Dealing with death isn’t something most people are comfortable with, and when it comes to choosing a profession, one that involves daily confrontation with the subject isn’t at the top of many wish lists.
But Robert A. Wilson Sr., longtime owner and manager of Wilson Apple Funeral Home, says there’s a lot more that comes with the job than people realize.
Funerals are one step towards the healing process for those who have lost a loved one. For Wilson Sr., knowing that he is helping families to both honor their loved ones and begin to heal is the most rewarding part of his job.
“I enjoy working with families and trying to help them in a time of need,” he said. “I think it’s a big plus when you can do that: to have families tell you after a service, you’ve made the burden so much easier.”
Wilson Apple Funeral Home has been located on Pennington Road on the border of Hopewell and Lawrence Township for nearly 50 years. Inside is a chapel that holds 300 people as well as an additional gathering room and two offices. Outside is parking for 100 cars.
The funeral home seeks to help families plan the service, memorial, burial and transfer all while respecting the wishes of the individuals. The funeral home tries their best to accommodate the desires of the families to have specialized services as well.
“Funeral services today are kind of tailored to what a person wants and their needs,” he said. “We do so many different types of funerals. People give us an idea of what they want and we set that up.”
In the past, Wilson Apple Funeral Home has arranged funeral for families that wanted to use special antique cars or even boats.
The funeral home also offers the family the chance to use a DVD to place photos or slides as a dedication of life. The DVD is shown in the gathering room on a large plasma-screen television set.
They also meet with clients who seek to make pre-funeral arrangements.
Wilson Sr. first began his career by working at a funeral home in Plainfield. His grandfather was also a funeral director. It’s not an easy job, and it takes a lot of dedication, he said, but he receives help with a staff of five that includes his son, Robert Asher Wilson, Jr.
Wilson Jr. is also a funeral director at the funeral home. Both Wilson Sr. and Jr. each live in a house next door to the funeral home, on opposite sides. They are never too far away to come in and meet with families, he said.
Through their years of experience, Wilson and son are attuned to all the details involved in planning and successfully carrying out a funeral service, they said. They pay attention to the little things that would provide an extra sense of comfort, they said. For example, in the chapel, there are recliner chairs lined up in the front for the older relatives.
The funeral home also has information for local grief counselors and different churches and clergy if needed.
Both Wilsons play an active role in their community.
Wilson Sr. is an active member and past president of the Hopewell Valley Lions Club, the past master of the Trenton-Cyrus Masonic Lodge, and the past president Pennington Fire Aid Squad.
Asher is a member of the Hopewell Valley Lions Club, the Scottish Rite Valley of Central Jersey, and is a deacon at the Pennington Presbyterian Church.
Wilson Apple Funeral Home also sponsors YMCA teams.
For more information, call (609) 737-1498 or go online to wilsonapple.com.