East Prairie funeral home operated without license, how it affec - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

East Prairie funeral home operated without license, how it affects you

EAST PRAIRIE, MO (KFVS) - According to court papers, Ricky Penrod of Shelby Funeral home of East Prairie, Missouri agreed to stop holding funerals.

That was in 2009, and yet, funeral services have continued there since.

Some people defend Shelby Funeral Home and owner Ricky Penrod.

However, all funeral homes are required to have a state license.

That license provides a level of safety to you, the customer. It requires state inspections and provides rules to be followed when handling your loved one's remains, along with your money.

Missouri's Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors falls under the state's Division of Professional Regulation.

You can click here to visit the Missouri board's website.

If you scroll down, you'll find Shelby Funeral Home listed under disciplinary action. Click on that and you'll see the court order that Penrod signed, acknowledging that Shelby did not have a license and agreeing not to conduct any more funerals.

According to a state spokesman, operating a funeral home without a license is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in the county  jail.

There are a host of other professions that require state licenses, from accountants and dietitians, to massage therapists and tattoo artists.

You can check out the current licenses and any disciplinary action on your state's Professional Regulation website.

Click here for Illinois.

Click here for Kentucky.

On Wednesday, Nov. 19, Penrod told Heartland News that he's trying to make things right, but some locals who've used Shelby Funeral Home for services told us they feel it's too late for that.

"There not a whole lot of family comfort," said James Gutherie. "It's more about the dollar."

James Guthrie lost his sister Katherin Haley one year ago next month.

He tells us Shelby Funeral Home handled Haley's service, but won't be taking care of any other family members.

"I'm not crazy about the funeral home and I never have been," he said. "I have had bad taste for the funeral home for years."

According to court documents, Penrod has not had a valid Missouri license to operate his funeral home since December of 2009.

After the license expired, the state wouldn't renew it until Penrod got his paperwork lined out with the Secretary of State's office.

That never happened.

In July 2014, the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors got a permanent injunction against Penrod and Shelby.

It states that operating without a license may cause serious danger to the health, safety and the welfare of Shelby's customers.

Penrod signed it essentially agreeing not to hold any more funerals.

Ricky Penrod did not want to go on camera, but did tell Heartland News that he's applied to get his license back, and he calls this business his whole life.

He says he didn't realize the court order was so serious, because he didn't read it before he signed it.

Penrod does acknowledge now that by signing this, that he agreed not to handle arrangements for anyone who died later than July 22, 2014.

His website shows he's handled 10 services since then, including one Wednesday night, the day of our visit.

As for people in East Prairie, many were shocked by the news because of business is well-known in the community.

"They don't have the comfort that should be given to a family after they've lost a loved one,” James Guthrie said.

Ricky Penrod forwarded us an email that shows the State Board wants to meet with him about his re-application for that license.

Meanwhile, Tracy Hohler says her family used Shelby for her mother's service in September.

While she did not know Shelby was unlicensed, she calls the employees there wonderful people, and says she would use them again in the future.

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