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.

Our History

We opened Lighthouse Funeral & Cremation in June of 2013. Prior to starting this new venture, I had personally served residents in the area since 2001. I started working in a local funeral home during my senior year of high school at Union City. I found that really I enjoyed the vocation and felt a calling that I could not deny. Since then, I have served hundreds of families in the surrounding area. I am committed to serving the community with small town service and world class technology.We want to set a new standard and strive to exceed your expectations of what a funeral home can be. My family and I have deep roots in the community and we are proud to be serving the people we know and love. My wife and I are both graduates of the local high school and are members of the Union City Wesleyan Church. We have 3 young children and have many family members that live in the surrounding communities. We loved growing up in the area and want to raise our family here.

Being in business is a family tradition that I am proud to continue. My great-grandfather operated Goodwin's Saw Mill in Girard for many years. My father owns and operates Goodwin's Plumbing in Burlington and Marshall. My wife's great-grandfather owned a grocery store, Rathburn's, in downtown Union City for many years and her father and brother continue to operate family farms in the area. My sister-in-law owns Center Stage Florist in downtown Union City, so I am a little biased if you ask me about where to purchase some flowers. We are here to stay and want to build on the relationships we have made with residents through the years. When you need us, we will be there to guide you in your time of need. I would consider it an honor to be your family's funeral care provider.


Our Valued Staff

Tate C. Goodwin

Tate C. Goodwin, Owner/Manager

Serving families and exceeding expectations is his passion. He is involved in all aspects of the Lighthouse operations. You may see or speak with Tate when a loved one passes and he will guide you through the entire process. From start to finish, no detail will be left to chance. You can count on Tate because if it is important you and your family, it is important to him. He is available 24/7 to serve you.


Josh Fleming

Josh Fleming, Funeral Director

Josh grew up in Tekonsha and graduated from Homer High School in 2003. He worked for Cronkhite Vault Service for three years, then attended KCC and Worsham College of Mortuary Science. He has been a funeral director in the Marshall and Homer area since 2012. Josh lives in Tekonsha, where his parents, Greg and Lisa Fleming, also reside. He is married to Danelle Snyder, a Union City graduate. They have two daughters, Livia and Lexis. Josh attends Our Lady of Fatima Church. As a funeral director, he is flexible at accommodating the needs of families and easing their concerns during emotionally difficult times. When not working, he enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time with friends and family.


Kristy Smith

Kristy Smith, Assistant Manager

Kristy and her children, Kate and Connor, represent the sixth and seventh generations of their family to live and work in the Union City area. Kristy is a counselor, family life educator, writer and speaker. She enjoys creating lasting memorials for families by capturing in obituaries, eulogies and tribute videos the essence of those they have lost. As a chaplain she sometimes serves as celebrant for funerals. Kristy also shares her God-given musical gifts by playing piano to enhance funeral services and life celebrations. Kristy's warmth, humor and practicality helps put Lighthouse guests at ease.


Sharon Applegate

Sharon Applegate, Hospitality Associate

Sharon Applegate and her husband, Neil, both grew up in Athens and reared their two children there. She has always been involved in the community, from founding the Athens Follies, belonging to the Historical Society and serving on Community Foundation committees, to participating in activities through her church. Sharon enjoys connecting with the people she meets through The Lighthouse and supporting them during their time of need.


Janet Avery

Janet Avery, Hospitality Associate

Janet and her husband, Bill, are long-time residents of Union City. She genuinely enjoys taking care of her friends and neighbors when they come to the Lighthouse. If there is anything that you need while you are our guest, please see Janet and she would be happy to assist you.


Nathan Walker

Nathan Walker, Funeral Associate

Nathan and his wife, Jasmine, are residents of Athens, where Nate is a volunteer firefighter and captain with the Athens Township Fire Department. They have a young son, Jaxen, and a daughter on the way. Nathan is proud to help care for friends' and neighbors' families in their time of need. Nathan helps with a variety of tasks at the Lighthouse and is here to help you too.


James Hurley

James Hurley, Funeral Associate

Jim Hurley and his wife Julie are residents of Union City where Jim serves on the Village Council. He is a retired Michigan State Trooper. We are pleased to have Jim on our staff. When you attend services at the Lighthouse, you may see Jim. He is there to help you and support families in their time of need.


Mary Kerr

Mary Kerr, Hospitality Associate

Mary Kerr is a resident of Quincy, but has lived in the Union City area for many years. She currently works at the Community Health Center of Branch County and helps out in the evenings at the Lighthouse. She enjoys helping others and making your visit to the Lighthouse comfortable. She is a very special lady because she just happens to be the mother of Tate Goodwin, owner and manager of the Lighthouse.


Jeff Chichester

Jeff Chichester, Funeral Associate

Jeff is a native of Athens. He graduated from Ferris State University and is a self-employed information technology specialist. He and his wife, Amy, reside in the village. Jeff is a former Athens Village Council and Lions Club member. He is the go-to guy for Lighthouse, whether it's addressing mechanical, electrical and technology issues or assisting with service delivery. Jeff appreciates the camaraderie that comes with living in a small town. In his leisure, he enjoys camping, outdoor cooking and sharing the recipes he has perfected.


Tim Spiess

Tim Spiess, Funeral Associate

Tim has resided in Athens since 1998 with his wife, Nancy. They have two grown children, Lexi and Trevor. Tim is a U.S. Army veteran and former postal worker. He recently retired from the Fort Custer National Cemetery staff, where he performed maintenance and helped facilitate military services and burials. Tim enjoyed his daily interactions with families, funeral guests and honor guard members. Lighthouse provides him with ongoing opportunities to provide respectful assistance to families and help bring about closure following the death of someone close.


Rob Denniston

Rob Denniston, Funeral Associate

Rob is a graduate of Athens High School. He and his wife, Leesha, reside in Union City, where their three children and Leesha’s home-based daycare keep them busy. Rob does maintenance and custodial work for the First Presbyterian Church in Coldwater and the Union City Wesleyan Church, where he is a member and the sound guy. Rob played a key, hands-on role in the restoration and re-assembly of all of the bridges at Calhoun County’s Historic Bridge Park. He enjoys following NASCAR and watching the activities of his children. Rob has real understanding for those who have lost a family member or close friend.