Formerly jailed funeral director running for city council

WHITEHALL, Mich. (WOOD) — Thomas Clock III, the former Whitehall funeral home director jailed for burying empty urns, is now running for public office.

Clock is one of nine candidates running for five open seats on the Whitehall City Council.

City Manager Scott Huebler said Clock asked a couple of months ago if he was eligible to run. Huebler double-checked and told Clock he was, indeed, eligible to be on the ballot.

“Not in my 30 years, I’ve never run across this,” Huebler said when asked about Clock’s candidacy. “Very (unusual).”

That’s because of why else Clock has been in the public eye over the past two years.

In January 2016, the frozen body of 86-year-old Helen Anthony was found in Clock’s funeral home minivan three days after he was arrested for drunken driving. He was supposed to have buried her cremated remains at the Fruitland Township cemetery, but her urn was empty.

Additionally, his mortuary science license had expired months before Anthony’s death.

Clock also was supposed to have buried the cremated remains of 5-month-old Ryan Zack in 2015, but his urn also was empty when investigators dug up the site.

Clock was eventually sentenced to jail after pleading guilty to drunken driving and no contest to fraud and performing an occupation without a license. Under the terms of a plea agreement, his jail sentence was capped at eight months. He was released about a year ago.

But 24 Hour News discovered Friday that the fraud case was not the end of Clock’s legal troubles.

Just this past August, he was arrested for and charged with driving on a suspended license. The charge is a misdemeanor and Clock is expected to go before a jury in January after pleading not guilty.

Since then, Clock’s former funeral home has undergone new ownership. 24 Hour News 8 tried to reach him at his home Friday afternoon, but no one answered the door.

Over the phone, Clock said he was not interested in talking about the cases against him or about his candidacy for city council.

“I’m gonna tell you this, and I’m gonna tell you this once. No comment,” Clock said over the phone.

He will be on probation for the fraud case through July 25, 2018.

Huebler said the only thing that would disqualify Clock or any candidate from running would be criminal convictions while in office or if a candidate was delinquent on city taxes or utility payments.

24 Hour News 8 is working to conduct background checks on the other eight city council candidates, but Huebler said he did not believe any other than Clock had a lengthy criminal history, if any.

The election will be held on Nov. 7.