Raymond E. Cantrell Sr.
Raymond Cantrell Sr., Founder of Cantrell Funeral Home, one of the largest Black-owned Funeral Homes in Detroit, Michigan. Born July 19, 1920, Raymond is a native of Georgia (Douglas County) born into a family with 5 other siblings. Raymond attended and graduated from the Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta GA. He received a scholarship to Morehouse College (Atlanta) to study medicine and remained there for two years. As an inquisitive and pioneering young man, he together with an older brother in 1941 took the initiative to make an exploratory visit Detroit, MI anticipating returning to Atlanta to complete his studies. However, during this extended stay in Detroit he was called up for national service.
Raymond was stationed in El Paso, TX and served for three years as a medical technician assisting staff in the dispensary. After completion of national service Raymond was honorably discharged at the rank of sergeant. Upon his discharge he did not return to Atlanta but went instead to Detroit. He has never regretted this decision to make Detroit his ‘home town.’
Raymond’s entrepreneurial flair and passion for serving out of a “basic need within the Detroit eastside community”, developed opportunities to open and operate his own Barber Shop (Ray’s Baber Shop on E. Forrest Avenue, Detroit); work as a relief man at the Ford Motor Company for 15 years; and studied mortuary science as a part time student at Wayne State University (Detroit).
During the early 1950s Raymond had seen a need for additional choices in funeral homes in the Detroit eastside community. On completion of his Mortuary Science Degree (Department of Mortuary Science Wayne State University - Class of 1952) he soon established himself as a provider of compassionate yet personal funeral services. Armed with a morticians license Raymond freelanced intermittently working for the Diggs and Anderson Funeral Homes while concurrently maintaining his relief-man position at Ford Motor Company (5 days a week) and operating Ray’s Barber shop (6 days a week).
With some capital to his name in the early 50s, Raymond purchased property on Detroit’s Eastside (Montclair and Kercheval).
Raymond’s unique approach to funeral service provision and caring attention in meeting each grieving family’s unique needs stimulated and increased demand for his services. After a few years together with an enviable professional reputation, demand for ‘Cantrell’s’ funeral service provision was at a growing and sustainable level and Raymond resigned from his position at the Ford Motor Company and closed his barbershop business to focus on his funeral home.
Cantrell Funeral Home relocated to substantially larger premises at 10400 Mack Avenue (its current location) on January 1st, 1964. The move to larger premises enhanced Raymond’s position as a provider of compassionate and dignified funeral services and strengthened his goal to provide families ‘a personalized funeral service while meeting their unique financial needs.
Raymond is married to Annetta and this union has produced two daughters, Quanika and Quashell. Raymond also has two adult children from a previous marriage, Raymond Cantrell II. and Crystal Morris (preceded him in death).
Raymond’s strong Christian faith has also permitted him to be an active member of the Burns Seventh-day Adventist Church in Detroit for more than 50 consecutive years.
During a profound career in the funeral business that has spanned six decades Raymond’s professionalism, entrepreneurial acumen and philanthropy have not gone unnoticed. He as president and founder of the Cantrell Funeral Home is the recipient of countless awards, honors and accolades. However, one of his greatest achievements is the continuation of his work and service ethic in the careers of his staff many of whom have gone onto to become managing funeral directors and owners
Raymond shared the reasoning behind the Cantrell Funeral Home’s motto ‘Where beauty lives’ by stating that he and his staff seek at all times to allow the deceased to look as natural and restful as possible while providing a comprehensive professional service that will respect the guardianship and dignity of the deceased. This “beauty” is not only of the loved one remembered Raymond says, but “beauty” in the service, support and professionalism provided by the Staff at the Cantrell Funeral Home. Raymond E. Cantrell Sr., a pioneering mortician with a lifelong and continuing desire, determination and passion to serve the living!
The arrangements are as follows:
Visitation: Saturday, November 5, 2016 From 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm & Sunday, November 6, 2016 From 10:00 am - 3:00 pm; Cantrell Funeral Home, Inc., 10400 Mack Ave., Detroit, MI 48214
Memorial Tribute: Sunday, November 6, 2016 From 4:00 pm - 7: 00 pm; Burns Seventh Day Adventist Church, 10125 E. Warren Ave., Detroit, MI 48214
Family Hour / Funeral: Monday, November 7, 2016 10:00 am / 11:00 am; Burns Seventh Day Adventist Church, 10125 E. Warren Ave., Detroit, MI 48214