Heritage Funeral Home | (734) 285-1300 | 15748 Fort Street, Southgate, MI 48195


our valued staff

John Kernan, Owner/Funeral Director

John resides in Grosse Ile with his wife, Jeanne. They also have three children, John (Kristine), Robert (Lindsey), and Connie (Matthew) and are proud grandparents of Jack, Ryan, Robert, Maxwell, Madison and Matthew. After graduating from Riverview’s Gabriel Richard High School, John attended Wayne State University, obtaining a degree in Mortuary Science. While attending Wayne State, he was a member of their rowing crew. John has over 36 years of experience in funeral service. Along with his partner, Chris Poirier he currently owns and operates Czopek Funeral Home in Wyandotte; Kernan Funeral Service in Lincoln Park; Heritage Funeral Home in Southgate; and Crane Funeral Home., in Romulus. John is a member of the Robert Jones Council Knights of Columbus and past member of the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce, Lincoln Park D.D.A. and the Exchange Club. For relaxation, John enjoys boating locally as well as hunting, fishing and golfing at his cottage in Irish Hills.

Christopher Poirier, Owner/Funeral Director

Chris lives in Southgate with his wife, Sue. Chris and Sue have a son, Christopher and they also have two daughters, Kristin (Greg) Grant and Jennifer (Micah Swain) and are proud grandparents of Presley, Megan, Adam and Easton. Chris is a graduate of the St. Lawrence Seminary and a Wayne State University Graduate with a degree in Mortuary Science. Chris has over 36 years of experience in the funeral industry. Chris purchased Czopek Funeral Home along with his father, Jim in 1984. He currently owns and operates Czopek Funeral Directors, Kernan Funeral Service, Heritage Funeral Home and Crane Funeral Home with his business partner, John Kernan. Chris is an active member of the Wyandotte Lions Club, Knights of Columbus, Wyandotte Boat Club, Fraternal Order of Police, as well an active Chairman of the City of Southgate Police and Fire Commission. He also is a former Public Safety Commissioner for the City of Southgate for 6 years. In his spare time, Chris enjoys hosting family and friends at his cottage in northern Michigan as well as sailing, fishing, and relaxing.

R. Shawn Hartnett, Funeral Director, CFSP, CMFP

Shawn started working at Czopek in 2008 as a greeter while attending Wayne State University. He graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor‘s degree in Mortuary Science, as well as completing the National and State Board Exams moving on to becoming a licensed funeral director. Shawn is dedicated to serving families and his community. He has completed over 180 hours of continuing education in earning his national designation as a Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP), as well as a State Certified Funeral Practitioner (CMFP). He is also a member of MI-MORT, a group of volunteers from various professions to help aid in response of a disaster with mass fatalities and is also a limited life agent. Shawn’s goal is to provide meaningful and memorable services to the families he has the honor and privilege of serving and provide assistance to people who want to preplan their funerals. Shawn has lived in the Downriver area since 2003 and currently lives in Trenton with his wife Alison, daughter Lily, son Tommy and their beloved yellow Labrador Retriever Elvis. He is very involved with his son’s hockey team, is the Committee Chairman for his son’s Cub Scout Troop, as well is a member of the Trenton Lions Club. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, swimming, archery and watching the Detroit Red Wings.

Lisa M. Malear, Funeral Director, CPC, CCO

Lisa grew up in Lake Orion, Michigan and found her way to the Wayne State Mortuary Science Program after a change from majoring in Nursing.She is the first in her family to enter into the funeral service profession. She graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor’s of Science serving as Class President, earning the Beaver T. Edwards Restorative Art Award, and acquiring a Certified Crematory Operator certification. Shortly after graduating she obtained her professional licensure and is also a Certified Pre-Need Consultant. She is part of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) and the Michigan Funeral Directors Association (MFDA), serving as MFDA District 2 President in 2019. During her time in funeral service, Lisa values the experiences she encounters and is proud of the opportunity to serve families and honor the deceased. When she is not working, Lisa enjoys cooking and baking, attending baseball games and traveling to Washington D.C. to visit her sister. She resides with her partner, Brandon, a university professor, in Eastpointe, Michigan.

Charles Gury, Certified Pre-Planning Professional, Funeral Director, CPC, CFSP, CMFP

Charles grew up in Dearborn and now lives in Canton with his wife Janet. Charles has three children, Kaitlyn, Kristen and Brian.

After graduating from Fordson High School in Dearborn, Charles attended Wayne State University and graduated with a degree in Mortuary Science. Charles then obtained his limited life insurance license which allows him additional ways to escrow prepaid funeral funds. Charles thrives to excel in his profession. Through continuing education, Charles earned his designations as a Certified Pre-planning Professional (CPC), Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP), and a Certified Michigan Funeral Practitioner (CMFP). Charles has over 34 years of experience in the funeral industry.

Charles’ experience as a funeral director and preplanning counselor has helped him ease the minds of many individuals who want to save their families from the burden of final arrangements. He takes his time to listen to the needs of families and answer all their questions.

Charles is a member of the National Funeral Directors Association, Michigan Funeral Directors Association and the Msgr. Clement H. Kern Knights of Columbus. Charles and his wife Janet are board members of the Canton High School Lightning Robotics Team.

Charles enjoys summer barbeques, traveling, and especially going up north and boating with his family and fishing for Walleye on Saginaw Bay.

Karen Appl, Administrative Assistant

Karen grew up in Southgate, graduated from Schafer High School in 1978, and resides in the city with her husband of 39 years. Together, they have two children, a son and a daughter. What Karen finds most fulfilling with her position at the funeral homes is helping families during one of the most difficult and trying moments of their lives, hoping to make their experience as comforting and relaxed as possible. Some of Karen’s favorite activities include vacationing, bowling and boating, while also devoting much of her free time to her family.

Elizabeth “Betsy” L. Faryniarz, Funeral Home Staff

Elizabeth, also known as Betsy, grew up in the city of Wyandotte, graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1965, and still resides in the city. She would later graduate from Virginia Farrell Beauty School in 1970 and has her State of Michigan Cosmetology License. Betsy is married to Thomas S., has one son, Thomas N., daughter-in-law, Rene, and one granddaughter, Morgan. In 1997, when her mother passed away, Betsy came into the funeral home to style her mother‘s hair when James Poirier, funeral director and owner, asked if she was available to work at Czopek Funeral Home. James gave Betsy the confidence to work for the funeral homes, and she feels that she has been professionally fulfilled with her position here ever since, helping to bring comfort to grieving families. In her free time, Betsy enjoys attending her granddaughters soccer, volleyball, and softball games. She also enjoys listening to music, attending oldies concerts, solving crossword puzzles, dancing, and homemaking.

Sherri Lynch, Funeral Home Staff

Sherri grew up in Livonia, graduated from Livonia Bentley High School in 1933, and attended Henry Ford Community College for accounting/business. Sherri married her husband, Pat, in 1989 and together they have two sons, Shawn and Ryan. She would later move to Wyandotte in 1999. Sherri's son Shawn is marrying Emily in August of 2018. She is also a “furmom” to her “furbaby’Jack, a German shepherd. Spending time with her family and hosting their big Sunday dinners come first and foremost during her spare time. Her family also enjoys spending long weekends up north at their cottage in Mikado, Michigan and, in the summer, boating down at Brest Bay. Sherri is a member of Our Lady of Scapular Church in Wyandotte and, from time to time, she also enjoys volunteering at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. For fun, Sherri is also an avid University of Michigan sports fan, especially Michigan football (Go Blue!). The most fulling aspect of Sherri‘s job is meeting the many wonderful people and families at the funeral homes, while helping them through one of the most difficult times of their lives. Sherri enjoys connecting with the families by just talking to them and finds a sincere purpose with her job.

Debbie Wallace, Funeral Home Staff

Debbie Wallace attended Southgate Public Schools through eigth grade and graduated from Gabriel Richard High School in 1983. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in education in 1990, she went on for her master's, graduating in 2007. Debbie taught at Christ the Good Shepherd School for four years and has since been at St. Pius X Catholic School for 15 years. Currently living in Woodhaven, she also has three daughters, all graduates of Grand Valley State University-: two who still live in Grand Rapids. Debbie came to work for the funeral homes when she began looking for a second job to help get her daughters through college. She enjoys working with people and thought this would be a good fit, finding the most ful filling part is getting to know the families and doing whatever she can to help them through a difficult time. She is a member of the Detroit Historical Society and the Wyandotte Historical Society, and has also performed volunteer work at both the Detroit Historical Society and the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House. Her interest in history, especially historical homes and buildings, directed her volunteer work at these places. In her down time, Debbie enjoy spending time with her family and friends, going for walks, visiting other places in Michigan (especially the west side of the state), and attending country music concerts.

Colleen Baca, Funeral Home Staff

Colleen grew up in the city of Taylor, graduating from Taylor Center High School in 1974. She attended college and later became a certified nursing Assistant. She retired from Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn, working in the mother/ baby unit for 38 years, and later came to work for the funeral homes, searching for somewhere new and different to work. Colleen has always considered herself a people person and that trait helps fulfill her position here at the funeral homes. She is a member of St. Paul United Church of Christ in Taylor, and also a member of the PRCU (Polish Roman Catholic Union) of Wyandotte. PRCU hosts many events and activities through the year which Colleen is involved in. She has also volunteered her time with Meals on Wheels. Colleen resides in Southgate with her husband, Bernie. They have two daughters,Jamie (Dave) and Renee, one son, Eric (Kathleen, and grandchildren Kylie, Kloie, and Ethan Eric. Watching her grandchildren, spending time with her family and friends, traveling, and spending time in Florida at their time share is how she enjoys her free time.

Mary Borysiewski, Funeral Home Staff

Diane Skrypiec, Funeral Home Staff

Lesley Thomas, Funeral Home Staff

Ruth Kernan, Accounting

Ruth grew up in Ecorse, MI and after graduation from Ecorse High School married Jack Kernan. They have two children, Patricia and John (Jeanne), six grandchildren (and their spouses) and five great grandchildren.

Ruth joined the Funeral Home Staff in 1996 after her retirement from the accounting department of Ecorse Public Schools. Ruth considers it a privilege to serve and assist grieving families whatever their particular needs. She is also a volunteer at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital.

Ruth and Jack curently live in Grosse Ile and enjoy both the water and wild life of the Island.

Favorite activities include traveling, sewing, reading and most of all family time.

Jack Kernan, Coach Driver

Jack began driving hearse after his retirement from the Ecorse Fire Department as Deputy Chief. During his tenure with the department he also did arson investigation.

After Jack and his wife Ruth relocated to Grosse Ile, they became active members of Sacred Heart catholic church. Jack is also a member of the Robert Jones Council of Ifuights of Columbus.

Activities that Jack has enjoyed include traveling, hunting, fishing and wood carving. He enjoyed rowing for many years and spent much time rowing in competition in Canada and across the United States.

Jack is most proud of his family and enjoys spending time with them.