History & Staff
We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.
In 1937 Francis and Alice Lockwood purchased the residence at 301 East Michigan Ave. and converted it to a funeral home. At that time, most funeral services were conducted at the family’s home or the family’s Church. The first level of the funeral home was used as the Lockwood’s residence, and when needed, also as a funeral home.
In September of 1951, they remodeled, adding the front pillars, the chapel to the west, and a two-car garage to the rear. The Lockwoods moved to the upstairs apartment to allow the main level to be used solely as a funeral home. In February of 1961, they offered Mildred and Gerald Bahnmiller the opportunity to purchase the business, but not to take ownership until July 1, 1961. At that time, the population of Saline was about 2200. Approximately 40 to 48 funerals were conducted each year.
In 1966, the Bahnmillers added on to the rear of the building, which improved the seating in the chapel and enabled an easier exit from services. A three-car garage and an additional casket selection room doubled the number of caskets available. The parking lot across the street from the funeral home was also acquired at that time.
After more than 23 years as a funeral director, Mr. Bahnmiller decided to retire and sold the business to its current owner Jim Robison. Jim, together with his wife Alison, assumed responsibilities on January 1, 1984. They too lived in the apartment above the funeral home with their son Stephen and daughter Emily, which allowed them to be closer to the business as a family. Jim decided to keep the name “Bahnmiller” affiliated with the business because Gerry had been such a positive influence in the community and with Jim personally.
Today, Jim Robison continues as owner and director, along with his son Stephen, who graduated from Saline High School in 1997, and Wayne State School of Mortuary Science in 2008. Stephen will assume responsibility of the funeral home in the future making it a second-generation establishment. The most recent addition to our professional staff has been Jim Rea who has been a licensed funeral director for more than 37 years. Jim is also a member of St. Andrew Catholic Church in Saline and a 3rd degree member of the Knights of Columbus. Other employees include Jim Hoeft of Saline, Doug Elfring of Saline, and Tom Tarris of Adrian.
Our Valued Staff
Jim Robison, President
Willard James (Jim) Robison, Jr is the younger of two boys born to Willard “Bud” and Agnes Robison, of Perrysburg, Ohio. During his high school years, Jim participated in track and field, and enjoyed tennis and golf. He also became a very skilled drummer, and joined the group “Johnny [and the Hurricanes.” While with the Hurricanes, Jim recorded several million sellers and toured with Dick Clark Productions all over the U.S. After high school graduation in 1960, and eventually leaving the band, Jim attended Bowling Green University, Ohio University, and then graduated from Toledo University with a Bachelor of Science degree. While earning his undergraduate degree, Jim began working part-time in an apprentice capacity for the David R. Jason Funeral Home in Point Place, Ohio. This marked the beginning of his interest and career in the funeral business. After finishing at TU, Jim attended the University of Michigan, studying landscape architecture, but decided his science preparation would be better used in a medical related field. So he chose to attend the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, and graduated with honors in 1970. Overlapping these experiences, Jim served in the United States Air Force 180th Tactical Group from 1966 – 1972. Immediately after graduating from CCMS, Jim joined the staff of Muehlig Chapel, in Ann Arbor, MI. In 1976, he married Alison Reed, a public school teacher and musical theater actress. They remained in Ann Arbor until 1983, when Jim, Alison, and their children, Stephen and Emily moved to Saline to purchase the Bahnmiller Funeral Home. After settling in to a new home, the apartment above the business, Jim worked with the guidance and support of Gerald Bahnmiller, to make the transition as seamless as possible. Jim also continued his participation in community service, having been a Kiwanis member in Ann Arbor, then joining Rotary in Saline. One of his and his family’s favorite events involving these groups has always been the annual Saline Community Fair. While Jim continued as director of the Robison-Bahnmiller Funeral Home, Alison worked for a time with the Saline Chamber of Commerce, and then began substitute teaching in the Saline Area Schools. Hired in 1991, she taught 3rd and 6th grades until her retirement in 2007. Both of their children graduated from Saline High School and went on to complete college and graduate studies. Steve returned to Saline in 2004 to work with his father in the funeral business, and Emily pursued nursing. As the communities served by the funeral home have grown, so have the services offered by the staff. Of particular note is the monument and marker business that Jim has developed, giving individuals and families access to an enormous variety of beautiful materials, which can be manufactured to suit anyone’s taste. Though his artistic skills and creativity are most evident as he facilitates the design of monuments, Jim takes great pride in all phases of the work he does to serve those in need. When he has the opportunity to be away from his work, he and Alison love to travel, to be on or near the water, regardless of the distance from home. Jim is also a very knowledgeable classic car enthusiast, sailor, and fly fisherman. He is most in his element outdoors, no matter the temperature. Alison still loves musical theater, reading, writing and singing, and works alongside her husband and son when the need arises.
Steve Robison, Director
Steve was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In 1983, the Robison family moved to Saline, making the apartment above the funeral business their new home. From preschool through 12th grade, Steve attended Saline Area Schools. Specifically, in high school he was involved in many sports including football, baseball, snowboarding, and wrestling. In addition to athletics, Steve was an important member of Saline High School’s theatre sound and lighting team. He was also a cellist in both the Saline Chamber Orchestra and the nationally renowned Saline Fiddlers. After graduation from high school in 1997, Steve went on to Hope College in Holland, MI. where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Political Science, in 2001. From early childhood, Steve had an affinity for anything mechanical, so it was a natural move, after college graduation, to take a job in Chicago with a toy invention studio that was responsible for designing new toys for Fischer Price, Hasbro, and Mattel. In a short time, he realized that his true home was back in Saline, so he returned and went to work with his father in the funeral business. Steve continued his education at the Wayne State College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences where he received his Mortuary Science degree in 2008. In the fall of 2010, Steve was married, and he and his wife Jamie live in the area. Jamie is pursuing her Masters Degree in Art Therapy and Counseling at Wayne State University. After graduating, she hopes to work with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Steve is a full-time director on the funeral home staff, and he will assume responsibility of Robison-Bahnmiller after the retirement of the owner, his father, Jim Robison. In his time away from the business, Steve is an avid model train collector, a skilled card player, snowboarder, music lover, and a big fan of UofM football. He and Jamie also enjoy traveling to northern Michigan, and spending time with extended family, many of whom live close by.
Doug Elfring, Assistant
Member of St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church in Saline and President of the Saline Historical Society.
Jim Datson, Assistant
Assistant. Member of Saline First United Methodist Church.
Chris Werth, Assistant
Robert Comfort, Assistant
Assistant. Member of Saline First United Methodist Church.