About Us

FentonLogoSince 1882, Fenton Memorials has continued to service the memorial needs of Michigan families. Specializing in top quality granite, our memorials  and monuments provide personal meaning, a lasting tribute, an enduring legacy, and  elegant beauty at an affordable cost.

From the simple to the unique, all our granite works are carved individually and held to the highest standards. The family tradition of quality and value began with Carl and Mary Butts, and their love for art remains in the Butts family today.

Fenton Memorials has been serving you from the heart of ours since 1882.

History

Fenton Memorials was founded by the aptly-named Charles Stone, a stone cutter by profession.

Called Imperial Marble and Granite Works, it was located at the foot of Main Street at Leroy across from the Fenton Hotel and the Grain Elevator.

history1

“Charles Stone married Mina Lebbin in 1906. This is also the year he named his business Imperial Marble and Granite Works. His obit says he came to Fenton in 1893. He died at the age of 57  from appendicitis on Aug. 25, 1934. On Jan 1, 1934 his 21 year old daughter died in an auto crash. So the mother, Mina, lost daughter and husband in a year. Mina also took over the business when Charles died. A few years later she moved to California to be with her daughter, Louise, around 1939. Educated guess is Mina’s brother Otto Lebbin ran the business until Carl Butts bought it in 1946. He [Carl] died in 1949, and it was taken over by Bobby Butts in 1949. Bobby Butts died in 2013.” [Donna Seger, Fenton Historical Society, Jan. 6, 2015].

Here is a scan of a fire map from 1908 showing its location at 235 N. LeRoy. It was located across from Fenton House Hotel, now known as the Fenton Hotel, and across from Fred Welch Elevator, now known as the Grain Elevator or the Fenton Bean Company. Though not the same building, it is where Fenton Square neighborhood shopping center is located now.

(Click Image For Full Size)

“Fenton, Mich: The Imperial Marble and Granite Works have installed a pneumatic tool plant” [Granite, Marble & Bronze, Vol. XVIII, January 1908]. “The Imperial Marble and Granite Works of Fenton Mich, Charles Stone proprietor, has established a compressor plant operated by gasoline engine” [Stone, Volume XXIX, June 1908].

Here is the only known picture of Charles Stone with George Haskell, at the original Imperial Marble and Granite Works, dated 10-6-1924 provided by the Butts family:

222

Gravestone pictures courtesy of www.findagrave.com. Family portraits were provided by Matthew Butts. Newspaper images were provided by Donna Seger, courtesy of the Fenton Historical Society.

Click images for full size.

 

October 1909 Fenton Free Carnival1929 Fenton Directory

 Historical Society  Charles Stone Obit  charles stone obit 2  Mina Stone Obit 79574599_132059399745 79574665_132059408986

Carl Butts was employed by the company in 1937. Carl L. Butts and his wife Mary Burton-Butts purchased the business in 1946 from the Stone family. It was then named Fenton Memorials.

Carl was an accomplished Victorian sculptor who had spent many years traveling the country hand carving his artworks into the architecture of many buildings. These elaborate artworks included lions, Acanthus leaves, Corinthian columns, and gargoyle motifs.He brought his love for the art into the memorial company. Below is an ad from 1946 from the Fenton Courier newspaper, and a personal sales letter written by Carl.

Carl Butts ad 1946 Monuments of Quality

Carl had three sons: Carroll, Bobby, and Carl. Carl Butts grew ill and died in 1949, only a short three years after his purchase of the company. Carl’s wife Mary lived until 1992. 

According to the Davis Graham funeral home records via the Fenton Historical Society:

Died 16 Jan 1949 BUTTS, CARL resident Fenton; stone cutter; b 4 Aug 1903; 46y; serv Baptist Church; b Illinois; d Fenton; son of Levi Butts and Sarah Cushing; buried Oakwood

SKMBT_C224e15011209520-page-001-791x1024 50684516_127092412440  Mary Butts Obituary Courtesy of Fenton Historical Society

 Mary turned to her son Bobby Butts to run the Fenton Memorials business in 1949. Bobby took over ownership of the company in 1963. He continued hand carving each stone until the early sixties when sandblasting became the more predominant means of carving.

Bobby Dean Butts of Fenton, MI and Briny Breezes, FL, was born March 21, 1928 in Carterville, IL to Carl L. and Mary Francis (Burton) Butts. He graduated from Fenton High School, class of 1946, where he played football and basketball.  See an article here about the 1946  basketball team that was inducted into the Fenton High School Athletic Hall of Fame here: http://www.mlive.com/sports/flint/index.ssf/2011/06/1946_fenton_tigers_basketball.html

SKMBT_C224e15020409260_0001

Bobby and Charlene Butts 50th Wedding Anniversary

Bob was a veteran of the United States Army in the 82nd Airborne Division. He was a stone carver and he took over the family business in 1949 as owner of Fenton Memorial and Vaults.  He was joined in marriage to Charlene Marie Haines on August 12, 1950 and they had seven children: Barbara Bisbee, Jennifer (Tom) Porman, Jacqueline (Ed) Hosey, Julie (Michael) Sage, Michael (Michele) Butts, Dr. Laurie (Joe) Novak, and Matthew (Melissa) Butts.

Some time in the 1950s, date unknown, a Studebaker ran into the Fenton Memorials building. Check out this interesting photo of it. See where a monument stone landed.

accident

The company became Fenton Memorials & Vaults in 1963.

1966 02 1966 01

Fenton Memorials was moved to its current location at 3236 Owen Road around 1969-70, and now serves as an outlet for memorials, vaults and other services. From the Fenton Independent:

“Construction started by Fenton Memorials, Inc. of a 5,000 square foot manufacturing plant in front of it’s existing burial plant on Owen Road near US 23 expressway. When the building is completed, hopefully before the first of the year, the office and stone carving headquarters will move from the plant at 235 N. Leroy Street. Sale of that building to Vic Canever Chevrolet, Inc., occurred shortly before Canever purchased the Wismer-Wright Chevrolet Co., two months ago. The new Fenton Memorials, Inc. plant on Owen Road will be construction with pre-cast panels of chipped marble. It will be one story high of modern design, and will be located to the west and across the front of the present building, which it will hide. The building was designed by Donocan Allen Associates, Flint Architects. A display area has been provided for outdoor display of gravestones, behind screening walls. Two entrance drives will lead to the building. A row of offices will be located along the west side of the building, with a manufacturing area providing room for carving or gravestones. An overhead crane will enable handling of heavy materials, carrying them to a loading dock on the east side of the structure. Fenton Memorials, Inc. burial vault plant was the first building constructed in the industrial corridor being developed by Tom Kundinger. The site has been the location of granite carving plant for 85 years, the Imperial Granite Marble works being located there in 1882. Fenton Memorials, Inc. is headed by Bobby Butts, President and Marvin Cramer Vice President. In addition to wholesale and retail stone carving business, with the company acting as distributor for several well known quarries, a cemetery maintenance division is operated, taking care of a half dozen area cemeteries.” [Fenton Independent,   July 31st, 1969]

Plant

 Fenton Memorials also previously had a showroom building in front of the factory outlet on Owen Road, as well as a showroom at Tyrone Memory Gardens on White Lake Road. The current showroom is part of the factory outlet at 3236 Owen Road, directly behind Taco Bell.

In 2007-2008, Fenton Memorials and the Butts family repaired The Rock, the well-known rock in front of Fenton High School. See the story here http://fentonhistsoc.tripod.com/id140.html and another story here http://www.fentonalumni.org/therock.htm.

Ken Seger of the Fenton Historical SocietyKen Seger of the Fenton Historical Society showing the repair of The Rock, which was fixed by Fenton Memorials.

Bob retired from Fenton Memorials on January 22, 2013, the day he passed away. He is buried in historic Oakwood Cemetery in Fenton, MI. After Bobby passed, his two sons, Michael and Matthew, continue to manage the business. Their daughter Barb still works within the company managing many of the details behind the scenes.

Serving you from the heart of ours since 1882.

Leave a Reply