Knight-Confer Funeral Home: Serving needs since 1879

Since it was founded in 1879, the Knight-Confer Funeral Home, 1914 Memorial Ave., has been serving the needs of the greater Williamsport area.

In 1879, it started in Perryville by the Knight family. In 1890, the business moved to Newberry. As of 1915, it has been at its current location on Memorial Ave.

When John M. Confer purchased the business in 1985, he added his name. In 2012, a partnership was formed with William H. Kieser and Michael R. Lingg to take over the daily operations of the business with long time funeral directors John E. Springman and Confer staying on as licensed funeral directors.

“We are a full service funeral home, offering traditional and cremation services. We own and operate our own Monument Company,” said Kristen M. Hess, funeral director. “We also own and operate our own crematory on site, and your loved one never leaves our care.”

Adding a crematory to the business was not the only improvement made in the last few years.

“We have completely renovated the interior of our building,” Hess said. “We’ve added a large projector to show memorial tribute DVDs, which we will make for any family we serve. It’s a collage of photos put together set to music of the family’s choice, and it makes for a nice tribute DVD of the person that’s passed.”

The tribute DVDs also become a keepsake for the family.

The parking lot also can accommodate for about 75 parking spaces, and soon, there will be an additional 30 spaces coming from a new parking lot expansion.

These improvements help the funeral home provide the best care possible.

“We strive to personalize our services to reflect the individual personality of the person, the life that we’re honoring,” Hess said.

Hess said that if the deceased was an avid pin collector, they can offer to put the pin collection on display. If the deceased enjoyed fishing, a fishing rod could be present. If the parted loved one was well known for enjoying sweets, a chocolate could be passed out in the service. Hess said they could also offer to pass out tomato seeds if the deceased was known for being a gardener.

Having this personal element can help people participate in the funeral experience.

“It’s a symbol or an action, and it gives people the opportunity to do something with their thoughts and feelings. They’re participating in the process of the funeral that way,” Hess said. “Participation can be as simple as lighting a candle, placing a flower on the casket or acting as a pallbearer. Participation is important because it helps ease the grief journey.”

Holding a funeral can help with grief.

“It provides closure … Everyone grieves differently, so we always say to allow yourself to do what’s right for you,” Hess said. “If that means fully participating in activities, by all means, do so. If you’re not ready, that’s okay, too.”

They try to make the funeral arrangement process as easy as possible, and they suggest using a preplanning option.

“We definitely are big believers in preplanning,” Hess said. “It’s a large aspect of what we do.”

With preplanning, decisions can be made ahead of time so that loved ones do not have to guess about decisions in the future.

“It’s for peace of mind, having your wishes known in advance will ease the burden on your loved ones,” Hess said.

The funeral home offers free consultations about preplanning.

“We can go to their house … or they can come to our facility. We can mail a planning guide, and there’s no charge for that,” Hess said. “They can request information about it right off our website.”

It can be hard to make arrangements in the middle of grief without any preplanning.

“When you’re grieving, you could have been going off of no sleep because you were with your loved one all night. That’s where if things are in place ahead of time, decisions were made with a clear and conscious mind, and you can avoid emotional over-spending. You can think through all your thoughts and wishes,” Hess said. “It’s important to have the talk with your loved ones about what you want. Then there is no guessing, and you do not have to live with the thought that something wrong was selected.”

“By doing things ahead of time, it’s almost like a gift for their loved one because they are not having to answer all the difficult questions for us in a very short period of time,” Hess said.

In the event there is no preplanning, the funeral home still tries to make the process as easy as possible.

“We take care of it and make the process as smooth as it can be for them,” Hess said. “I think they’ll find caring, compassionate people who will honor their wishes and provide professional services at an affordable price.”

For more information on the funeral home, visit www.knightconferfuneralhome.com/ or call 570-323-7717.