GARFIELD, N.J. — Aloia Funeral Home outlived nearly every business in Garfield from its start more than 75 years ago.
The Harrison Avenue business is the second-oldest in the city, only a year younger than Barcelona's restaurant, owner Louis Aloia said.
Aloia took over from his parents, Louis Sr. and Annette, in 1980.
"As with any child you think that everyone grows up this way," Aloia told Daily Voice.
"You don't know any better. Whatever dad's business is you become part of it."
Aloia kept the funeral home in the family with his wife Rosemarie and daughter Andrea.
The family started the business on Frederick Street near Our Lady of Mount Virgin Church in 1940, but moved to Harrison Street 10 years later.
The neighborhood around Aloia Funeral Home hasn't change much over time, the owner said, though the types of services differ.
"We do far more cremations than before," he said. "We probably did none at the very beginning."
Being part of the community so long, Aloia said they often know the people who come through their doors, which can be tough.
"At times it does make it feel in a certain way you become emotionally attached," he said.
"Then there are other families you just have to realize we need to serve them to make their difficult time easier."
Every year Aloia Funeral Home holds a church function to remember the people from Garfield who passed. It usually brings out 200 to 300 people.
The ceremony two years ago had around 500 guests for the funeral home's 75th anniversary.
"It was very heartwarming for us to realize so many people appreciate what we do," Aloia said.
"Not as a job, but as an extension of our friendship to them."
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