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Krueger Funeral Home
2619 Brewerton Road
Mattydale, NY US
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The family lived in, as well as owned and operated two very demanding "24/7" businesses. When he was four years old they purchased the Alma Motel, a fifteen-unit single story motel. The office was separated from the living room and the rest of the quarters by a partition with translucent Plexiglas wall and a swinging gate that curious customers often leaned over to see what the Kruegers were up to. This made for interesting memories, especially during mealtimes and holidays. All the kids would take turns answering the PBX, which was a monstrosity of switches and lights that required an attendant to connect, dial and disconnect each outside call placed by a guest and a third trip if it was long distance so the operator could tell you what to charge the customer. Howard mastered the PBX at six years old and was renting rooms by the age of eight. Many other glamorous tasks were shared among the children including weeding the gardens, picking up cigarette butts, filling the Coke machine and getting ice for guests. Of course, any of the Kruegers could make a bed in nothing flat with French tucks that would pass the test of bouncing a quarter off the blanket.
The motel was only one of the service-oriented businesses they operated. It was located next door and on the same parcel as the Krueger Funeral Home which was established in 1953 by Ed Krueger and offered many unusual prospects of its own. When the phone rang and brought news of a death call, everything stopped. Interrupted meals, birthday parties and holiday gatherings were commonplace. These little inconveniences were always taken in stride because the kids were brought up knowing that the little ripple it caused in our lives was nothing compared to the emotional strain that same event was to family we were called to serve.
The family was involved in the daily operation of the funeral home too. If they weren't helping with cleaning, setting up flowers, washing cars or tending the parking lot for calling hours, they were doing maintenance like mowing the lawn, gardening or painting. Howard was always underfoot and very comfortable around the funeral home. At the tender age of 5 he saw his father bring a body into the parlor to begin to set up for calling hours. Young Howard knelt down next to the stretcher, laid his head onto the dead man's chest, as if to listen for a heartbeat and with a serious tone he stood up and said, "I think he's dead, Dad!"
After graduating from North Syracuse High School in 1978, Howard attended a partnership program at Herkimer Co. Community College and then completed the balance of the prerequisites at Onondaga Community College and Columbia College before enrolling at Simmons School of Mortuary Science. As the class president, yearbook editor and a dean's list student, he graduated from Simmons and passed the National Board Exam in 1983. In 1986 he became the licensed manager of the family funeral home and has been the Principal Director and President of Krueger Funeral Home, Inc. ever since. His formal education didn't satisfy his pursuit of knowledge. By attending many seminars, continued educational classes and online courses he has improved himself as a business professional and as an entrepreneur.
Howie's other business accolades have been owning and operating the Alma Motel until 1997, Majestic Monuments from 2003 to 2011, and President of H.E. Krueger Snowplowing, Inc. since 1982 and is co-owner of J&H Developers, LLC, performing residential re-developing since 2012. He also became a Certified Celebrant in 2012 and has performed several wedding and funeral ceremonies.
In 1998, following the completion of the new home for Krueger Funeral Home, he was honored by the Plank Road Chamber of Commerce as that year's "Business of the Year". In February 2009 he was bestowed the honor as an inductee to the North Syracuse School "Wall of Distinction" He was presented awards from both the St. Margaret's Basketball program and the Mattydale-Hinsdale Little League for his continued support spanning decades and was also honored twice by throwing out the first pitch at season openers.
Howard is a member of the Onondaga County, New York State and the National Funeral Directors Associations. He is a life member, past President & former Captain of the Mattydale Volunteer Fire Department. He is a past President and a charter member of the North Syracuse Education Foundation. He is also a past President of the Mattydale Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce, the Plank Road Chamber of Commerce and the Happy Hackers Golf League. He is currently a director on the Greater North Syracuse Chamber of Commerce and the North Syracuse School Superintendent Advisory committee.
Howard has served as a Lector and a Eucharistic Minister at St. Margaret's Roman Catholic Church in Mattydale. He sits as a director on the boards of the Pitcher Hill Apartments, the Bessie B. Riordan Apartments, the Vice President of the Property Investment Enterprises Group of Syracuse and a member of the Memorial Lodge F&AM in North Syracuse. He also was a former board member of the North Area Meals on Wheels and a member of the former Third Ward Men's Club. For many years he and Jim Muehl decorated the community Christmas tree in Mattydale as his father did before him. Since then the Mattydale Fire Department has adopted the task. On two separate occasions, with the help of his friends the late Jerry St. Hilaire and Donald Bender, they led the charge of fundraising and hanging the American flags along the Mattydale corridor. The first time was during the 1st Gulf War and again after the 9/11 attacks. They maintained, stored and re-hung the flags for many years before the Town of Salina took over the job.
Just for fun Howie enjoys cruising the waters of Oneida Lake and the Erie Canal on his boat the "Noah Genda", snowmobiling in New York and Canada, motorcycling on his Harley and drag racing his 73 Vega at ESTA Safety Park. He is currently a Road Captain of the Fire and Iron Station 99 Motorcycle Club and a member of the Patriot Guard and the Square Valley Trail Blazers Snowmobile Club.
Howard has two children who both are products of the North Syracuse School District. His daughter Kimberly, who works as a nurse in the North Syracuse area, along with her beautiful daughter, Kaylyn, now reside in Mattydale. His son Kenneth is currently residing in North Syracuse raising Howie's equally beautiful 2nd granddaughter, Isabella.
Howard has enjoyed the gratitude and respect of generations of the families that he has had the privilege of serving. Embracing the community, Howard is very involved in local activities dedicated to the "Village" in which he was raised and humbled by.
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