Westchester Funeral Home, Inc. History
This year 2014 will mark the 182nd year for the Benedict Family in funeral service. The business was founded by Samuel H. Benedict in 1832 in lower Manhattan. His son Charles A. Benedict joined his father at his funeral home at 60 Carmine Street after spending one year with the 7th regiment during the Civil War. The “Undertaking Establishment”, the oldest in NYC, was moved to 150 West 13th Street during the 1870’s.
In 1881 when President James A. Garfield was assassinated, the family and the President’s cabinet, placed Mr. Benedict in full charge of the funeral and asked him “to use his unguided judgement in arrangements for the funeral and selection of casket”. He went by train to Elberon, NJ, where the President died and brought him into Bellevue hospital in NYC where his body was prepared for viewing. He was then taken by train to Washington, DC where he lay in state in the rotunda of the capitol building. He was interred in the Garfield family plot in Cleveland, OH.
Charles’ son Clarence A. Benedict joined his father in NYC, bought a home in the Crestwood section of Yonkers and began the transition of the business into Westchester County. His home on Read Ave had to be moved in the 1920’s so the Bronx River Parkway could be built. The home still stands on Lincoln Circle in Crestwood.
Clarence A. and my father Charles A. Benedict ran the business here in Westchester and eventually closed the business in NYC. For several years after I joined my Dad in 1961 we would receive calls to handle funerals in NYC from families who remembered the Benedicts. We have been in our present location on the Tuckahoe – Eastchester border for 75 years. One of our first locations here in Eastchester was at 310 White Plains Road, the present location of Cornell’s Hardware Store, also a very historical Business.
In 1996, after graduating from St. Lawrence University, my daughter Carrie Benedict Foley joined our firm. My wife Maria is also very active in the business. She developed our Grief library in the early 1980’s, started support groups here at the funeral home and developed our web site and newsletter. It is truly a family effort dedicated to service.
As a way of celebrating our anniversary in the year 2007 we decided to give back to the community that has been so good to us. Throughout the year, we gave small grants to volunteer organizations that help distinguish this community. We look forward to many future years in the Eastchester, Tuckahoe, Bronxville areas.
Submitted by Alan Benedict