For the Dworzanski family, whose forefather Alfred E. Dworzanski founded a funeral home in 1949, this became even truer as the third generation, Richard A. Dworzanski, a student at Mercer County College Funeral Service Program, completed his degree in Mortuary Science and became the third generation of funeral directors last month.
The Alfred E. Dworzanski Funeral Home was founded by the late Alfred E. Dworzanski in 1949. After serving in the United States Army during World War II, Alfred earned a degree in Mortuary Science from the American Academy of McAllister Institute of Funeral Service.
“Alfred consistently demonstrated concerns for his community and its residents not only through funeral service and his involvement in local charities, but by holding public office as Bayonne City Council President, Councilman At Large, Hudson County Freeholder, and Secretary to the Hudson County Medical Examiner,” according to the official history of the family. “His reputation as a funeral director earned him a well respected name in his community. It was in 1975 when his son Richard joined the business that Alfred changed the name to the Dworzanski & Son Funeral Home. Alfred and Richard committed themselves to meeting all the needs of the families they served, reaching beyond the standard, providing the highest possible care.”
“I was at my father’s side from when I was five years old,” said the elder Richard during an interview this week. “I never wanted to do anything else.”
Richard, a 1975 graduate of American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service, became as involved in the community as his father had been. He served as President of the Mount Carmel Church Parish Council and was a member of the Parish Finance Committee. He is a life member and past President of the Mount Carmel Lyceum. He is a member of the Pulaski Memorial Parade Committee where he was honored as Bayonne's 1999 Contingent Marshal. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus Star of the Sea Council #371. Richard is also the current President of the Polish American Community Center and Vice President of the Polish American Citizens Club. Professionally, Richard served as President of the Hudson County Funeral Directors Association where he currently holds the position as Secretary Treasurer. He is also a former Trustee of the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association. Richard holds the designation of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner from the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice.
Richard said he learned everything he could from his father and passed along these same traditions to his son, Richard A.
“Having three generations running the same business gives people confidence that we will maintain the same traditions,” said the elder Richard.
“The entire Dworzanski family actively participates in the family business,” said Ann, the elder Richard’s wife.
Growing up, the elder Richard said he never left his father’s side, watching all his father did, and gradually grew into the profession.
“It became second nature to me,” he said. “My son started a little later than I did, maybe at 11 or 12, but he went with me, and saw how I conducted myself and learned what I did.”
He said the job is more than just a job, and it requires the ability to understand people, listen to their problems and what goes on in their family.
“Then you try to help them,” Richard said. “You just can’t run this like a business. You have to develop a relationship with people and listen. Sometimes people need to talk—not just about the arrangements—and you need to listen to what they are going through in order to give them what they want. No two families are going to be alike. Some want to have everything done and over with and that might be good for them. But you have to listen to them.”
Richard and Ann have four children. Their eldest son, Richard A. became the director of the home in August, continuing in the family business.
The elder Richard said he watched his son and saw that the boy had the necessary skills.
“I watched his conversations and saw how he talked with people,” he said. “He understood what they needed and knew how to help them and make it a bit easier.”
As he did with his own father, Richard will be working side by side with his son in the family business, continuing to live up to the name Dworzanski & Son Funeral Home.
The home is located at 20 E. 22nd Street in Bayonne.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.