Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Funeral Director in Pittsburgh for More Than Five Decades | Jan. 3, 1914 - Jan. 21, 2015

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Funeral Director in Pittsburgh for More Than Five Decades | Jan. 3, 1914 - Jan. 21, 2015

Article excerpt

Retirement wasn't a good fit for veteran funeral director Frank A. Koren.

Briefly sidelined by a stroke after a half-century professional career in Wisconsin and Pittsburgh, he soon returned to work for another decade at a funeral home in East Pittsburgh.

Mr. Koren died of natural causes Wednesday at his home in Churchill. He had celebrated his 101st birthday Jan. 3.

Funeral director Patrick Lanigan described Mr. Koren as a role model and a mentor. "He was a people person who enjoyed being with folks," Mr. Lanigan said.

Dignified and formal on the job, Mr. Koren had overseen or assisted with arrangements for many well known Pittsburgh people during his almost 40 years with H. Samson Funeral Home in Oakland.

They included baseball great Harold "Pie" Traynor, Mayor Richard Caliguiri, Sen. John Heinz, "hostess with the mostest" Pearl Mesta and philanthropist Helen Clay Frick.

Mr. Lanigan described Mr. Koren as always respectful but not overawed by the families he worked with. "He would say that they were people just like everyone else ... and everyone needed to be served well."

Mr. Lanigan said his mentor continued to look to the future. At age 95, Mr. Koren attended a seven-hour continuing-education seminar he needed to keep his funeral director's license active for another two years.

Born in Milwaukee, Wis., he was the son of the late Frank M. and Louise Veluncic Koren. He attended Marquette University.

He began his career in 1940 as a funeral director at the Kroos Funeral Home in Sheboygan, Wis. In 1957, he came to Pittsburgh to work at H. Samson.

Dick Platt, of Wilkins, worked with Mr. Koren for 25 years at H. Samson. "We made a great team," he said. "I was the embalmer and Frank was the arranger. He loved working with families."

Unsatisfied with retirement in the mid-1990s, Mr. Koren joined the staff of the Patrick T. …

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