My name is Lou DePaul, I lived on Palm
Street in Vailsburg till I was about 12, then we moved to Belleville,
but I still have vivid memories of the area.
My father's brother was the mailman in the area for a long time,
everyone loved him, his name was Jerry.
We lived directly across the street from Raymond Funeral Center's
rear driveway. Larry Raymond, the owner was good friends with my
father and we spoke with him often. I remember riding bikes and
driving down to his basement garage with my friends trying to spook
each other, peeking into the garage windows, hoping to see something,
lol, but we mostly just saw the hearse, ha ha. I used to sit on
our front porch and watch as caskets got delivered from the casket
company that used to be down on South Orange Ave, closer to the
Parkway. They used to come on a flatbed truck, it had rails on the
sides, but wasn't closed in like they are today. They were always
covered with a moving tarp and I always wanted to go peek underneath.
This is where my interest in the Funeral Industry started basically.
I remember calling Raymonds when I was in Belleville High School
to try and get an internship, but one of the sons who lived on Sanford
Ave, whose name I will not mention told me when Larry passed, he
was the last funeral they had there and the two other brothers packed
up and moved to Italy and opened a sweater manufacturing facility.
There were other funeral homes I remember in the area, down the
block next to the firehouse on Sanford ave was Galante's, one of
three of their locales, and across the street from Sacred Heart
Church on Sanford was the Burns Funeral Home, and there was another
on South Orange Ave across the street from the FoodTown.