Four years ago, we celebrated a milestone - our 100th anniversary!
In 1907, Charles Betz started the funeral home with the support of his wife, Stella. Two sons were born to them, Charles and Joseph. Both of them joined their father's work and became funeral directors. After both of his parents deaths, Joseph and his wife, Mary, continued the family legacy of serving people with respect and care. When Joseph died, his wife retained ownership of the funeral home under the state's provision for a widow's license. Because she was not a funeral director/embalmer, she chose Robert Jastremski to carry out those duties. After working in that capacity for several years, he purchased the funeral home in 1998.
As we look toward our 105th year,
we remain committed to serving you and our community
with excellence and compassion.
Robert Jastremski has been a funeral director and embalmer for over thirty years. He was born into what you might call a "funeral directing family." His father, known as Jake, was a funeral director and owned the Anthony J. Jastremski Funeral Home in Ashley, PA. His mother, Anna Matsko Jastremski, was a beautician, not a funeral director, but was an equal presence in the business.
Robert had dreams of being the CEO of a business and left for college, attending York College of Pennsylvania (now known as York University). After earning a bachelor’s degree in business management, he returned home, where his family had purchased a business that manufactured crucifixes, crosses, and other religious articles. His sister, Doris, still runs the Ashley Supply Company today. It was at this point that his father asked the long-expected question – “Do you want to go to funeral school?”
After his graduation from Simmons School of Funeral Service in Syracuse, NY, Robert returned home and began working not only with his father, but with several other funeral directors who requested his expertise. One of them was Mary Betz, who was the owner of Betz Funeral Home in Luzerne. Her husband, Joseph, had died and she was continuing the business with the state’s provision for a “widow’s license.” Because she was not a funeral director, she asked Robert to assist her and do the funeral director work for which she was not licensed. This created an amicable relationship and in 1998, she sold the business to him.
Under Robert’s ownership, the funeral home was remodeled and includes an atmosphere designed to make people feel comfortable and welcome. The building is also completely handicapped-accessible.
Robert is married to Diane Smith of Mountain Top. He has two daughters, Sarah and Rebekah and two stepchildren, Athena and Austin. He feels being a funeral director is his opportunity to help people in their time of need and as the funeral home motto says, to ease “your path through a difficult time.”
About Luzerne? “It’s a real nice place to be.”