LIVINGSTON, NJ - TAPinto Livingston recently visited with Louis Urban, managing director of Livingston based funeral home, Bernheim Apter Kreitzman Suburban Funeral Chapel.
I, Jessica Marrone-Parkes, had the opportunity to meet with Louis in his office and we got right down to talking about some pretty fun topics. What kind of animal would Louis' business be? Read on to find out some fun facts about your 'local friendly funeral director!'
Bernheim Apter Kreitzman
68 Old Short Hills Road
Livingston, NJ 07039
Q: Who is the owner of Bernheim Apter Kreitzman
A: Service Corporation International.
Q: How did you get into the funeral industry?
A: I started in New Jersey. I got my license at a small family funeral home but saw no future there so I went to Riverside Memorial Chapel, under the direction of Charles S. Salomon. While I was there the company asked me to come back to New Jersey to start their advanced planning program.
At that point, I worked on the program for eight years developing it. Then the opportunity came up that the company wanted to build a funeral home in Livingston, under the direction of Albert Bernheim. Unfortunately the year before opening he was on his way home from Florida and was in a fatal car accident. So the company asked me to come and oversee the completion of the location in 2002 and I’ve been here ever since.
Q: What did you do before you got into the funeral industry?
A: It was my first real job out of high school. It’s something I fell into as a result of working for a family friend. I felt gratification that I was helping people - nurturing them and attending to their needs.
Q: What kind of formal training do you have? Did you go to school for what you do now?
A: I went to NYU and got a degree in Business and a minor in Microbiology. I then went to The America Academy McAllister Institute in Manhattan for my industry training. I did my residency in New York and another on ein New Jersey.
Q: What did you want to be growing up?
A: A news reporter. I like the idea of communicating with and to people. I still do that with all the activities I am involved with.
Q: If your business was an animal, which one would it be?
A: A Giraffe because I like to think our business stands out amongst other funeral businesses in the industry. And that reflects on the entire staff.
Q: What is the most frequently asked question you get by customers?
A: How much will a funeral cost?
And the answer is that, we work within everyone’s budget and the needs of every particular family. We give the community the opportunity to pre-plan their services which enables them to prepay at today’s rates. Most funeral homes honor the contract upon time of death. It makes it easier for the family – knowing that the services and selections were made by the person themselves that they are honoring at the funeral.
Q: What is your favorite part of the work day?
A: Friday afternoon. It doesn’t end my work week but it gives me time to sit down and think over the past day’s work and it permits me to be in a more quiet place after the time spent with families.
Our work week is always seven days, 24 hours. We always have someone on call, including myself, to be available for families in their time of need.
Q: What is your favorite thing about Livingston?
A: The friendships I’ve developed through my community activities. I am the past president of the Livingston Chamber, a founding member of the Sunrise Rotary Club, a member of the JCC and Chairman of the Board of Barnabas Hospice and Palliative Care Center.
Q: What do you like to do outside of work?
A: I enjoy cooking and entertaining at my house and spending time in the city at the opera and theater.
I live in Mendham and have residences in New York and Florida. No matter where I am I’m always available to help. I find that I can travel but I can’t hide. If people need me they can find me.
Q: Who had the biggest influence on you?
A: Professionally? Charlies Salomon.
Otherwise, my parents. They saw that I had a speech impediment at a young age and worked hard to correct it – and they found a way to correct it in a time where there weren’t schools for it.
I was actually part of an experiment at Newark State Teachers College (now called Kean). I was one of their first students back in the 1960’s.
I live with admiration that my parents took the time to correct my problem.
**Thank you Louis and all of the members who have participated in the Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce's feature spotlight so far. It has been an honor for us at TAPinto Livingston to help the local businesses get to know one another. If you are a current member of the LACC and would like to have your own spotlight please contact me at (973) 220 - 9237. I look forward to hearing from you! ~Jess Marrone-Parkes