‘Freak’ car crash into Jackson funeral home prompts renovation plans

JACKSON, MI — A car crashing into the front of the Charles J. Burden & Son Funeral Home was “a freak accident” that eventually brought opportunity.

The incident this spring ended safely for everyone involved — except the front door of the funeral home at 1806 E. Michigan Ave. — which was badly damaged, Funeral Director Christopher Dean said.

But, in that damage, Dean said, was an opportunity to renovate the facility that’s been a community staple since its opening in 1949. So, workers packed up and began operating out of Patience Montgomery Funeral Home on First Street while the work was being done.

“All of this was just a big day dream, and then all of a sudden this happened and it became a reality for us,” Dean said.

At first, the main goal of the renovation was to make the front door compliant with the American Disabilities Act, Dean said. But it was soon evident some aspects of construction would require extra work because of the crash.

“After they got into fixing it, they realized that the front of the building had shifted,” Dean said. “The front wall was knocked off the foundation.”

Renovation plans include a new front entrance, lobby and chapel. Dean said a “grand re-opening” is planned for early 2021.

Dean hopes community members continue their support and concern over the business — as he said many have called wondering what happened and if the business had closed. He believes it comes from the founder’s involvement in the Jackson community.

“This man was really kind of one of a kind,” Dean said of Charles Burden. “He really did as he could to help his families, his blue-collar families. He built that business on blue collar workers. That was one of Charlie Burden’s biggest things: ‘How can I help the common guy?’”

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