A Historical Perspective
Establishment of a funeral home in Hilton, New York, Tom Burger's hometown, was a long time dream of his. It became a reality in the fall of 1976. The property was purchased and the business incorporated in June of that year. He was very fortunate to obtain a piece of property on the outskirts of the village of Hilton. It consisted of just under 3 acres and had a ranch home very suitable for conversion to a funeral home. Zoning changes were made quite easily.
Renovation of the actual house began in early July. The work was done by Gerald Klafehn, contractor and a long time family friend. The interior decoration was coordinated by Mr. Burger and Eleanor Stothard. They both wanted the facility to be homelike as possible. Blue and green were the predominant colors. Some traditional furniture was purchased but family and locally obtained antiques were used as focal points as well as accent pieces. His father, Edward Burger, oversaw much of the renovation and made necessary electrical changes and also installed the air conditioning system.
Upon the suggestion of Mrs. Stothard, one area of the funeral home was designed as a "mini-conservatory" with white wicker furniture and lots of green plants, many of which were given to the funeral home by local businessmen and friends at the time of the funeral home opening.
An official open house was scheduled, times announced, and held on Sunday afternoon September 19, 1976. Over 200 attended. The funeral home helped its first family in mid-October and Mr. Burger arranged and conducted six funerals from the facility by the end of December 1976.
As the business grew certain changes were necessitated and completed. One major project was expansion of the parking lot from 30 cars to 80 cars over a fifteen year period. A major addition (43'x24') was added in 1989 along with portico entrance as well as a handicapped restroom. A smaller addition was completed during the summer of 1991, along with major landscaping in front of the funeral home. The funeral home also installed National music Systems sound system equipment in 1991 and updated the system in 1994 by converting to compact discs. A new garage was built in the fall of 1994 and the old garage was converted into a Business Operations center and Bereavement center.