The Avery-Storti Funeral Home is making history this month as they proudly open South County’s only crematory.
The South County Cremation Care Center is scheduled to open today, and Peter J. Storti, the owner and director, is humble in saying that he and his staff will do everything in their power to maintain the high standards that people expect in their new cremation care center, just as they do for their funeral home.
“Cremations are approximately 40 percent of our business, so we are very pleased we can offer this service right here, on site, for the wonderful folks here in South County who have come to know and trust us,” Storti said.
Storti began working part-time at Avery Funeral Home in 1983 while he was attending Bishop Hendricken High School.
“I helped with the maintenance of the grounds and doing odd jobs while in high school. I never thought I’d someday own and run the funeral home,” he says candidly.
Though he didn’t realize at the time that becoming a funeral director was his calling, the families he’s lovingly served throughout the past 20 years are certainly glad he chose this as his career. He’s known for his warmth, easy-going personality, meticulous attention to every detail, and his love of the community.
“I am glad we are part of this great community, we are so very blessed to live here,” Storti said. “The local connection is really what we are all about. Families know that we have ties to this area, and that helps tremendously when they choose Avery-Storti to bring their deceased loved one to their final resting place.”
There is a history behind the Avery-Storti Funeral Home dating back to 1863, when it opened as the Slocum Funeral Home on Prospect Street in Wakefield. It was moved to its present location on Columbia Street in the early 1900s by William Einsen, who operated the funeral home for many years before retiring.
In 1935, Kleber Richmond Avery became the new owner, changing the name to the Avery Funeral Home and operating it until his retirement in 1972. Donald Webster, a longtime employee of the Avery Funeral Home, became owner and operated it until his retirement in 1991, when Storti took over ownership.
Soon after, he began expanding the facility and two additions were built in 2001 and again in 2007. Storti made every effort to improve the function of the funeral home with careful planning and attention to every design aspect of the renovations while still preserving the integrity and character of the original building.
“Now we can accommodate both intimate and very large gatherings because we have the space to do so. We also have the ability to handle 150 cars at any given time.”
One of Avery-Storti’s best known characteristics is the way they interact with the families who hire them.
“We don’t get complacent no matter how many funerals we’ve handled,” Storti said. “Every funeral whether it be in the pre-planning stage to a sudden loss for a family or a loved one that is elderly and passed after a long and healthy life is treated with the utmost care and respect. I believe that my staff and I are able to soften the entire experience because we don’t take anything for granted. We know this is one of the most difficult times in a families’ life, and it’s our job to take away whatever worry in this process that we can.”
Storti praises his staff for maintaining such high standards in this business. Mike Ryan, a licensed funeral director, shares many of the responsibilities at the funeral home, and Storti relies on his caring, trusting and dignified work ethic at all times. Leo Dube is another solid asset to the business who primarily takes care of pre-planning funerals.
Storti notes that they do not use a transit service to pick up a body. He or Ryan will arrive at the hospital, a hospice center or the deceased’s home, dressed in a full suit regardless of time of day, to bring the body back to the funeral home.
“Respect and reverence are our principal foundation,” he said with pride.
Avery-Storti Funeral Home has built a reputation on just that and Storti says they feel quite privileged to be handling approximately 225 funerals per year. As with any business, there is change as well as trends to be aware of.
Storti shares that one of the newest trends in the funeral business are “green” burial services.
“We’re excited to feature some greener alternatives in caskets. We now have several more environmentally friendly choices for families to choose when it comes to caskets,” he said.
This also includes urns as well. And although they do not handle pet burials, Avery-Storti does carry urns for pets.
Pre-planning is a service that they offer, which can be done in person by calling (401) 783-7271 or by visiting their online pre-planning service.
Having an online presence has become instrumental for many funeral homes, and Avery-Storti is no different. By visiting their website, families have many options available to get them started in the delicate process of planning a funeral for a loved one. Arrangements can begin on-line, there are on-line sympathy services, and grief support is also available.
The opening of the South County Cremation Care Center is the latest service that Storti and his staff have worked so hard to bring to the community.
“This has been a goal for a long time, and we are so pleased we can finally offer this service right here in our own facility,” Storti said.
The cremation care center will be on property but in a separate building from the funeral home. There is a beautiful chapel, and viewing window as well as a private office for planning cremations.
Clearly after 20 years as the owner and director of Avery-Storti, he has come to recognize the delicate balance of combining sensitivity, respect, compassion and honoring individual requests all while maintaining the quality standards of running a business.
“I love what I do to help people during such a fragile and important time in their lives. This business is about caring for people, and I think Avery-Storti is the best at what we do.”
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