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Our History

Early History

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The Funeral Home now known as the Mills Funeral Home, Shelly-Odell Chapel at 518 S. Main Street in Eaton Rapids was originally started in 1870 by C. T. Hartson. It was sold to the Vaughn brothers and later to Harold Pettit and Paul Hale. Paul Hale sold out in 1920 and in 1925, it became the Pettit and Rice Funeral Home in the old Vaughn building located in downtown Eaton Rapids. 

In 1951, Pettits bought Harry Dey's business and moved into the present building at the corner of S. Main and Broad streets. In 1953, the chapel and other facilities were added. In 1968, Keith and Doris Shelly purchased the funeral home and changed the name to the Shelly Funeral Home. The Shellys served this community with compassion and skillfulness for over 20 years. 

History Continued

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In 1988, the funeral home was purchased by Jordan and Kathleen Odell although Keith Shelly remained an important part of the business. They added the Odell name to make it Shelly-Odell Funeral Home in 1990.They worked together in helping families through all of the details surrounding the difficult time of a loss. 

In 1990 a new restroom area was added, the chapel was renovated and a handicap accessible entrance was built. A completely new entrance, chapel and casket selection room were added in the year 2001. We now have the capability of seating approximately 375-400 people. Our goal is to provide a place that is warm and welcoming so that the families we help can honor their loved ones.


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In 2009, Michael and Jennifer Mills purchased the Shelly-Odell Funeral Home. Jordan and Kathleen Odell continue to have an important role in providing the compassionate care that families have come to expect. In 2016, Michael Mills Jr. graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science and joins his parents in serving the community as a licensed funeral director. In 2017, The Mills family felt it was the proper time to change the name of the funeral home, which is now called Mills Funeral Home, Shelly-Odell Chapel.

Michael and Jennifer are very active in the community. They belong to the Eaton Rapids Lions Club, Eaton Rapids Knight of Columbus, St. Peter Catholic Church, Hospital Auxiliary, Business and Professional Women, and volunteer at the Eaton Rapids Public Schools, Meals On Wheels and the Capital Area Humane Society. 

They have 4 children, Ryan, Michael Jr., Sean and Kathryn that also play various roles at the funeral home.

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