Pioneer Public – Montana Gabriele

Written By Jordyn Hronec, Co-News Editor

Photo by Jordyn Hronec

Montana Gabriele knew from a fairly early age that she wanted to work with the dead. Now, Gabriele, a sophomore funeral services major, is making that childhood dream a reality.

“I dissected a cat for a seventh grade science project, and I went to a Catholic school so there was only 13 of us in a class…they asked for volunteers, so I ended up doing most of it,” Gabriele said. “Then I wanted to go into doing autopsies, but that requires medical school. So this was the next best option. I toured a funeral home and it solidified it.”

Back home in Swarthmore, Pa., a town right outside of Philadelphia, Gabriele has spent the past two years working at the Kevin M. Lyons Funeral Home. Gabriele continues to work there on breaks from school, and plans to work there after graduation as well.

Gabriele’s responsibilities at the funeral home include funeral planning, paperwork, and other services including general upkeep and traffic control. But she also gets to assist in body removal and the embalming process.

“We do removals, where we go and pick up dead people and bring them back to the funeral,” Gabriele said. “The exciting part is that we do the embalming, and the dressing and the makeup. Because there’s only so many employees, everyone does pretty much everything. I want to be a mortician, so I want to focus on embalming, but one day I want to own my own place.”

In order to become a professional, licensed funeral director, Gabriele is currently earning a bachelor’s degree in mortuary sciences, with a concentration in business and a minor in psychology. Gabriele finds the minor to be rewarding as well.

“I find psychology to be important in my major because we have to deal with all different sorts of people in their worst times,” Gabriele said. “It’s important to know how people work so that you can properly comfort them and make this time of their life as easy as possible.”

Gabriele is looking forward to the rest of her time in the program.

“Point Park is only one of three schools on this side of the country that offers this major where I can get it with a bachelor degree,” Gabriele said. “The program works with PIMS [Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science], so it’s the best program on this side of the country. I do two years here, one year there, and one year back here.”

Gabriele is currently preparing for her junior year at PIMS.

“I’m excited to go there,” Gabriele said. “It’s a whole 12 months there. You start in September and go through to the next September, so for two weeks of my senior year, I’ll be at both schools. You go there from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and there are embalmings on Saturdays…PIMS has over 200 bodies prepared for us to use, and we’re going to put on a mock funeral for our final project.”

Gabriele is excited for her future as a funeral director, as well as the influence she can have over her community.

“I do plan on being involved in my community wherever I end up,” Gabriele said. “Funeral directors tend to get to know their communities very well since people are always in and out of their doors. I hope I have the money to make donations, and help my community however they need.”