100 years in the making

It’s been a whirlwind first couple years for Jerry Macari Jr following his purchase of the family business, Lacerenza Funeral Home, in mid-2017. That’s not to say it’s been completely unexpected.

Following the passing of his grandfather, Richard Lacerenza in 2015, who was a renowned director of Stamford’s longest-standing funeral home- one that still bears his family name- Jerry has accepted the mantle of continuing the business that’s been in his family since 1926. At a time when many funeral homes face challenges in serving new generations, and, with a higher incidence of cremation and other alternatives to traditional funeral services today, Jerry and staff are reinventing the way funeral homes and those providing end-of-life care serve the greater Stamford community.

Jerry’s roots, in both the Lacerenza and Macari families, run deep in Stamford. Where “Lacerenza’s” has been a fixture on the west side of Stamford since the 1920s, The Macari family were respected educators and grocery store names on both the east and west sides, with three “Macari’s” markets in Stamford during the 1940s through early 1970s.

Lacerenza Funeral Home has always supported the Stamford community. In the 1930s and 40s, Anthony Lacerenza- Richard’s father and Jerry’s great-grandfather- helped immigrant families to get acclimated to Stamford. He helped them learn the language, get drivers licenses, obtain housing, jobs and more. The family was a founder of Sacred Heart parish on Schuyler Avenue.

Grandfather Richard set the standard for funeral care in this area, having run the business from the early 1950s to just before his death in 2015. His traditions of community involvement continue today.

Jerry and staff, many that are family members working at Lacerenza’s today, sponsor community dinners, church events, a bocce league team, and fairs. In 2018, The family donated a memorial bench to Richard in the Pellicci (restaurant) family grotto at Fairview Farms, just up the road from both businesses on Stillwater Avenue.

“The west-side of Stamford is now everywhere.”, states Jerry; “the families of the original immigrant families who lived here are now in Westover, Newfield, and other parts of town. Stamford has become a diverse American city.

This diversity is part of the make-up of the Lacerenza funeral business today. “We have knowledge of the customs and traditions of the people we serve”, adds Jerry. “We serve the needs of those still seeking traditional funeral services, those simply seeking memorials before church or burials, and today’s increasing cremation market.”

The Lacerenza facility, which has been recently renovated, is still located in its Eight Schuyler Avenue location- nearby to Stamford Hospital and the UCONN downtown campus.

Lacerenza’s conducts seminars on end-of-life care and pre-need planning throughout the community. The company has produced a 38-page funeral and end-of-life planning guide, which it offers free of charge to everyone on request by simply calling 203-324-0158 or by email: info@lacerenzafh.com.

It’s no surprise that a legacy business like this would now be nearing its 100th year in Stamford. To the Lacerenza family, it’s always been about people; care, service and integrity, timeless values still sought after in business today.

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