As a young man growing up in the Detroit area, Edward Sawyer tried many different jobs. One of his jobs included working for Harris Funeral Home in Detroit. This job got Mr. Sawyer interested in the funeral industry. After learning the trade, he decided it was time to open his own funeral home. He met his wife, Ileene, and together, in 1938, they opened Sawyers Funeral Home on Catalpa Drive in Berkley.
Seeking a better location and an opportunity to expand their business, Ed and Ileene moved to a location on Coolidge Highway, still in Berkley. In 1944, just before the end of World War II, an old farmhouse located on Oakwood Boulevard (12 Mile Road) became available. Because of its location across the street from Roseland Park Cemetery, Ed and Ileene believed this would be the ideal location for a funeral home and a good place to raise their young daughter and son. They bought the farmhouse from the Cromie family and moved the business to its current location.
In 1950, Mrs. Sawyer enrolled in Wayne (State) University's Mortuary School and was one of the first women in Michigan to receive a funeral directors license. Joining her husband at the firm, she quickly became an integral part of the success of the funeral home. She did everything at the funeral home form meeting with families, directing funerals, and keeping the books.
In 1953, a young man named, Bill Fuller, came to work for Ed and Ileene. It was not long before he developed a passion for the Sawyers’ daughter, Yvonne and the shiny limousines owned by the funeral home. Bill and Yvonne were married in 1955 and moved to California while Bill served our country in the U.S. Navy. After his honorable discharge, the Fullers moved back to Berkley and started working at the funeral home again. In early 1965, Bill received his funeral director’s license and continued his career with the firm.
Bill and Yvonne purchased the business from her parents in 1975 and it officially became known as Sawyer-Fuller Funeral Home. The Fullers continue to operate the funeral home to this day.
Sawyer-Fuller Funeral Home has been a long time fixture in Berkley and the north Woodward communities. The staff has grown a reputation as caring and honest professionals and has over 250 years of combined funeral service experience. Bill and Yvonne are also the proud grandparents of four grandsons, three of which are eagle scouts, and one of those boys will be in the next chapter of the 70+ year history of the funeral home.