A Terre Haute funeral home and two funeral directors have been suspended for 90 days by the state and are not allowed to handle funerals.
Funeral directors Scott Shake and Gregory Majors appeared last week before the State Board of Funeral and Cemetery Service, which summarily suspended them and Russell Funeral Home, 419 N. 21st St., as funeral practitioners.
The 90-day suspension allows the Indiana Attorney General’s Office to continue an investigation prompted by a Jan. 16 inspection of the funeral home by four inspectors from the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency.
Majors, who is the funeral home owner, has not held an active license as a funeral director since 1996, when his license expired. According to the inspection report, Majors identified himself as an active funeral director during the recent inspection.
Shake has held a funeral director license since May 1993, according to online IPLA records.
On Jan. 29, the attorney general’s office filed a petition for summary suspension of Shake, Majors and Russell Funeral Home, citing the inspection report. The state funeral and cemetery board requested the inspection after an October suspension hearing involving another funeral director who claimed a working relationship with Russell Funeral Home. Shake denied that relationship.
Inspection details included only one working entrance and exit to the funeral home through a garage door, a non-operational prep room, an inadequate ventilation system, extensive water damage in more than two-thirds of the funeral home, and noticeable mold, among other physical issues.
A general price list did not include all services and merchandise sold by the funeral home, and Majors did not produce files, contracts, permits, certificates, reports or forms as required by state codes, the petition said.
The funeral home was in an “overall state of disrepair,” the petition said, and “does not appear to be operational, nor does its facility appear to be in a physical state where it could operate safely.”
The inspectors were told all decedents’ bodies were transferred to a funeral home in another county, where Shake embalms the bodies. Shake has a working relationship at two other funeral homes, the state said.
The funeral home’s current license was issued in February 2009 and was due to expire at the end of 2020.
The suspensions for Shake, Majors and Russell Funeral Home are now on the April 2 agenda of Funeral and Cemetery Board.
Shake had filed a petition to continue last week’s hearing until April, but that motion was denied after the attorney general’s office filed an objection to the continuance.
Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at TribStarLisa.