Robert J. Gilbert Funeral Director / Owner
Born Robert Chesney in Detroit, Michigan and having both parents deceased before the age of 7, Bob was adopted within his family and moved to Alpena. Returning to the metro area at the age of 10, Bob was once again adopted within his family, changed his surname to Gilbert and resided in Dearborn Heights. Before graduating from Riverside High School, Bob began his career in the funeral industry at the age of 15 working for McFarland Foss Funeral Home in Dearborn. Continuing along this career path, Bob enlisted in the US Army in 1983 with a classification of Graves Registration Specialist assigned to the 16th Field Service Company in Fort Lee, VA.
Upon return from enlistment, Bob was employed at Howe Peterson Funeral Home in Dearborn when he met his future wife, Frann. Married in 1988, Bob and Frann were blessed with 2 daughters, Ally and Shelby and have resided in Garden City for nearly 30 years where Bob coached both daughters in Slow Pitch Softball for GCYAA for 12 years.
Taking a career detour, Bob left the funeral industry in 1989 to work for the U.S. Postal Service during which time he attended Wayne State University and received a Bachelor of Mortuary Science Degree and was the recipient of the distinguished Walter D. Poole Student Achievement Award. Upon graduation, Bob became a Funeral Director and Manager for Uht Funeral Home in Westland for 16 years, eventually, joining the staff at Stark Funeral Service in Ypsilanti, then Neely-Turowski/Thayer-Rock Funeral Homes, Livonia and Farmington as General Manager.
At last, in 2019, an opportunity of a lifetime came along when Bob became owner of Bobcean Funeral Homes in Flat Rock and Carleton. Bob’s intent as owner and operator of Bobcean Funeral Homes is to bring his vast knowledge, education and decades of experience, along with compassion and professionalism to the families in the communities he serves.
Aside from his devotion of Funeral Directing, Bob enjoys spending his free time with Frann and their family at their retreat in the woods affectionately named ”The Hamptons”, where he enjoys hunting deer, bonfires, meandering around the lake and taking their granddaughters Rylee and Piper on “Papa’s tractor rides”.
Earned designations of CFSP (Certified Funeral Service Professional), CPC (Certified Preplanning Consultant), and CMFP (Certified Michigan Funeral Practitioner), Ambassador and Lifetime CFSP Member, Section Chief for the DPMU (Disaster Portable Morgue Unit) of the MIMORT (Michigan Mortuary Response Team), Flat Rock Elks, Flat Rock American Legion, member of SIFH (Selected Independent Funeral Homes), NFDA (National Funeral Directors’ Association), MFDA (Michigan Funeral Directors’ Association) and served as District 2 President (twice), former members of Livonia Elks, Westland Moose, Wayne Rotary (past President), Friends of Eloise (past President) and Wayne 100 Club.
Bob has organized and ran charity Euchre Tournaments for many years, raising tens of thousands of dollars for the needy, most notably the World’s Largest Euchre Tournament in 2010 with nearly 600 players in attendance.
Rachael Hickman Funeral Director
Rachael Hickman grew up in Flat Rock and graduated from FRHS in 2009. While in high school, Rachael became interested in funeral service when her mother, Donna Racisz began working for Bobcean Funeral Home as an office assistant.
Throughout college, Rachael worked as a licensed funeral service apprentice until she graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Mortuary Science from Wayne State University in 2013. After graduation, she began serving the downriver community as a Licensed Funeral Director at Voran Funeral Homes.
In 2014, she married her high school sweetheart, Tom Hickman, and they moved to their current home in Southgate. They have two wonderful children, Peter and Arbor, who keep them busy but absolutely full of joy.
Rachael is honored to be a part of the dedicated staff at Bobcean Funeral Home, where she hopes to serve as a guide for the families of our community at their toughest of times.
Donna Racisz Office Manager
Donna Racisz (born Cook) grew up in Wyandotte and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1987. After high school, Donna began working as an office administrator and other various roles in Detroit and the surrounding communities. While working, she met her now husband Pete and it was love at first sight. They were married in 1990, only 6 short months after they met. When they began their family together in 1991, Donna chose to dedicate her life to raising their three children Rachael, Jacob and Allison.
They moved their family to Flat Rock in 2001 where they became active members of the community. In 2005, Donna decided she was ready to join the workforce again. She began working as an office assistant at Bobcean Funeral Home where she found passion helping our families during a time of need. She quickly became Office Manager and has devoted herself to her job. She is a crucial part of helping our families, and we couldn’t do our jobs without the help she provides.
She continues to live in Flat Rock with her husband and their 4 little dogs Lily, Fonzi, Bella and Mindy. She enjoys spending time with family and friends.
Donna will continue her mission to ease the pain of loss for all of the families we serve through her work here at Bobcean Funeral Home.
Negia Alexander Funeral Attendant
Paula Puruleski Funeral Attendant
Paula Puruleski has been employed with Bobcean Funeral Home for 7 years as a Funeral Attendant / Office Staff. She has lived in Flat Rock for 44 years, where she and her husband Donald raised their 3 children. She is a member of St. Roch Catholic Church and has attended there since moving to the area in 1977. She was a religious instructor for the church for a number of years, teaching 1st grade. Also for the last 20 years she has been involved with the Meals on Wheels program delivering meals to the home bound in her community.
Trudy Reno Director Assistant
Shelby Gilbert Funeral Attendant
The younger of two children, Shelby has always strived to blaze her own trail. Raised in Garden City and
always athletic, Shelby excelled for 13 years in the GCYAA Slow-Pitch Softball program, played basketball in
elementary and middle school and 4 years of tennis in high school. At the age of seventeen she entered the
workforce and began working at a Michigan based theater. After graduation from Garden City High, she
enrolled and earned her Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from Schoolcraft College. She then
transferred to Eastern Michigan University where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration
While continuing to work for the theater, she considered a different career opportunity, studied hard and passed
two different state tests to become an insurance representative. Always a hard worker, holding two jobs for
several months, Shelby was offered a promotion at the theater and decided that was the right career choice.
Shelby is currently in Management, recently celebrating eleven years with the company.
In February 2020, Shelby became a first time home owner in Monroe. Still working two jobs, in her spare time,
Shelby enjoys reading in her personal library, assembling puzzles, yoga and playing with Phoenix, her rescue
cat. She also enjoys spending time with her family, including being a human jungle gym for her nieces that
affectionately call her MeMe.
Jeri Lou Simpson Funeral Attendant
Jeri Lou Simpson (Swan) has worked as a Funeral Attendant for Bobcean Funeral Home since 2010. She grew up in Flat Rock and graduated from Flat Rock High School in 1960. In 1963 she married Jerry Simpson and they moved to Carleton where they lived for 53 years. They raised 3 children, have 5 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. She attends Stewart Road Church of God, Monroe, MI. Jeri Lou is a member of the Senior Ministry, a greeter and helps run the funeral luncheons at church. She loves to bake, garden and spend time with her family.
Lee Bobcean Retired Funeral Director / Former Owner
Lee is a life long resident of Flat Rock, Michigan. A graduate of Flat Rock High School, he attended Ferris State Univeristy, Wayne County Community College, receiving an associate of Arts degree. He attended Wayne State University School of Mortuary Science, which lead to licensure in Mortuary Science from the State of Michigan nearly 30 years ago.
Lee is a charter member of the Flat Rock Historical Society, the Michigan Embalmers Society and Concerned Citizens of Huron Township. He is a former Vice-President and now member at large of the Downriver Guidance Clinic. A member and past President of the Flat Rock Rotary Club, and a member of the Flat Rock Planning Commission serving for 10 years as its chairman.
Lee is a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Waltz, where he has held several different offices and presently signs in the Praise and Worship Team. Married to his soul mate Maeila, they have two children, a daughter, Allison, and a son, Jared.
When not working, Lee enjoys being with his family, fishing, traveling and being involved in school and community activities.
James C. Bobcean Retired Funeral Director / Former Owner
James is a life long resident of Flat Rock, Michigan. He is a graduate of Bowling Green State University earning a bachelors degree in Biology. He attended Wayne State University School of Mortuary Science receiving a Michigan Mortuary Science License in 1971.
James served in the U.S. Army from 1966-1968. An elder of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Waltz, MI. He is a life member and past President of Flat Rock Historical Society, past Commander of American Legion Post #337, and member and past President of Carleton Rotary.
James is a member of the Michigan Embalmers Society. He is a past President of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association from 1987-1988. He also served as National Funeral Directors Association Policy Board member from 1995-1998 and is a Verified Funeral Service Practitioner by the Academy of Professional Funeral Services Practice.
James is married to Linda, has 3 step-children and 3 granddaughters.