Two caskets: Historic and patriotic

Posted on August 19th, 2019 by under Funerals
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John F. Kennedy was buried in a version of this casket model.

In our Royal Oak display room you’ll find our newest casket, with a military theme, and our oldest, the stunning Marsellus M710 FTH President model.

For more than 130 years, the Marsellus Casket Company in Syracuse, New York made what came to be called the Rolls Royce of caskets. The M710 FTH President was the top of the line and you can see one of the few remaining available at our Royal Oak facility. It has a hand-carved top with a velvet lining. The regular M710 model has a smooth top.

President John Kennedy was buried in an M710, as was his widow, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.  Other notables who chose it include Richard and Pat Nixon, professional golfer Ben Hogan, author Alex Haley, actors Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Charles Bronson, newscaster David Brinkley and country singers Tammy Wynette and Eddy Arnold.

When Marsellus closed in 2003, their last casket was a 710 President. It is now displayed in the National Museum of Funeral History.

It takes up to 350 board feet of lumber to build a fine casket. The process of molding it into a solid-wood finished product takes about eight months, including time to dry or season the wood. Fine hardwood caskets are hand-assembled, then hand-rubbed and finished with four to five coats of lacquer to bring out the beauty of the wood.

The lining, in blue or black, is made from the fabric used for military and public safety uniforms.

Our newest casket option, available both in Royal Oak and Utica, is the Freedom Midnight. Made of 18-gauge blue steel, it’s lined with the same wool fabric used to make military uniforms. It’s suited to veterans of the Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and police departments. The Patriot Ebony, black with a black wool lining, serves Army, Marine Corps and fire fighter veterans.

Michael Lope

Co-Owner, Funeral Director Michael J. Lope is a licensed funeral director and co-owner of the Wm. Sullivan & Son Funeral Home. Mike attended American Academy McAllister Institute for mortuary school in New York City. Mike was licensed in 2006 and began working with his family at Wm. Sullivan & Son Funeral Home. He currently works at both family funeral homes in Utica and Royal Oak. In his time off Michael enjoys golfing, skiing, hiking and camping. He is a parishioner at Holy Name Catholic Church with his wife Christine and his two children Andrew and Ashlyn. He and his family are committed to maintaining a family owned and operated funeral home that is a progressive and innovative leader in burial and cremation services.

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