Moved by the vision of its founders nearly two centuries ago, inspired by its growth and development, and motivated by the remarkable opportunities that lie ahead, I am honored to lead West Laurel Hill Cemetery & Funeral Home and Laurel Hill Cemetery.
For me, this role not only weaves together my professional experiences and my personal interests, but also rouses my passion for the green, open spaces and the many unique assets that make Philadelphia and the region so special.
I was drawn to this position by the diverse collection of art, history, and horticulture in our cemeteries, and by our extraordinary ability to create memorable experiences in new, gratifying ways. But I was equally attracted by the opportunity to lead a team of caring professionals and insightful civic leaders who have positioned us as a model organization in an industry that continues to evolve.×
I entered the doors of this remarkable company and found my passion. Perfecting how we help families is my purpose.
Creating a celebration to memorialize a family's special someone is one of the most gratifying experiences. The value in preparing and educating families about the importance of pre-arranging had never crossed my mind until I met with grief-stricken families and shared in their pain. What a worthy mission to teach families how to celebrate and also to spare others the burden of planning.
Exceptional is the word which describes our staff. There is nothing that gives me more satisfaction than when families convey how pleased they were with us because we exceeded their needs and expectations.
I will forever treasure the extraordinary feeling I experienced when my families invited me to become part of their family during profound sadness.×
Throughout my professional career, in any position I have ever had, there has always been one common element present which led me down a particular career path in the first place-being in a position where I could be of help and service to others. It is that crucial element which led me to West Laurel Hill.
For me, there is nothing more gratifying or fulfilling than knowing you have helped make a difference in the lives of those who may be grieving the loss of a loved one. The care, compassion and expertise that the staff and employees of this amazing company bring to bear-hether they are guiding families through moments of profound loss or assisting them far in advance to ensure that their wishes are carried out-is remarkable!
To be of service to another is both a great responsibility and a great privilege-and one that I take very seriously and for which I am most grateful. Albert Schweitzer once said, "The purpose of human life is to serve and show compassion and the will to help others." Being a part of the West Laurel Hill family helps me fulfill that purpose.×
Hard work, compassion for others, and dedication to family are attributes that drive my connections with others as well as my moral compass. My parents, first generation Jamaican emigres, instilled these values. Knowing the hardships of the old country, they leveraged opportunities in the United States to enhance their quality of life as well as to give me the best chance at success. "These traits were drilled into me from my earliest memories and are a constant guidance for my chosen profession and life journey."
Born in Brooklyn, NY, I lived there for ten years, after which my family moved to Mount Vernon, a small suburb just outside of New York City. I completed elementary and college preparation at Rye Country Day School in Rye, NY. At Temple University, I not only earned a B.B.A in finance, but met the love of my life, Samantha. We exchanged wedding vows in July 2012 and currently live in Upper Darby, PA.
So how did a finance major decide to pursue a career in Funeral Services, especially without any family members in this field? After Graduating from Temple in 2009, Andre had a chance conversation with his finance capstone professor, Robert Katz, who at the time was the interim president at West Laurel Hill Cemetery. The outcome: Andre accepted a part time position at R.R. Bringhurst Funeral Home. As a part time administrative and funeral assistant, Andre developed a deep appreciation and respect for the Funeral Services profession; so much so, he decided that Funeral Services was a calling he should answer. Mortuary School soon followed, and he graduated from American Academy McAllister Institute for Funeral Service in August 2014 with an Associate Degree in Occupational Studies.
Andre has been employed at Bringhurst Funeral Home for six years now and recently commenced his Funeral Director apprenticeship. Commenting on his experiences, "I have been fully exposed to this multi-faceted profession and am acquiring the knowledge, skills, and special arts to deliver competent and compassionate care during this fragile time of transition. From the guidance and support we provide to grieving families to the delicate care we provide to love ones who have passed, I receive a sense of satisfaction, completeness, and purpose that is unrivaled in many other professions."
As he moves forward with his career, Andre is set to preserve the commitment of high quality service to "families and their loved ones, in the Main Line and Philadelphia communities." He is dedicated to continuing the legacy of Bringhurst, setting the bar for what a Funeral Service professional should be:
- Dedicated to the responsibilities and Code of Ethics for Funeral Directors
- Compassionate with the families they serve and
- Ensures that the objectives of the families drive their actions with delivery above and beyond expectations.
Andre whole heartedly supports this responsibility and takes great pride and satisfaction from steering families through what can be the most difficult time in their lives. As famed grief coach Angie Cartwright says, "When we treat others with compassion we empower their souls."
This is Andre's goal and the reason he is dedicated to this profession.×
Unlike most funeral directors, my story does not begin by observing my father or mother acting as working funeral directors in a family-owned and operated funeral home. In fact, they have nothing to do with this industry at all. My story begins in a small bistro located in Gettysburg, PA. As a 15 year old I held a job there bussing tables and washing dishes. The owner of this bistro was very hard to work with and made going to work a very unpleasant event. Subsequently, I began looking for other jobs in my small community. I began my search by asking folks at church who owned businesses if they would take me under their wing by giving me a job. I asked a gentleman by the name of Robert J. Monahan, Jr. of Monahan Funeral Home if he would be interested in having me do chores and the like for the funeral home. He accepted my offer and it was there that I was introduced to the funeral service industry. I fell in love with the business while working at Monahan Funeral Home and put it in the back of my mind that someday I would become a funeral director.
When I was 25 I decided it was time for me to pursue this idea and I enrolled in the funeral service education program of Northampton County Community College (NCCC) in Lehigh Valley. I graduated from the program in 2009 and began looking for internship opportunities to fulfill the Pennsylvania State Board of Funeral Directors year long requirement before obtaining the official license to practice as a funeral director. Through the advice of a fellow colleague and former NCCC classmate, I applied for an internship at Bringhurst Funeral Home at West Laurel Hill Cemetery. I was called in for a pleasant interview and I knew right away this was where I wanted to be.
A year has passed and I am happy as can be. I have obtained my license to practice as a funeral director and I have found a community that I am in love with. The greater Philadelphia area is rich with history and great people. The families who represent the Main Line and Philadelphia areas are down to earth and a pleasure work with. I am excited beyond belief to continue to grow roots here at Bringhurst Funeral Home and in the Philadelphia area. This is where I want to be. I am also excited to show our families here how good we are at taking care of them in their times of need. It is a true calling to be a funeral director and not one that should be taken lightly. I love my job and I feel a great source of pride when people can leave the funeral home feeling as though they have been treated as extensions of our family here at Bringhurst Funeral Home at West Laurel Hill Cemetery.×
When my beloved grandmother passed away and my mother and I made her funeral arrangements, I realized how important the role of a Family Service Representative is. The compassion and kindness we received that day and the days that followed made our grief easier to bear. I knew then my goal in life was to extend and share that same consideration to others in a most distressful time in their lives.
I find that compassion, coupled with professionalism and a genuine concern for the grieving, is what makes our organization so unique. Although I have been in the customer service industry for 30 years, no career has been as life-changing and rewarding as being able to help loved ones confront and deal with loss.×
As a 1981 graduate of Ursinus College working for twenty-five years in relationship-building careers, I've been able to use my own life experiences to assist families in completing their funeral and cemetery needs, even in the most difficult of times. When meeting with a family, I always try to put myself into their position, understanding that often we are meeting to address a most delicate matter.
My thirty years as a high school basketball coach has also prepared me to help families by breaking down the entire pre-need or immediate need process into manageable pieces so arrangement meetings are not so intimidating. Families feel such a sense of relief knowing they've completed a significant task, relieving their family of a future burden.
There's no greater joy in my position than the expression of thanks from families and having my wife of thirty-two years and our four children see how helping people is one of the most important responsibilities.
Kevin McCormick is a Notary Public and available to notarize your documents free of charge.×
Real joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of men, but from doing something worthwhile - Wilfred Grenfell
I love working at West Laurel Hill Cemetery. I'm surrounded by history, nature, art and a wonderful group of co-workers who really care about what they do. To be in a position where I can truly help and ease another's pain is a privilege that I am grateful to have.
My previous experience and background has always been in serving others. Whether as a Customer Service Manager or as an Advertising Director assisting small local businesses or as a Manager of Member Services for our local chamber, my motivation has always been to help others. It is extremely satisfying to be in this position where I can make a real difference and help our families through a most difficult time.×
I was raised in a large family that instilled the values of hard work and service to the community. For more than 25 years, I had a successful career as a real estate appraiser, primarily owning my own company and briefly serving as the Vice President of a major bank in their Real Estate Appraisal division. During much of that time, I was a member of the "Chevra Kadisha," the Jewish burial society, a volunteer group which prepares the dead through a cleansing ritual. That work was a fulfilling and holy experience for me, and it fueled a growing interest in becoming a funeral director. I also studied chaplaincy and subsequently volunteered as a para-chaplin, visiting people who were homebound or near death. I experienced first-hand the importance of traditions surrounding death and dying, and learned how to be supportive to both the dying and the living during this significant and inevitable life event.
By 2009, I knew it was time to close my business and to pursue the calling to become a licensed funeral director. As a result, I then enrolled in the Funeral Services program at Mercer County Community College. I was fortunate to gain my mandatory experience credits by working part-time at Bringhurst Funeral Home. I will always remember the day I came for the interview. I was given the royal tour of West Laurel Hill Cemetery and the funeral home, and I immediately knew I wanted to work here. I was impressed by the beauty of the grounds and buildings, the well-equipped prep room, the state-of-the-art-crematory, and especially the diversity of staff and clientele. In particular, I have been so moved and inspired by serving people from so many faith traditions at Bringhurst.
I became a licensed funeral director in early 2013. I feel blessed to work with a creative and energized team that has been welcoming, that teaches me so much and, in turn, appreciates what I contribute. I find it exceptionally rewarding to be a part of an organization that serves families from many diverse cultures and faiths.
Patricia lives in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia with her life partner of 25 years and their two teenage children. She is a former treasurer of Congregation Mishkan Shalom, is a member of the Reconstructionist Chevra Kadisha, and is the Judge of Elections in the 13th District of the 9th Ward of Northwest Philadelphia.×
For event and press inquiries, email JSweeney@WestLaurelHill.com.×
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