Contributed by Fred H. McGrath & Son
Dec. 19, 2018: The McGrath family has been serving the families of lower Westchester for 100 years. In 1918, Fred H. McGrath was the owner of the Olphert Inn Tavern, but Prohibition was looming and so he sold the business and opened up Bronxville’s first and only funeral home. Fred wanted to ensure that all families in the local communities were able to provide a proper and fitting funeral for their loved ones.
Located in the heart of downtown Bronxville, Fred H. McGrath & Son is now a third-generation family-owned and operated business. Originally located at the corner of Park Place and Kraft Avenue, the business moved to the current site on Cedar Street in 1932. The home had belonged to the Kraft family, one of Bronxville’s founding families. Five years earlier, at Fred’s encouragement, the Kraft family had donated part of their property across the street for the construction of St. Joseph’s Church. That same year, Fred’s eldest son, Fred O., joined the business, followed shortly thereafter by his youngest son, Robert.
In 1954, an addition was completed on the Kraft home, providing three large chapel rooms to expand the space available for services. However, the wrap-around porch remains the signature of the funeral home, providing a pleasant space for gathering and relaxing before, during, and after the services.
Fred H. died in 1954, his son Fred O. in 1981, but the family, led by Robert, continued to work, making sure the family name and values were never lost. All three were active beyond the business as well. Fred H. was involved in local politics, the Knights of Columbus, and a variety of youth programs. He served as fire commissioner for the Town of Eastchester and was most notably known as the “unofficial” mayor of Bronxville.
Robert has served on various committees in Bronxville and Eastchester and served as an assistant coach and varsity football coach at Bronxville High School for over 25 years. He has been a member of the Bronxville Rotary Club since its inception and indeed the club has honored him with an annual award granted to a high school student for “service above self.” Robert’s wife, Bumpty, is a behind-the-scenes force at the funeral home, managing the office and operations.
Timothy McGrath, Robert’s youngest son, came on board in 1999. Prior to joining the business, Tim was a grammar and high school teacher in Bronxville and Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, serving as varsity basketball coach at both schools as well. Following the family tradition, Tim is involved throughout the local community. He is a past president of the Bronxville Chamber of Commerce and has been a board member on the St. Joseph’s parish council, the Bereavement Center of Westchester, The Bronxville School Foundation, The Community Fund, and the Rotary Club. In 2017, the Tuckahoe-Eastchester Lions Club recognized Tim as its Man of the Year for his commitment to the local community.
The McGrath family feels blessed to have a loyal and well-experienced staff. Don Cupertino joined the business in 1977, right out of college, and never left. He serves as manager of the firm and is additionally the highly successful girls' varsity soccer coach at Bronxville High School. James Celestino has been in service for over forty years and Eric Anderson for thirty. John Glackin joined the staff in 2003 after a long and distinguished career as an NYPD detective. “They are the backbone of the business,” said Robert. The McGrath family, over three generations and 100 years, has continued to keep Fred H.’s original mission alive, providing comfort and care to the community.
Pictured here: At top, the current staff of Fred H. McGrath & Son (L to R): James Celestino, Donald Cupertino, Robert W. McGrath, Timothy C. McGrath, John Glackin, and Eric Anderson; in text, the current site on Cedar Street, circa 1932.
Editor's note: Published with permission from Nomis Publications, Inc.
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