Today’s feature in our popular “Get to Know Them” edition is centered on Peter J. Rose, CFSP, LFD, and General Manager of the Betz, Rossi, Bellinger and Stewart Family Funeral Homes in Amsterdam, New York.
While the “Get to Know Them” feature is centered around getting to know the profession and what differing duties and occupations occur to bring death care to those in need, today is our first feature of someone working as a funeral director. Our readership consists of over a thousand funeral directors and it is always interesting to see the different philosophies of those in service to bereaved families.
One aspect of Mr. Rose’ interview that I connected with is how he came to know at an early age that funeral service would probably be his calling. His father died when he was 18 years old and it appears that set his course for helping others. That is not unlike my experience when my father died when I was age 19.
Another thing that Mr. Rose comments on is that, probably because of that experience, he says he “understood what grief is, what it looks like”. I also felt that same way and felt it was a tool that I had when helping others.
Here is Funeral Director Daily’s interview with Mr. Peter J. Rose.
Q1. What is your position and company in the Death Care profession/industry at this time?
A1. I am the Location Leader of Betz, Rossi, Bellinger and Stewart Family Funeral Homes in Amsterdam, New York. I oversee the operations of four locations handling nearly 600 calls per year for our parent company, Foundation Partners Group.
Q2. Is this your first employment experience in the Death Care profession/industry? If so, how did you acquire this position and what do you believe are some of your previous work life experiences that may have qualified you for this position?
A2. Yes. I started working here at Betz, Rossi, Bellinger and Stewart at the age of 16, when I took a part-time job as a detailer for the organization’s two fleets of vehicles. It was a great after-school job and it wasn’t long before they asked me to put on a suit and help out in other ways. When I was 18 my dad died suddenly at the age of 47 and that experience set me firmly on my current career path. Over the years, and through college I continued to work at the business. I became a Licensed Funeral Director in 2004 and was awarded the designation of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP) by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice in 2017.
I think I’m so good at what I do, because I understand what grief is, what it looks like, what it feels like and my profession gives me the opportunity to make it better for others. Caring for others is part of my education, my on-the-job training and life experience. All of this led me to where I am today as a Foundation Partners Location Leader.
Q3. How would you describe what you do in your present position?
A3. As Location Leader at Betz, Rossi, Bellinger and Steward Funeral Homes I do a little bit of everything. I not only oversee local operations and manage the team; I empower community and employee relations. I also meet with families and create meaningful tributes for them as a Certified Celebrant.
Q4. Do you belong to any professional organizations or associations? If so, which ones?
A4. I have been a member of the New York State Funeral Directors Association (NYSFDA) since 2005, where I have served on various committees and am a 2014 Graduate of the Leadership Academy. I currently serve as Chairman of the New York State Tribute Foundation, the charitable arm of the NYSFDA, and am a member of the National Funeral Directors Association. I also am Past President and Member of the Amsterdam Rotary Club and serve on the Field Advisory Board for Foundation Partners Group.
Q5. What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing the Death Care community in the next decade?
A5. I believe the biggest challenge will be creating and presenting meaningful services that meet all of the demands of consumers while operating within the laws of the states in which we operate. Ours is a highly-regulated profession and keeping abreast of rapidly changing rules and regulations will be even more important in the years ahead. The current COVID-19 restrictions on services are a perfect example of that.
Q6. What are the best words of advice you received about working in the Death Care community?
A6. This is a career dedicated to serving others and to do so you must have an “owner mentality.” To lead, learn and be the best that you can be, you need to immerse yourself in the community and lose yourself in service to others. Funeral service has such a long legacy of tradition, deeply rooted in history in the United States. It is both an honor and a privilege to carry on such a wonderful tradition for my family, friends and neighbors in the Mohawk Valley.
Q7. What would you advise those thinking about entering the Death Care profession/industry?
A7. My advice is to take the opportunity to shadow a funereal director or work part-time in a funeral home. Witness and observe the magic and the special role funeral directors play in their communities. It’s an extremely rewarding career for those who want to serve others.
Q8. Tell us a little about yourself and what you enjoy doing when away from work.
A8. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and attending events with my kids. I love going to shows, performing on stage and being active in my local Rotary Club. An occasional round of golf and always a good glass of wine, bourbon and a great dinner are some of my favorite things. As much as I love being involved in my community, traveling and site seeing, I also enjoy my home.