2013-10-23 / Front Page

Independent Funeral Businesses Merge

Gus Antonopoulos, owner of the Farenga & Sons Funeral Home, located on Ditmars Boulevard, has announced the acquisition of the R.P. Drago Funeral Home. According to Antonopoulos, “The Astoria community is very important to me; the primary reason for the acquisition of R.P. Drago Funeral Home, is to assure Astoria families, particularly the members of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, the Most Precious [Blood] Roman Catholic Church and the Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church and its surrounding parishes have the higher quality and value services that only a family owned business can.”

Antonopoulos negotiated the purchase of the property and will continue to serve families from the facility under the name of Drago Funeral Home & Cremation Service. The facility will be renovated and redecorated both inside and out, while continuing to serve families during the refurbishing.

According to Antonopoulos, “Many of the costs associated with providing quality funeral services, such as vehicles, caskets, and professional staffing have increased over the past several decades and even though funeral costs have not increased as much as food, utilities and automobiles, the funeral profession has made every effort to keep funeral costs within the budget of American families.”

“The cost of operating any business in the New York metro area is greater than other parts of the country. The best way for us to control costs is to combine businesses. Both the Drago Funeral Home and Farenga & Sons Funeral Home have long histories in Astoria having served the community since the early 1900s.

Antonopoulos has been involved in the Astoria Community his entire life, both professionally and through his community endeavors. He is a member of the Catholic Cemetery Board, the New York state Metropolitan Funeral Directors Association and the National Funeral Directors Association. He is active in the Kiwanis Club and the Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, and works closely with the Ronald McDonald and St. Mary’s Children’s Hospitals. He holds a degree in investment banking from St. John’s University, and graduated from the American Academy-McAllister Institute of Funeral Service in 1992. As a licensed funeral director, he founded the Antonopoulos Funeral Home, and acquired ownership of the Joseph A. Farenga & Sons Funeral Home in 1998.

Over the years, many local families have prearranged and prepaid funeral services with the R.P. Drago Funeral. These funds have been invested in state approved financial institutions either as insurance policies specially developed for pre-funding funeral arrangements, or in bank trust accounts. In either case, these trust funds and insurance policies will remain intact. Antonopoulos said, “The staff and I know what an important decision this was for you. It is important that you know the funds you set aside to meet your funeral expenses are secure. Please visit with myself or any of the funeral directors at Joseph A. Farenga & Sons Funeral Home at your convenience to review your prearrangements, and to discuss any changes you may want to make.”

To make an appointment to review prearrangements, or to simply tour the facility and get answers to questions concerning funeral costs, personalized funeral services and funeral planning; contact the Drago Funeral Home at 718-278-0089 or visit the R.P. Drago Funeral Home at 43-10 30th Ave., Astoria.

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