In May 1959, Foster and Doris Heath purchased the corner of East Lime and South Ingraham Avenue in Lakeland, Florida. The property included a small wood-frame house built in 1905, and the couple officially opened Heath Funeral Chapel on November 23, 1959. Like many funeral homes during that time, Heath provided ambulance service to the community.
In 1971, they answered another community need and added a large chapel to provide full funeral services onsite. A crematory was also added. In 1994 a large viewing room addition was added. Over the decades, the couple purchased adjacent land, as it became available, to ensure adequate parking. Through several additions and renovations the original wood-frame house purchased in 1959 stands today, the center of a family-owned, community-loved chapel of memory.
Foster Heath continued to maintain an independent-owned funeral home despite the trend of corporate buy-outs. In May 1989, Bill Schichtel and his wife Caroline Heath Schichtel, Foster Heath’s daughter, moved their family to Lakeland, and Bill joined his father-in-law at Heath Funeral Chapel. In 2011, Bill and Caroline’s son, Matt Schichtel moved back to Lakeland to join the business.
Foster Heath died in 2012 and now Bill Schichtel serves as President. Caroline Heath Schichtel serves as Vice-President of Community Service and Matt Schichtel serves as Vice-President & Treasurer.
From Left to Right: Son-in-Law Bill Schichtel, Daughter Caroline Schichtel, Founder Foster Heath, and Grandson Matt Schichtel