MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ - Dedicated to the families they serve, the McCriskin-Gustafson Family of Funeral Homes has recently completed extensive interior renovations at both its Piscataway and Middlesex homes. The renovations were completed to better serve the community by providing modern gathering spaces and a comfortable setting for families and friends to commemorate their loved ones.
“At both of these buildings, upgrades and renovations were long overdue. We have transformed them both in an effort to accommodate today’s families,” James Gustafson, co-owner, adding, “We are committed to bringing local ownership back and are invested in the communities we serve.”
The Middlesex Funeral Home opened at its current location on Bound Brook Road back in 1961 and was owned and operated by Walter and Eleanor Rajca. The Piscataway Funeral Home, located on Stelton Road, was erected in 1938 and served as the township’s borough hall, police station and library until 1979 when it was purchased by the Rajcas and converted into a funeral home.
The Rajca family ran both the Middlesex and Piscataway homes until selling them to the former Wellington Funeral Service in 2004. Three years ago, however, Gustafson and Rick McCriskin acquired the assets of Wellington. This decision was done with a dedicated commitment to bring local ownership and accountability back to the community.
“We provide a community service that is also a necessity. We take pride in helping our families and walking with them hand-in-hand to provide them comfort and assistance during their most difficult times,” Gustafson said, adding, “The challenging part of this business is making sure you are doing right by someone. We want to ensure that we are fulfilling someone’s wishes.”
Renovations at the Middlesex Funeral Home were completed in August. Now, a new private arrangement room and renovated commemoration space with an open gathering area as well as a fully remodeled handicap accessible bathroom provide better accommodations for the community and a more comfortable environment to commemorate. With the new look also comes all new furniture, artwork, fixtures, lighting, and updated technology.
“The building’s interior has been completed transformed. Before, the building layout was not optimal. We opened up the space to accommodate gatherings of various sizes by removing doors, it expanded space,” said Gustafson, who worked closely with Danielle Parillo of Dreambridge Design and J.R. Maehr of Maehr Construction on the project. “The project was completed in a very timely manor. Our goal was to update the buildings so there was minimal inconvenience to families in need,” Gustafson added.
In the fall of 2016, Piscataway Funeral Home had its interior renovations completed by a crew of carpenters and painters who worked six days a week for four weeks. Fresh paint, new artwork, furniture, carpet and window treatments throughout created a more welcoming and updated feel as the bases of the renovations. To provide a long overdue one level accessible space and avoid the necessity of having to traverse stairs, the floor plan of the main level was reconfigured to include a new private arrangement office/conference room and fully handicap accessible bathroom.
“Piscataway was logistically challenging because of its original design and because the building has such an important history in the town,” said Gustafson, adding that, in performing the renovations, extreme efforts were made to preserving the building’s rich history, including maintaining its original and still operational cupola as well as original molding and light fixtures.
“This building dates back to the late 1930s and is has deep roots and strong historical significance. The chapel at Piscataway once served as the town’s original courtroom and council chambers,” Gustafson said, adding that he is honored to run the funeral home out of this site. "Rather than be lost to demolition and turned into something else, we are honored to be here and continue its legacy while also meeting the needs of the community. The feedback from the families has been outstanding, they have noticed the positive changes and we have been extremely thankful."
The Middlesex Funeral Home is located at 528 Bound Brook Road, Middlesex and the Piscataway Funeral Home is located at 18 Stelton Road, Piscataway.Those who would like more information or have questions or to take a private tour of the public spaces can reach out to Gustafson or any of the funeral directors at (908) 561-8000.
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