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4216 Sterrettania Road • Erie, PA • 16506 • 814-838-7656 •

John “Jack” Martin toured funeral homes up and down the tri-state area before building Dusckas-Martin Funeral Home. “I was looking to take the best of each place I visited and bring them together to create the premier funeral home in this area,” he says. “We have done that at Dusckas-Martin because, between our experienced staff and beautiful facility, we can take care of everything. We want the family to be together. It is not a time to worry about anything.”

The facility opened in October of 2002 and features three parlors, a den with a working fireplace, a room just for kids, and a state-of-the-art embalming prep room. “We wanted our funeral home to be a place where families can feel comfortable,” Martin says. “I’m very proud of our facility.”

Dusckas-Martin added a crematory to the facility in 2007 because of growing demand. “More and more people are choosing to be cremated,” Martin says. “We now have the sterile facilities within the funeral home should clients want that option.”

Originally, Martin did not see the funeral business as a career option, but a way to earn money over the summer when he worked in the Millcreek Township School District. Later, he began a successful career working in university advancement. But, after achieving fundraising goals and courting donors for years, he wanted something different.

“When I worked summers at the Dusckas Funeral Home, I learned the business from Gus Dusckas,” Martin says. “By a certain point in my life, it was really a calling to serve people that drew me to the funeral business.”

He went to the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, where he earned his associate degree in mortuary technology with highest honors. He completed his internship at the Dusckas Funeral Home, now run by his cousin-in-law, Nancy. She asked him to be part of the family business, and he agreed. Martin saw that he could serve a need by creating a west side location of the Dusckas Funeral Home. “We had a great opportunity to build a state-of-the-art funeral home to serve families on the west side of Erie,” Martin says. “Nancy agreed that this was a great idea.”

The pre-arrangement program at Dusckas-Martin Funeral Home emphasizes personalization. Clients can alleviate the stress from their families by making all of their funeral and service plans ahead of time, just as they want them. “If you can fit it through our door, we can display anything to celebrate your loved one’s life,” Martin says. “I’ve had snowmobiles and motorcycles displayed in the parlors before. These days, personalization is so important.”

Martin will always work within a family’s economic means. “I will never turn a family away,” he says. “Every family is entitled to remember their loved one with quality and caring service from our funeral home.”

Martin also believes service after the funeral is just as important as the pre-arrangement process and funeral itself. “That was something Gus really instilled in me,” he says. “I consider it my job to make sure the family goes through the proper stages of grief. I’ve taught widows and widowers how to do things that their spouse only did, like balancing a checkbook.”

These extra services Martin goes out of his way to provide make him a distinguished funeral director in the Erie area. His peers around the country also took notice by naming him the second-best funeral director in the United States in American Funeral Director magazine for 2012. “I’m honored to have been recognized by those in the community and fellow funeral directors as a leader in the industry,” Martin says. “I’m happy I can work with my wife, Karen, and my son, Alex, in the funeral home.”

The funeral home gives back through educational opportunities to students. Martin teaches a course on death and dying to juniors at McDowell High School and seniors at Saegertown High School. During the course, he takes the students on a tour of the funeral home. “It’s important to teach people how to grieve and what to do when someone they love passes away,” he says. “I am helping them prepare for what they will face in the future.”

Dusckas-Martin Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc. has an open door policy, and offers service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “I don’t have an answering service because we will be there whenever you need us,” Martin says. “A loved one’s passing is never easy for anyone. Our job is to make families as comfortable as possible during this difficult time.”

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