Readers’ Choice: A comforting response

Plan­ning a fu­ner­al is nev­er a good thing.The idea of los­ing a loved one is something none of us en­joy deal­ing with, but it’s part of life.

Photo by Maria Young

Plan­ning a fu­ner­al is nev­er a good thing.The idea of los­ing a loved one is something none of us en­joy deal­ing with, but it’s part of life. Res­id­ents count on the staff at their neigh­bor­hood fu­ner­al home to aid them through the griev­ing pro­cess. When asked to single one out, SPR read­ers voted for Monti-Rago Fu­ner­al Home Inc., 2531-35 South Broad St., as their No. 1 choice. Mark J. Rago, who has been work­ing at the site since age 16, said it’s quite an hon­or. 

“It shows the hard work we do is pleas­ing our neigh­bor­hood fam­il­ies,” he said. “I am glad it’s no­ticed, and I am glad we are able to please the fam­il­ies we serve. 

It’s the most im­port­ant thing for us.” 

The fam­ily re­lies on their ex­per­i­ence and ex­pert­ise to make the griev­ing pro­cess as easy as pos­sible. 

“We leave no stone un­turned, we ad­dress everything,” Rago said.

It helps hav­ing founder Samuel J. Monti, who is now in his early 90s, still act­ive in the busi­ness. Rago star­ted learn­ing the busi­ness from Monti dur­ing his days as a stu­dent at St. John Neu­mann High School. He used to leave school early to help set up the flowers at the fu­ner­al home.  

“What I picked up from Mr. Monti is that you are there to help the fam­il­ies at a ter­rible time,” Rago said. “It’s im­port­ant that everything is done right and trust­worthy at the time of the fu­ner­al ser­vice. You are go­ing to run in­to the fam­il­ies, you want to feel like you’ve done right.” 

Monti-Rago went through a com­plete renov­a­tion of the en­tire fa­cil­ity in 2009, and it of­fers fully han­di­capped ac­cess­ible re­strooms and an el­ev­at­or. The 9,000-square foot fa­cil­ity is able to ac­com­mod­ate any type of set­ting from a large vis­it­a­tion to more in­tim­ate gath­er­ings. The par­lors are able to be di­vided de­pend­ing upon the fam­ily needs and re­quests. 

In terms of the park­ing situ­ation, Rago said “it is nev­er an is­sue.” 

Gangemi Fu­ner­al Home fin­ished second while Pennsylvania Buri­al Co. took third. 


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You can reach at bgelman@southphillyreview.com.