The James C. Maneval Funeral Home began as a family business in 1936, when Clyde L. Maneval purchased the old Vandergrift Funeral Home at 711 West Fourth Street, according to Kevin Novotny, director of the funeral home.
A little more than 30 years later, Clyde Maneval's son, James Maneval, followed in his father's footsteps and continued the family legacy after his father's death in 1968, according to Novotny.
That same year, James Maneval moved to a new location at 500 West Fourth Street, the current location of the family run funeral home.
One thing that Kevin Novotny of the James C. Maneval Funeral Home tries to accomplish is to be there for the families and loved ones when they lose someone close to them.
Even though James Maneval sold the funeral home in 1986, it remains a family run business, according to Novotny.
Today the funeral home is owned by the Givnish Family Funeral Homes of Philadelphia. The Givnish family owns between 25 and 30 funeral homes in both the state and Delaware, according to Novotny. Their loyalty to the business has never been wavering.
The business is more than just a traditional funeral home. The philosophy of the business is to celebrate life and they do this by enhancing positive memories, according to Novotny.
"We try to make it a positive memory by celebrating that person's life and what they meant to you and what everyone remembers them by," Novotny said.
Although many are receptive to the funeral's approach to celebrating the lives of the deceased,there are some that prefer traditional viewings and services, according to Novotny.
"Funerals are important as a whole. But, there is much more to it than coming in and seeing the deceased.," Novotny said. "We look for laughter and conversation. That's what we try to accomplish, a healthy atmosphere."
The funeral home's goal is to serve the family and it serves about 110 families per year, according to Novotny.
Aside from funeral services, the funeral home also helps with other things, such as life insurance, notifying the social security office, nursing homes and prearrangements, according to Novotny.
"We do everything that the family needs. Say they have someone coming in from out of town and they need reservations, or they want you to make reservations - we have done that for families. We will get the luncheons taken care of and stuff like that. We do whatever they need and as much as they need is what we will do," Novotny said.
With prearrangements, some things a person may do ahead of time are providing information for the death certificate and obituary, casket selection, funeral details and set money aside, a little at a time, for the services, according to Novotny.
This is a service that many have taken advantage of, because even though it may be hard to do, it saves the family the agony of having to do it and the funeral home offers one of the cheapest prearrangement plans in the state, according to Novotny.
The funeral runs well because of the team of employees that work together, according to Novotny.
It also runs on the notion that community is important.
The first Wednesday of each December, a memorial tree service is held for families that have experienced loss within the last few years. It is open to all, whether their loved ones had services at the funeral home or not, according to Novotny.
In memory of their lost ones, doves are placed on the funeral home's Christmas tree, where the families may pick them up the week before Christmas to help them get through the season without their loved one, according to Novotny.
The funeral home also works in conjunction with Little League, Toys-for-Tots and other community efforts.
"When someone needs help, you just help," Novotny said.