SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – McCriskin-Gustafson Home for Funerals has been comforting and assisting families of South Plainfield and the surrounding communities for the past 40 years.
The family owned and operated funeral homes, located in South Plainfield, Piscataway and Middlesex, offer services to meet all needs, including but not limited to traditional burials, religious services, memorials, visitation and viewings, life celebrations, and cremation options. Additionally, life insurance, Medicaid approval, and veteran’s administration paperwork filing is available as is the popular and beneficial pre-arrangement planning.
“We are able to guide families with difficult decisions such as the type of funeral and the type of disposition as well as video tributes, obituaries, life stories and external coordination of such things as flowers and food. We can assist in the facilitation of the proper products and services that an individual family feels is right for them,” said James Gustafson, co-owner and president.
The funeral home employs a staff of five full-time funeral directors and several key part time support staff members, ranging in age and gender, who work with families to accommodate individual wants and needs.
“We provide a community service that is also a necessity,” Gustafson said. “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. The challenging part of this business is making sure you are doing right by someone and hearing them. You want to ensure that you are fulfilling someone’s wishes.”
First established in 1976 by South Plainfield brothers Richard and William McCriskin, the funeral home is run out of an extensively renovated 1870 structure that was once served as a parsonage home to the First Baptist Church of South Plainfield. In 2007, after 35 years, the McCriskin brothers retired and their son, Richard W. McCriskin, II, along with Gustafson took over the business..
Two years ago, Gustafson and McCriskin acquired the assets of the Wellington Group, bringing back local ownership and accountability to the South Plainfield Funeral Home, Piscataway Funeral Home and Middlesex Funeral Home. Currently, extensive interior and exterior renovations at both Piscataway and Middlesex are being performed as are scheduled interior renovations at the McCriskin-Gustafson Home for Funerals.
With different types of facilities in different areas, Gustafson and McCriskin are able to meet the needs of families throughout Middlesex County and surrounding towns. “Families are coming to us to based on reputation and connections. We have the ability to use the diversity of our staff, their knowledge, and their experience to accommodate family requests,” said Gustafson, noting that the ‘old school theory that everybody gets the same funeral’ is a thing of the past.
“Today, you have a much more ethnically- and economically-challenged group of people turning to you. You have a much more transient population where people are residing all over the country,” he said. “Having a younger mindset, proactive thoughts, and facilities that can handle the largest or the smallest funerals - along with the availability of the tools to carry one’s wishes forward – enables us to accommodate them in changing times.”
A lifelong resident of South Plainfield, Gustafson first started working at the funeral home when he was just 13 years old and performed various tasks over the years. He received a bachelor’s degree in management science from Kean University before going on to earn an associate’s of science degree and a Certificate of Proficiency in Funeral Services from Mercer County Community College. Additionally, Gustafson completed his National Boards Exam, State of NJ Law Exam and a Practical Examination and was awarded a Practitioner of Mortuary Science License in July 1996. He has over 30 years of extensive knowledge in funeral service.
The son of one of the funeral home’s original owners Rick McCriskin grew up in the business. He earned bachelors of science degrees in both economics and economics from St. Peter’s College in Jersey City before going on to complete the Funeral Service Education program at Mercer County Community College. In 2003, McCriskin earned both his A.A.S. degree and his Certificate of Proficiency in funeral service.
McCriskin and Gustafson are active members of the community who are affiliated with various organizations throughout Middlesex County as well as sitting members of various boards and committees. As residents and business owners in the community, they are personally connected and have a vested interest in the communities and families they serve.
“I love being a part of the community and doing what we do. Having been part of the community for so long and being able to give back in so many ways is huge,” Gustafson said, adding, “One of the things we have always tried to do since day one is give back as much as we can but, in the end, it’s not only about the volunteer and financial support we provide, it is knowing that families recognize that we do care.”
The McCriskin-Gustafson Home for Funerals is located at 2425 Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield. The South Plainfield Funeral Home is located at 2456 Plainfield Avenue; the Middlesex Funeral Home is located at 528 Bound Brook Road; and the Piscataway Funeral Home is located at 18 Stelton Road.
For additional information, visit mccriskinfuneralhome.com or call (908) 561-8000.
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