The Martinson Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Leelanau was founded in 1917 and we are celebrating over 100 years of service to the community by our family. 4 generations of our family funeral directors have provided a shoulder to our friends in need.

Our Leelanau legacy goes back to 6 generations and we are honored to be a part of the rich history of the area. It is our calling to serve the wonderful folks that make Leelanau County the treasure that it is.

Meet the Martinson Family

Our Founder

Martin Martinson originated the funeral home duringthe horse and buggy era. Martin's service to Suttons Bay & Leelanau County was life-long. In 1919 he established and until 1975 ran Leelanau County's only ambulance service. Martin was a charter founder, 30 year member, and president of the Suttons Bay Board of Education. He was a charter founder and president of the Suttons Bay Rotary and Suttons Bay Village Council.

The Second Generation

Grandfather Raymond and Grandmother Millie saw the transformation from the horse and buggy era to motorized hearses. They continued our tradition of service to Leelanau with the ambulance service until 1975. Ray was a life-long sportsman and member of the Cedar Rod and Gun Club and was honored with a rare 60 Years of Funeral Service Awarded by the Michigan Funeral Directors Association.

The Third Generation

Our parents, Robert and Kumiko Martinson oversaw the transformation of the original 1917 structure to the structure you see today. Robert's citizenship and service has been life-long. He was his Suttons Bay High School Class Valedictorian, Michigan State University Engineering Honor Graduate and the top graduate of the Wayne State University School of Mortuary Science. Bob served his country in the US Navy Seabees and as a past member of the Village Council.  

The Fourth Generation

Nick is a graduate of Suttons Bay High School and the Virginia Military Institute, he was the top graduate of his Marine Corps Boot Camp Class and meritoriously selected for Officer's Candidate School. He served his country as a Lance Corporal and then as an Officer of Marines. He rose from enlisted ranks to the field grade officer rank of Major.
After his Marine Corps service, Nick earned a second college degree and graduated Magna Cum Laude as the top graduate of Vincennes University's Funeral Service Education Program. Today, Nick continues to serve his community as a Funeral Director and Owner of the Martinson Funeral Home. He and Natasha run the business side by side, running the Martinson Family Farm and raising the next Martinson generation of four girls in Leelanau County.

The Fifth Generation

Savannah and Naomi have a part of the family business for over a year. They assist with many aspects of the business and are currently attending college classes. 

Original Horse Drawn Hearse

1918 - The original Martinson Funeral Home Horse Drawn Hearse at the Suttons Bay Lutheran Cemetery.

Our First Motorized Hearse

Our first motorized hearse! It was a Sayers & Scovill Co Hearse bought for $590.25 on May 13, 1919 from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Our Original Location in Suttons Bay

(Left Photo) Martinson and Kroupa, Furniture and Undertaking occupied the left side of he Adolph Rufi building from 1917 to 1935, Martin Martinson and Thomas Kropa proprietors.
(Right Photo) The present location is situated on the former Park Hotel run by the Duester Family. The hotel burned down in 1915 and the present funeral home was built on this site in 1935.

The Original Location

Martinson and Kroupa Furniture and Undertaking from 1917 to 1935. The bank is now the location of the former Bonek Insurance Agency.

Present day location

The Park Hotel owned by the Duester Family. It burned down in 1915 and the present funeral home was built on this site in 1935.

1917 to 1935

The first level show room of Martinson and Kroupa Furniture and Undertaking showing their furniture selection. Please note on the left side of the photo the sign advertisement for a very modern item at the time... linoleum!

1917 to 1935

The upstairs casket selection room of Martinson & Kroupa Furniture and Undertaking. (L-R) John Klump, Martin Martinson, Thomas Kroupa.

Park Hotel Suttons Bay

This view is looking North up M-22?Front Street/Saint Joseph Street of Suttons Bay. The Park Hotel (Duester Family) is seen on the left and the square, white brick building across the street is now home to Roman Wheel Pizza.

1935 to 1975

Our current building, pre - 1975 remodeling. This brick building was constructed in 1934 - 1935 and served as the Leelanau County Fall Out Shelter during the Cold War Years and as the Leelanau County Morgue, which it still is today. To the best of our knowledge, it was the first purpose built funeral home in Northern Michigan in 1935.

1935 to 1975

Our original brick structure and the bank to the right of the photo. Today the bank was the former home of the Bonek Insurance Agency.

1935 to 1975

Our garage on the parking lot side of the building. Please note the size (or lack of :) the cedar trees in the background and their size today!

1935 to 1975

A cold winters day in Suttons Bay.

Martin and family circa 1942

Martin & Agnes Martinson, the family dog, and Robert (2nd Generation) and his younger sister, Sandra. In the background is the old mill and today it is the location of the Mill Side Building.

Martin and family circa 1942

Martin and Agnes with grandson Robert (2nd Generation) and granddaughter Sandra. Hoyt's Drug Store is the white building in the background, today it is the Roman Wheel Pizza. The mill is in the background to the right and today it is the Millside Building.

Martin's Family

Our grandfather Raymond, our great uncle Lancel, and our great aunt Adah.

1975 to Present

The 1935 brick structure was renovated to the present day structure.

Our Great Great Grandfather

Our great great granddfather, Reverend John J. Maakestad, in winter travelling attire. He came to the U.S. as a child and founded the First Lutheran Church of Suttons Bay, Grace Lutheran Church in Elk Rapids, ministered to Bethany Lutheran Church in Northport and founded dozens of churches along the eastern coast of the U.S. He would ice skate from Leelanau County to Antrim County to minister in Elk Rapids.

Our Great Great Grandparents

Rev. John J. and Mrs. Caroline Maakestad.

Our Great Great Grandfather

Rev. John J. Maakestad, he preached to many Northern Michigan locations to include: Suttons Bay, Northport, Good Harbor, Leland, Port Oneida, Glen Arbor, Empire, Traverse City, Frankfort, Cadillac, Elk Rapids, East Jordan, Trenton, Boyne City, North Manitou Island, Petoskey, Cheboygan, Duncan City, Alpena, St. Ignace, Manistique, Mancelona, and Bear Lake.  In Ontario Canada: Donneybrook. Wisconsin: Madison, Sun Prairie, Wittenberg, Rush River, Onalaska.  Illinois: Lee County and Rochelle.  Virginia: Norge.

Our Great Great Grandmother

Caroline Maakestad

Our Great Grandparents

Their final resting place in Norge, Virginia.

The Maakestad Family


1st Lutheran Church, Suttons Bay

The Maakestad family enjoying some winter fun behind the parsonage of 1st Lutheran Church of Suttons Bay.

Our Great Great Grandparents

Our great great grandparents August Sr. and Otilla Honke and family. Our great grandmother, Rose Honke is 2nd from the right.

Our Great Great Grandparents

August Sr. and Otilla Honke were one of the founding families of Leelanau County. This historical article tells of their befriending and helping our Native American friends.

Four Generations

The 2nd generation, Millie, her mother Rose (Honke) Schlueter, aunt Cynthia and cousin Chad.

Great Grandmother Rose

Great Grandmother Rose (Honke) Schlueter and Aunt Cynthia. This picture was taken at Rose's home in Leland, the home is located right at the intersection where the Leland 4th of July Parade starts every year.

Suttons Bay Class of 1962

Aunt Cynthia and her fellow Suttons Bay High School Class of 1962 friends.

Martinson Family circa early 1970's

Martinson Family summer day trip to North Bar Lake. Nick (4th geberation) hanging off to Aunt Cynthia's back and Grandfather Raymond (2nd Generation) still wearing a tie to a day at the beach!

Great Grandmother Josephine & Son

Great Grandmother Agate Josephine (Maakestad) Martinson passed away in 1938. She is seen here with the 2nd Generation, Raymond Martinson.

The 2nd Generation, Millie Martinson

The 2nd Generation, Millie (Schlueter) Martinson and her fellow Leland High School Class of 1935 friends. This class was the first class to graduate from the current Leland High School the kids attend today. Before 1935 was the era of the one room school houses before consolidation to the one school.

The 2nd Generation

2nd from the left, Millie Martinson (2nd generation) and her fellow Leland High School Class of 1935 friends.

The 2nd Generation

The marriage of Raymond Martinson to Millie Schlueter.

The 2nd Generation

Millie (Schlueter) Martinson first row second from the right.

The 3rd Generation

The 3rd generation, teenager Robert, driving a team of horses in the Suttons Bay Centennial, 1956.

The 2nd Generation

(Left to Right): Raymond and Millie's children, Sandra, Cynthia and Robert on a chilly day in front of the Bank, today's Bonek Insurance Agency.

Raymond and Kids

Grandfather Raymond (2nd generation) and his children, Cynthia, Robert and Sandra enjoying the beach of Lake Michigan.

Millie and Family

(Left - Right) Robert, Sandra, Cynthia and Millie (2nd generation).

2nd Generation

Grandfather Raymond (2nd generation) with Robert (3rd generation) and kid sister Cynthia. Hoyt's Drug Store in the background, today it is the Roman Wheel Pizza and Subs.

Childhood Friends

Sandra, life-long childhood friend, Michael Bolan, and Robert (2nd generation) during the WWII years.

Childhood Friends

Robert (2nd generation), younger sister Sandra, and life-long childhood friend, Andrew Forton. The Forton family deep roots in Suttons Bay, they operated the Meat Market & Butcher Shop in the early days.

Millie and Family

Millie (2nd generation) and Robert (3rd generation) and baby sister Cynthia at the former Clinch Park zoo in Traverse City.

Raymond and Family

A successful deer season for Grandfather Raymond. (Left - Right) Sandra, Robert (2nd generation), Grandfather Raymond, Andrew Forton and baby sister Cynthia Martinson.

Schlueter - Martinson Families

Millie's sister in law and our Great Aunt Pearl (Gibert) Schlueter, daughter Teddy Schlueter, Robert (3rd Genertion), Millie and Raymond Martinson (2nd Generation).

Robert Martinson SBHS Valedictorian

Suttons Bay Class of 1955 Valedictorian and Salutatorian, Robert Martinson and Stuart Whittaker.

Robert Martinson MSU Years

MSU student Robert working his way through college during the summer for the telephone company.

Robert Martinson MSU Years

Dad, Robert (3rd generation) had of love of motorcycles in his youth.

Robert Martinson

Robert's (3rd generation) Baby Photo!

Robert and Kumiko Martinson

The Wedding Photo of Lt. Robert Martinson US Navy and Kumiko Martinson. They were married in Japan in a traditional Japanese ceremony at the Futema Air Station Chapel.

Robert and Kumiko Martinson Wedding

A newspaper article on our parents' wedding, under traditional Naval Officer Sword Arch.

Lt. US Navy, Robert Martinson

Dad coming home from work and playing with our older siblings, Donald and Dolly at their Japanes home.

The Japan Years

Oldest sister Dolly, and oldest brother Donald looking not so thrilled to having to pose for a photo!

the Japan Years

Oldest sister Dolly and oldest brother Donald on a Japanese waterfront.

Snug Harbor Deer Camp

Grandfather Raymond, Great Uncle Lancel and friend at the Snug Harbor Deer Camp in the UP. Raymond was a charter member of the camp which at one time was the oldest continuously operated deer camp in Michigan.

Early Martinson Family

Great Uncle Lancel and Grandfather Raymond Martinson.

Lancel Martinson

Lancel "Lance" Martinson established his own funeral home in Traverse City. The Martinson Funeral Home of Traverse City, later Martinson - Covell Funeral Homes, now Covell Funeral Home in Traverse City.

Grandfather Raymond

Grandfather Raymond and his pet goose, Oscar.

Martinson Ladies

Older brother Donald, his wife Chris, and Grandmother Millie, mother Kumi, niece Natalie, Aunt Sandra, sister Dolly and Aunt Cynthia at the Suttons Bay Sesquicentennial, our town's 150th Birthday!

4th Generation and 2nd Generation

Nick and Ranve with Grandfather Raymond playing with a steam engine our dad, Robert hand machined and built himself.

The 4th Generation

Ranve and Nick at the Buckley Steam Engine Show circa early 1980's.

4th Generation and 2nd Generation

Nick, Grandfather Raymond and Ranve in front of the Original Suttons Bay Fire Engine at the Buckley Steam Engine Show, circa early 1980's.



4th Generation

Ranve and classmate making the newspaper for selling lemonade during a hot summers day.

4th Generation

Ranve providing assistance to the aftermath and tragedy at the World's Trade Center 9/11.

4th Generation

Nick's 100 Day Baby Photo in an authentic Japanese Kimono.

4th Generation

Baby Nick not so pleased with our dog Poochie stealing his Christmas Candy Cane.

4th Generation

Nick, Suttons Bay Norsemen Football.

4th Generation

Nick, Homecoming King 1988. Our mother Kumi, hand crafted the capes first worn by the class of 1989 and they are still used by the homecoming king and queen today!

4th Generation

Norsemen Football 1988, then and now!

4th Generation

Nick, Virginia Military Institute Class of 1993.

4th Generation

The family attending Nick's college graduation from the Virginia Military Institute 1993. (Left to Right First Row) Ranve, Kumi, Millie, Dolly, Nick, (Left to Right Back Row) Robert and Raymond.

3rd and 4th Generation

Robert, Kumi and Major Nick Martinson, United States Marine Corps at the Leelanau County Veterans Day Observance where Major Martinson was the keynote speaker.

4th Generation

Major Martinson and his wife, Natasha at the Leelanau County Veterans Day observances.

Leelanau County Veterans Memorial

Major Nick Martinson, Lt US Navy (Ret) Robert Martinson and oldest sister Dolly at the Leelanau County Memorial Day observances. The Martinson Family sponsored the Navy and Marine Corps Flag Poles.

Leelanau County Veterans Memorial

Major Martinson and Lieutenant Colonel Conrad "Smithy" Smith. Lt. Col. Smith was a long-time family friend, a veteran of WWII and Vietnam and knew Nick and Ranve since we were children.

Leelanau County Veterans Memorial

Major Martinson, daughter Teagan, Natasha Martinson, Kumi & Robert Martinson.

The 4th Generation

Mr. and Mrs. Nick and Natasha Martinson.

Martinson Family

Our niece Naomi making the paper and excelling in her musical endeavors.

Glen Arbor 9/11 Remembrance

Major Nick Martinson was honored to be the keynote speaker for the Glen Arbor 9/11 Remembrance.

The Martinson Family

(Left to Right Standing) Nick, Natasha, Ranve and Donald Martinson, (Seated) Kumi and Robert Martinson.

Martinson Funeral Home
Phone: (231) 271-3441
115 North Saint Joseph Street, P. O. Box 159, Suttons Bay, MI

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