Funeral services haven't changed much over the years, and neither has Spitler Funeral Home - but Brett Spitler believes this is a good thing. Spitler joins a long line of men in his family who have run the Montoursville business, helping area families plan funeral services for loved ones.
"I grew up here," Spitler said, gesturing around the brick building on Broad Street that Montoursville residents identify immediately by its white pillars. "I grew up working in funeral service, so I've spent my whole life in it."
Spitler is the fifth-generation Spitler man to run the business, which was established in 1895 by Joseph U. Spitler. The home began on Broad Street, was moved to Cherry Street in 1906 and then ended up back on Broad Street in 1928.
Back in Joseph U. Spitler's time, the job of a funeral director was a bit different.
"Funeral directors were basically carpenters because they could make coffins or caskets," Spitler said.
Today's funeral director functions as an aid for families planning funeral arrangements, and the long-standing reputation of Spitler's Funeral Home has led to its continued success.
Spitler Funeral Home helps take care of the details, such as applying for Social Security or veteran's benefits and making sure family members receive them. While Spitler Funeral Home attempts to remove some of the burden of planning arrangements from loved ones' shoulders, Spitler and his staff ultimately leave the decisions to the family. Spitler Funeral Home accommodates services of all sizes and also helps to plan services in home and churches when desired.
Spitler Funeral Home has staff available 24/7 to accommodate needs and offers pre-need counseling.
Spitler said the home's basic services have not changed, and in fact all the services offered in a brochure from the 1970s still stand. Spitler Funeral Home has become a part of the community, and continues to widen the boundaries in which it serves.
"We reach out pretty far," Spitler said; services are based in the Williamsport-Montoursville area but stretch from Milton to Trout Run, reaching west to Jersey Shore.
Spitler said he hopes to keep services focused on personal relationships, which is why he has been reluctant to establish an online presence for the home. He believes the personal touch is an important aspect of the service that can be taken away when loved ones choose to post sentiments online instead.
Spitler Funeral Home will continue in the family tradition with Brett's son, Justin, who will become the sixth-generation Spitler to run the home after completing mortuary school.
Spitler hopes to offer meaningful and comforting funeral services to the community for many years to come.