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Mortuary Science

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LIVING
September 21, 1993 | By Dodge Johnson, FOR THE INQUIRER
Rick Harra is a funeral director. He started at McCrery Funeral Homes in Wilmington when he was a sophomore at the University of Delaware in 1978, when student jobs were scarce. He's been there ever since. He says he finds satisfaction in caring for the dead, but his real reward comes from serving the living - helping a grieving family decide on the best arrangements and lifting details from their shoulders. He must orchestrate in days a complex sequence of events that make up the funeral.
NEWS
November 28, 1988 | By Bonnie Baker, Special to The Inquirer
Joseph L. Myrtetus, 54, owner and operator of Myrtetus Funeral Home in Camden, died Friday at Cooper Hospital-University Medical Center. Mr. Myrtetus had operated the funeral home at 1530 S. Collings Rd. since 1961, after receiving his license as a practitioner of mortuary science in New Jersey. He graduated from Eckels College of Mortuary Science in Philadelphia in 1960. A 1951 graduate of Camden Catholic High School, Mr. Myrtetus attended Drexel Institute of Technology and later worked as a draftsman at the New York Shipyard in Camden and at the Philadelphia Gas Works.
NEWS
March 8, 1992 | By Pam Belluck, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
James A. McCafferty, 52, who was the third generation of his family to run a Philadelphia funeral home, died Friday at Hahnemann University Hospital. He lived in Northeast Philadelphia. Mr. McCafferty grew up in the Northeast, where he followed his father and grandfather into the funeral business, opening his own funeral home in 1970 in the 6700 block of Frankford Avenue. His four sons worked with him in the funeral home and will continue to operate it. He graduated from St. Joseph's Preparatory School in 1958 and Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Md. He attended Eckels College of Mortuary Science in Philadelphia.
NEWS
November 9, 2003 | By Gayle Ronan Sims INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The first thing Reuben R. Rochvarg did each morning was read the obituary page. Then the Center City resident headed to work, Goldsteins' Rosenberg's Raphael-Sacks funeral parlor in East Oak Lane. Mr. Rochvarg, 83, a funeral director for more than 50 years, died of sepsis following treatment for prostate cancer Wednesday at Graduate Hospital. Born and raised in South Philadelphia - and proud of it - Mr. Rochvarg graduated from South Philadelphia High School. Before enlisting in the Army Air Corps during World War II (he served Stateside)
NEWS
October 12, 1999 | By Michael Sandler, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
Raised on a tomato farm in Kennett Square, Matt Grieco grew up admiring his maternal grandfather's business savvy. His grandfather owned the farm and a neighborhood heating-oil business. Now, at 26, Grieco owns his own business, too. It's just a little different from his grandfather's. "I've always been very proud to say I'm a funeral director," said Grieco, who, as owner of Foulk Funeral Homes in West Grove, is one of Chester County's youngest sole proprietors in the business.
NEWS
October 18, 2010 | By Walter F. Naedele, Inquirer Staff Writer
H. Blair Anthony, 84, president of Andrew J. Bair & Son funeral home from 1953 to 1973, died of sepsis Tuesday, Oct. 5, at Dunwoody Village in Newtown Square, where he had lived since December 2006. He was a longtime resident of Villanova. A daughter, Dawn Anthony, said that Mr. Anthony was a great-grandson of Andrew J. Bair, who in 1822 founded the former West Philadelphia funeral home that carried his name. Andrew Bair was the brother of Oliver H. Bair, whose funeral home was in Center City.
NEWS
October 2, 1995 | By S. Joseph Hagenmayer, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
William C. Barclay, 83, who founded the Barclay Funeral Home in Clayton in 1934 and ran the firm until his retirement in 1975, died Saturday at his summer residence in Strathmere. A Clayton resident for 80 years, Mr. Barclay was born in the Tacony section of Philadelphia. He was a 1930 graduate of Clayton High School and went on to graduate from Eckels College of Mortuary Science in Philadelphia. A big man, Mr. Barclay was known for his jovial nature. He always had a smile, his friends and family recalled.
NEWS
August 23, 2000 | By Herb Drill, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
Alvin F. Wetzel, 88, of Lower Gwynedd Township, a retired funeral director, died Sunday at the White Billet Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Hatboro, where he had been for several months. He owned and operated Wetzel Funeral Home in Willow Grove from 1940 until retiring in 1969. Before entering White Billet, he resided in Lower Gwynedd for 19 years. He had also maintained a summer home in Ocean City, N.J. Mr. Wetzel, who was born and reared in Philadelphia, graduated from Simon Gratz High School and the former Eckels College of Mortuary Science in the city.
NEWS
January 13, 2001 | By Herb Drill, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
Betty Meier Steeley, 73, of Sellersville, one of the first women licensed as a funeral director in Pennsylvania, died on Wednesday at Grand View Hospital in West Rockhill Township after a long illness. A funeral director for 52 years, she owned and operated the Betty Meier Steeley Funeral Home in Sellersville for 22. Mrs. Steeley purchased the business, then the Meier Home for Funerals, after her father's death in 1978. The business is now operated by her son, James D. Steeley.
NEWS
February 27, 1997 | By Bill Price, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Charles D. Marvil, 71, of Lansdowne, a retired funeral director who was active in the Darby Borough community, died of complications from Alzheimer's disease Monday at the Dowden Nursing Home in Newtown Square. Mr. Marvil, a fourth-generation funeral director at the Marvil Funeral Home in Darby, joined the firm in 1949 and became president when his father, George D. Marvil, died in 1968. Born and raised in Darby Borough, Mr. Marvil lived there until moving to Lansdowne 10 years ago. He graduated from Darby High School in 1943, attended the University of Florida, and graduated in 1947 from the former Eckels College of Mortuary Science.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
September 13, 2011 | By Sally A. Downey, Inquirer Staff Writer
Raymond A. Chadwick, 79, a retired funeral director, died Friday, Sept. 9, of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at Freedom Village, a retirement community in West Brandywine. In 1947, Mr. Chadwick's father, J. Martin, established Chadwick Funeral Home in Ardmore. From the age of 15, Mr. Chadwick assisted his father. He earned his funeral license in 1957 and became owner when his father died in 1965. "He was a wonderful listener and was very compassionate. He felt being a funeral director was his ministry," said his daughter, the Rev. Ruth Moore, a Presbyterian minister.
NEWS
January 20, 2011 | By Walter F. Naedele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Frank C. Videon Sr. was known as a bit of a showman. To promote his car dealerships, he rode an elephant down West Chester Pike in the early 1960s and later in the decade landed in a helicopter on the closed roadway. "It landed on the median," a son, David, said with a chuckle of the copter stunt, but despite that, "they still had to close it. " At a few of his new-car showings, band leader Lawrence Welk and former Eagles quarterback Sonny Jurgensen were in the spotlights. And for the 1957 National Boy Scout Jamboree in Valley Forge, his son said, Mr. Videon provided more than 150 Plymouth Furys.
NEWS
October 18, 2010 | By Walter F. Naedele, Inquirer Staff Writer
H. Blair Anthony, 84, president of Andrew J. Bair & Son funeral home from 1953 to 1973, died of sepsis Tuesday, Oct. 5, at Dunwoody Village in Newtown Square, where he had lived since December 2006. He was a longtime resident of Villanova. A daughter, Dawn Anthony, said that Mr. Anthony was a great-grandson of Andrew J. Bair, who in 1822 founded the former West Philadelphia funeral home that carried his name. Andrew Bair was the brother of Oliver H. Bair, whose funeral home was in Center City.
NEWS
August 19, 2010 | By Sally A. Downey, Inquirer Staff Writer
C. Wallace Stuard Jr., 88, of Ardmore and Cape May, a fifth-generation funeral home director and an accomplished sailor, died of complications from surgery Monday, Aug. 16, at Cape Regional Medical Center in Cape May. A graduate of Lower Merion High School, Mr. Stuard served aboard a Navy ship in the Mediterranean during World War II that was struck by a torpedo. He was blown overboard and an ankle was broken by the ship's propeller. He was rescued after eight hours at sea and later received a Purple Heart.
NEWS
August 12, 2010 | By Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer
James A. McGuinness, 88, of Woodbury, founder and longtime manager of McGuinness Funeral Home in Woodbury, died of congestive heart failure Monday, Aug. 9, at his home. Mr. McGuinness, known for his patience and listening skills, was cut out for the job of dealing with the loss of a loved one, his son Bill said. However, he also could have made a good politician. When Mr. McGuinness opened his funeral home in 1950 with just his wife as a business partner, he would go to four or five diners each morning to meet people and promote his business.
NEWS
March 23, 2010 | By Claudia Vargas INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Richard W. Tilghman, 79, of Pemberton, founder and longtime owner of Tilghman Funeral Home in New Egypt, died Saturday of multiple organ failure at his home. After interning and working at two funeral homes, Mr. Tilghman founded his New Egypt Funeral home in 1960. In the first year, he handled just over a dozen funerals. By the time Mr. Tilghman sold the business to his son Dennis in 2003, the funeral home was handling about 130 funerals a year. "He liked working with people," Dennis Tilghman said.
NEWS
May 22, 2004 | By Gayle Ronan Sims INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Joseph V. Fusco went out of this world the way he lived his life - with pizzazz. Dressed in his signature white suit with matching patent leather shoes, maroon ascot, and full-length black cape, Mr. Fusco's body was carried through the tiny streets of his native South Philadelphia yesterday in a bronze casket lined in maroon velvet, inside an elegant black 1898 hearse drawn by a pair of pied-gray Percheron draft horses, Dick and Teddy. It was followed by a block-long procession on foot and in limousines for the 1 1/2 miles from Monti-Rago Funeral Home, 2533 S. Broad St., to St. Maron's Maronite Catholic Church at 10th and Ellsworth Streets.
NEWS
November 9, 2003 | By Gayle Ronan Sims INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The first thing Reuben R. Rochvarg did each morning was read the obituary page. Then the Center City resident headed to work, Goldsteins' Rosenberg's Raphael-Sacks funeral parlor in East Oak Lane. Mr. Rochvarg, 83, a funeral director for more than 50 years, died of sepsis following treatment for prostate cancer Wednesday at Graduate Hospital. Born and raised in South Philadelphia - and proud of it - Mr. Rochvarg graduated from South Philadelphia High School. Before enlisting in the Army Air Corps during World War II (he served Stateside)
NEWS
September 26, 2002 | By Joseph A. Gambardello INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The couple who buried the body of a stillborn boy in a grave intended for their 10-day-old daughter are preparing for a second funeral. The attorney for Robert and Deena Williams of Buena Vista Township in Atlantic County said yesterday that arrangements were being made for a funeral director to claim the body of the couple's daughter Robyn at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden. The funeral director is different from the one who handled the original funeral and buried the wrong child, said the lawyer, Darrell Fineman of Vineland.
NEWS
January 3, 2002 | By Kristin E. Holmes INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
James Jethro Gray, 87, of Wyndmoor, a funeral director and founder of the James J. Gray Funeral Home in West Philadelphia, died of complications from Alzheimer's disease on Saturday at the Masonic Home of Pennsylvania in Lafayette Hill. Mr. Gray founded the funeral home nearly 50 years ago at the corner of Thompson and Allison Streets. He started the business after graduating from Eckel's School of Mortuary Science of Philadelphia, where he had studied during the day while working nights at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.
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