ABOUT NIXON FUNERAL HOME
C. Neuendorf and his son, C.E., begin a new furniture and undertaking
business in the site of the former old Methodist Church on Biddle
Ave. and Oak St.
Ralph Nixon, then six years old and a neighbor to the Neuendorf business,
begins to help with everyday dutie. These chores involve the team
of black horses used to pull the hearse in elegant funeral processions
of this period.
Mr. Nixon begins working with Mr. Neuendorf as an apprentice with
the goal of earning his embalmer's license.
Mr. Nixon becomes a licensed embalmer and partner in the furniture
and funeral business owned by Mr. Neuendorf.
On Oct. 8, Nixon buys out Mr. Neuendorf and establishes his own
business, "Nixon, Undertaker and Furniture."
Mr. Nixon sells the funiture store at Biddle and Elm. He concentrates
on the funeral and ambulance business only, and purchases a home
at the corner of Biddle and Vinewood for a new funeral home. This
gray, two-story structure was built as a private residence about
ten years before. It was one of only a few buildings in our area
that were used for funerals. In this era, most services were conducted
from the family home or church. Mr. Nixon's younger brother, Charles,
opens his own funeral business in Lincoln Park a few years later.
On April 17, Mr. Nixon opens his new French Provincial Funeral Home
to the public. The original funeral home is moved sixty feet to
the north to make room for the new structure. The old funeral home
becomes Mr. Nixon's residence.
Donald R. Burd finishes his WWII duty in the U.S. Navy. He returns
home to Detroit to marry Marian Duggan. After the birth of their
first daughter the Burds move to Wyandotte and Don becomes an employee
of the H.F. Thon Funeral Home at Biddle and Chestnut St., two blocks
to the south of Nixon's.
On June 5, Ralph Nixon dies unexpectedly at Riverside Hospital in
Trenton at the age of 67. As a life long resident of Wyandotte,
Mr. Nixon leaves a lasting impression on this community as a trendsetter
and respected businessman.
On Jan. 29, the partners in the H.F. Thon Funeral Home acquire the
Nixon Funeral Home from Mr. Nixon's estate. These funeral directors
are Trevor Herrick, William Keller, Donald R. Burd. Mr. Burd, the
youngest partner, is selected to be the manager of the Nixon operation.
Ambulance service was discontinued by most local funeral homes by
the late 1950's.
Don Burd's daughters, Linda Burd-Berman, Christine Burd, and Veronica
Burd have all particpated in the daily operations of the funeral
homes. At present, Linda, as a licensed director, manages the business,
while Christine handles the office management.
Between 1985 and 1991, the R.J. Nixon Funeral Home was completely
remodeled under Mr. Burd's and his daughters' direction. This total
revamping of the facility took place in three phases, approximately
two years apart. The offices and hallway were completed first including
a new lobby fireplace and mantle. Next, the formal chapel was finished
including a new family seating area along the south wall. Finally,
the viewing rooms were completed with new furniture and a new wall
dividing the two viewing rooms. Although Ralph Nixon's original
floor plan remained, the funeral home was completely refurbished
and decorated with an entirely new look.
On June 29, Donald H. Knapp, a beloved and long-time retired employee
of both Ralph Nixon and the Burd Family dies at age 75. Mr. Knapp
was cherished by the staff and clients and is still missed today.
Rest in peace, Knappy.
Mr. Burd acquires the Wabeek Tea Room and former Nixon residence.
These properties, located to the north of the funeral home, were
purchased from Mrs. Agnes Dunn and her daughter, Vivian Doherty,
who wished to retire from their restaurant business. The buildings
are razed to make room for a 7500 square foot addition to the existing
funeral home. The expansion provides for two new viewing chapels,
six offices, and lounge. Parking space was almost doubled.
On Nov. 23, the Burd Family and the staff of the R.J. Nixon Funeral
Home hosted a celebration of the opening of the new facility. It
is Mr. Burd's intention to provide the finest funeral facilities
and service that, in the spirit of Ralph Nixon, will remain a fitting
tribute to our community for many years.
The merchandise area is remodeled to reflect a more modern approach to introducing funeral merchandise to families. The Keepsake Shop is also introduced, the first of its kind in our area.
Donald Burd passes away February 8, 2006. The R.J. Nixon Funeral Home and H.F. Thon Funeral Home are now managed by Linda Burd Berman and Christine Burd.
Marian Burd passes away on April 3, 2007.