Friday, July 22, 2016

Since 1941………75 Years!

July 2016

Wow, 75 years, 4 generations and a lot of changes!  For the last 33 years I have felt so blessed to serve others and be the third generation owner and operator of Baker-Hazel & Snider Funeral Home & Crematory.  More than a job, I have felt honored to be chosen by those in need, to help guide and direct them down the path of transition, by honoring and commemorating their loved ones life with dignity and respect.   For me personally, it is truly gratifying to minister to others through one of the hardest experiences we all will go through in life, the death of a family member.  
Thirty five years ago, when I was nineteen, my best friend died tragically.  A month later my grandmother died unexpectedly.  As a result of these two significant deaths,  I decided that I could help others by being available and assisting them during this difficult time.  Mr. Eugene Baker, my wife’s grandfather, started our business and was truly devoted to growing his business by providing ambulance service to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office and expectant mothers that needed transportation to the hospital.  He and his wife, Helen Baker, were passionate about doing for others and being available whenever someone needed them.  Mr. and Mrs. Baker moved their business from N. Main St. at Parkwood to Philadelphia Dr. at N. Main St. in 1954.  His work ethic was then carried on by my father-in-law, Neil Hazel (2nd generation owner and operator), who grew the business by also being available and compassionate and supporting the community by volunteering with local service clubs and fraternities.  Mr. Hazel began his career in 1959 and retired in 2003. My daughter, Abby Snider-Robinson (4th generation), began with our firm in 2011 as a Funeral Director.  She is the great-granddaughter of our founder, Gene Baker.   Her devotion and compassion for those we serve has truly been a blessing to our firm.  She is very instrumental in our development of social media, marketing and progressive insight of our future.  She is currently training a therapy dog which will provide comfort to our families.   
In 2001, we enhanced our commitment to the community and our client families by adding a crematory which still sits on our campus.  By then cremation was almost 25% of our business and we felt it necessary to embrace this option by operating our own crematory and not relying on others to complete this important task.  All of our families have felt better about knowing that their loved one’s care is completed by us here at our crematory.  We then realized that there was another need our customer was requesting and that was to care for their entire family.  So in 2007, we opened Snider Pet Crematory, which is operated by Abby’s husband and my son-in-law, Brett Robinson, who is are crematory specialist.  Pets can sometimes be just as important as their family members and we filled that void by extending our services and level of care by opening our 2nd crematory which is devoted only to pets.   

We have come a long way, from rotary phones and pagers to fax machines and cell phones and computers.  From earth burials to cremation to natural “green” burials.  We have always been about serving others the way we would want to be served. And for 75 years we have been doing it.   We have embraced change and the desires of our customers and are excited about the next 75 years.  Thanks to all of you that have entrusted your loved ones to us.      
-Rick Snider
photo taken in 1955, shortly after we moved to N. Main St.