they should for veteran's funerals. Yes, he was active duty in a war. So were millions of other people. He lived through it and received lifetime advantages for it. Millions of us work every day doing our job and get squat for it. Suck it up and be glad he was on the government tit as long as he was!! As far as the wallet story, the funeral director was trying to assist you. You are whining because she was there; you would be whining if she had not been there to help you. Grow up! Funeral Directors have a lot of compassion and do care deeply for grieving families. The fact that she did not tell you to grow up and grow a set shows she had a lot of compassion for you. You are more interested in your vendetta than you are about your loss. Please get some grief counciling to help you through this. It sounds like you received good service and are giving the mortuary a bad rap.


Katharella profile image

Katharella 4 years ago from Lost in America Author

Well Darrell Scott, I only approved your incredibly stupid response to show why you're not showing your face. It's sadly funny.

1) You're 3 years late on your very uninformed response.

2) I was there, were you? Well, since only 4 people were there, you clearly were not there.

3) The Funeral Director was inexcusably WRONG to take any part in choosing anything. I asked her NOTHING other than to LEAVE the room so that my friend and I could spend time with my father as she would not leave because she didn't want me to see she had undertucked his pants rather than having me return them for the size that fit him.

She didn't want me to see the makeup that they'd gotten on the sleeve of his suit.

Jamming a wallet under his hands was inappropriate behavior when my friend, who my dad cared very much agreed he carried it in his back pocket THUS, that is where HE would of wanted it placed.

We discussed things BEFORE HIS DEATH.

My dad cared for me, we were close, we discussed EVERY issue surrounding his death beforehand.

4)You are NOBODY to tell me about "a Minister in our lives" - My whole family went to church our entire lives. I went to a private Christian School in my Jr. High years and chose to go to public when I was in High School because it was across the street from our house. (After I left home to marry, both of my parents continued going to church until theY died, the pastor visited my mother while she lay in a coma. The ONLY deciding factor to change churches was to be closer to our home in my high school years.

5) Had the pastor of that church not lost his 30 year old son to a heart attack just months after he was clergy for my Mothers funeral he would have done so for my father. My son and I did not feel it would be appropriate to ask him to be clergy for my father. It was evident he was still very much mourning the death of his son when my son and I noticed he was still very sad when he joined my son and his wife in marriage the year after he'd lost his only son.

So we were thinking of him as well, and did not even expect him to endure being AT the funeral.

6) PAM MCFAGAN HAD NO INTEREST IN GIVING A CHANCE FOR ME TO SPEAK TO THEIR CLERGYMEN ABOUT MY FATHER, FOR 4 PEOPLE ATTENDING THE FUNERAL SHE HADN'T THE TIME, SHE WANTED TO PUSH IT THROUGH! SHE WAS RUDE, UNCARING AND DIDN'T EVEN HAVE THE DECENCY TO LEAVE ME ALONE WITH MY FATHER FOR A MOMENT OF SILENCE.

SHE HAD NO IDEA I EVEN HAD HIS WALLET UNTIL MY FRIEND TOOK THE ITEMS OUT OF HIS HAT AS THEY WERE WRAPPED SO NOBODY EVEN KNEW WHAT WE HAD, SHE HAD NO BUSINESS COMING UP TO THE CASKET AT ALL. UNINVITED! IN FACT ASKED SEVERAL TIMES TO LEAVE.

IF SHE DID WHERE WAS SHE WHEN MY MOTHER DIED! No other family was there, so it was her chance to play on the emotion of our loss! That's pretty COLD!

SO UNLESS SHE COULD SEE THROUGH CLOTH SHE HAD NO WAY OF KNOWING. HAVING TO ASK HER TO LEAVE SEVERAL TIMES WAS QUITE UNCALLED FOR.

7)As a WWII Veteran who had a Purple heart and played dead several times, having a mortar deafen him, and a bullet go through his leg and still hang motionless to save his life, I think he deserved the flags FOR 3 CARS and a hearse that EVERY OTHER VETERAN GETS.

THE MORTICIAN WHO DRESSED HIM HAD MORE COMPASSION AS HE DID TRY TO CLEAN THE MAKEUP OFF THE SLEEVE WHEN HE WAS AWARE OF MY CONCERN - that she was not concerned at all - OF HIS JACKET AND HE APOLOGIZED, AS SHE STOOD WITH HER ARMS FOLDED in a defensive body language, AND APPARENTLY HAS COLDER BLOOD IN HER VEINS THAN ANYTHING NO LONGER LIVING.

-GOVERNMENT TIT?

THE GOVERNMENT PAYS $300. TOWARD A VETERAN FUNERAL!

I WOULD SURELY LOVE TO MEET YOU FACE TO FACE. YOU'RE A DISGRACE TO ANY MILITARY, AS I'M SURE YOU'D NEVER HAVE A "SET" BIG ENOUGH TO ENTER BATTLE!

"I" GOT THE MEASLY "GOVERNMENT TIT" MONEY 3 MONTHS AFTER HE WAS BURIED.

MY FATHER RETIRED FROM GMC WHICH "PAID" FOR HIS FUNERAL IN FULL! NOT THE GOVERNMENT!

PAM McFADEN HELD HER HAND OUT IN FRONT OF THE CASKET "AT" THE FUNERAL SERVICE DEMANDING THE $500. (OUT OF POCKET NOT MILITARY NOR GMC) MONEY BE PAID FOR THE DIGGING OF THE GRAVE BEFORE "THEIR" CLERGY EVEN BEGAN TO SPEAK. HA! SOME CLERGY!

IT'S OBVIOUS YOU HAVEN'T A CLUE WHO PAYS FOR WHAT WHEN IT COMES TO THE MILITARY OR WORKING FOR 30 YEARS TO GAIN BENEFITS TO RETIRE FROM A COMPANY THAT CREATED VEHICLES.

8)Let me tell you, I may be female but I got a bigger SET than you could ever THINK of having, not to mention knowledge of how to honor anyone's death, how the Military works and how JOBS HAVE BENEFIT PACKAGES UNLIKE THE MILITARY.

My "SET" would squash yours like a kitten under a MAC TRUCK.

And the ONLY reason I'd speak this way on this particular hub is because

HE TAUGHT ME TO STAND UP AND SPEAK MY FEELINGS AND NOT TO LET THOSE WHO ARE "LESSER THAN" EVER TREAT ME AS YOU THINK YOU CAN. HE WARNED ME VERY CLEARLY "MEN ARE NOT GENTLEMEN ANYMORE THOSE DAYS HAVE PASSED."

Vendetta? I do not think you are aware of the meaning of the word. If I was going to carry through with a vendetta, I would have sued them within the month.

He died November 14, 2009.

I went to grief counseling (YOU COULD TAKE A COURSE IN SPELLING AS WELL) for the loss of my mother as I said above. I was more at peace with the loss of my father simply because

*HE CHOSE WHEN HE WANTED TO DIE.*

I worked with my parents family doctor for 35 years with both of their health issues.

I cared for my father for 20 years and prolonged his life by 18 years after doctors had exhausted all possibilities that he would live beyond his first heart surgery.

THANKS FOR GIVING ME YET ANOTHER CHANCE TO SAY WHAT A HORRIBLE PLACE COATS FUNERAL HOME IN WATERFORD MICHIGAN IS. THAT WOMAN IS HORRIBLE AND I WOULDN'T LET AN ANIMAL BE LAID TO REST AS THEY ARE MORE DEAD INSIDE THAN ANY PERSON THEY PUT TO REST. TO THEM ANOTHER DEAD PERSON IS ANOTHER DOLLAR IN THEIR POCKET.

Pam McFagan is a pathetic excuse for a human being, and when her day comes her family just might reap what she has sewn on the horrid ways she has treated others.


DarkSinistar profile image

DarkSinistar 4 years ago from North Carolina

@Darrell Scott (if that really is your name...) - As someone who was fortunate enough to know Katharella's dad, I have to say you are either a complete idiot, an underhanded employee of the funeral home or a heartless troll just looking for trouble. I am betting on troll, but against my better judgment I am going to respond to you anyway. You have no idea what you are talking about, who you are talking about or, apparently, how offensive your comments are to any decent human being and especially veterans and those related to veterans.

This man -- this decorated war HERO -- suffered through things no man should ever have to deal with in order to give you the freedom to come on here and make a complete fool of yourself. Fortunately, he also made it so others can respond and explain to you what a total jerk you are. To begin with, you have no idea what sort of honors, military or otherwise, Katharella's dad did or did not deserve, yet you choose to make condescending statements to his daughter and display your ignorance for all to see.

And how do you know that EVERY funeral director has a lot of compassion? This is a generalization that truly shows how out of touch with reality you are. I know one undertaker in my hometown became a mortician because it was a solid business opportunity and nothing more than a way to make a lot of money doing a job few others wanted. Most days he fakes it well, but on a bad day, it certainly shows. I highly doubt he is the only mortician in America more interested in the money than the deceased. Sad but true.

How did you come up with the brilliant (note the dripping sarcasm) idea that Katharella's dad did not go to church? You just assume that because his regular minister was unable to speak at the funeral that he had no regular minister. Did you ever consider the minister could be out of town, had conflicting commitments, was ailing himself, or (as it turns out was the case) still too much in mourning from a loss of his own to be asked to speak at a funeral.

Another moronic assumption you made is that the government in any way paid for this funeral or that Katharella's dad was in any way living on the "government tit" shows how little you know about the benefits veterans receive and the kind of men who fought in World War II. Katharella's dad was never a man to take from the government, this country or anyone else. All he ever did was give as much of himself as he could -- to his family, to his country, to his church -- and fight for the freedoms you and I enjoy.

Sadly, I was not able to attend the funeral for Katharella's dad as I no longer live in Michigan. But I can tell you that this man and his daughter deserved more respect than they clearly received and more respect than you seem capable of giving. I wish you were right that every funeral director has compassion, but unfortunately some see their job as getting bodies in the ground and money in the bank.

Next time, before commenting, you may try removing your head from your ass so that maybe you can think a little clearer.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working