As a young girl of eight, Geri wanted to be a funeral director. Her grandmother’s sudden death and her parent’s decision not to let her go to the funeral stirred her curiosity into the funeral business. In 1969, shortly after her grandmother’s funeral, her parents moved from Newark, NJ to a farm in Jackson, NJ. There were many changes it seemed that were happening at once to a little girl. Her parents thought it was a phase she would eventually grow out of and were quite surprised when she entered high school and planned her science courses accordingly. They even went so far as to visit a local funeral home where her aunt did hair to see if she could handle being in the preparation room where everything is done.
Growing up on the farm and watching the circle of life with the animals she cared for reminded her again why she wanted to be a funeral director. “The funeral is for the living, and it gives family and friends a place to gather and grieve”, says Geri. “I love the social aspect of the funeral, the noisier the better. We celebrate the life the deceased lived and how they may have been an influence to each and every one of us. Unlike weddings, no invitation is required, and the price of the funeral you select is the same no matter how many attend.”
In 1988 Geri married Michael J. Hennicke. He was working for a local funeral home in Bricktown, NJ. Mike was also working many hours and decided it was time to go out on his own. In 1994 Mike started Tri-County Trade which serviced the funeral home industry. Now on his own he was able to help at the funeral home more and use it as his office. Now the father of a newborn and a three year old, Mike was able to take over more of the responsibility and the day to day operations of the funeral home.
In 1997 Mike and Geri felt the funeral home had reached its full potential, and could not grow in its current location. Landlocked and unable to provide more parking were key concerns. That year they decided to look around in the next community to see what was available. They were able to find an available piece of property and were extremely lucky that seller was willing to work with them. They were in for a long drawn out process that took four and a half years.
Mike did all the layout and design with the architects and Geri did all the color schemes and decorating. Everything seemed to come together. Their current location in Manchester opened its door for business in January of 2001. Their first year was a struggle and again they worked the long hours. They did everything themselves right down to the landscaping to help with the expenses.