From arranging floral decorations and hiring organists to consoling mourning relatives and beautifying the deceased with makeup, the wakes held at the Bayside funeral home are more about the living."I like helping with the families and comforting the grievers," owner John Golden said. It was why he got into the business in the first place.While a student at York College in Jamaica, Golden took a job working nights at a funeral home in Richmond Hill. What began as a way to support himself while studying economics, turned into a passion that would become his career. After one year at funeral school and another in residency, the licensed funeral director worked for then-owner Martin Gleason for 15 years. Five years ago, Gleason retired and Golden bought the two funeral homes in Flushing and Whitestone. Partnering with his brother, Thomas, a retired NYPD detective, he then acquired and drastically restored the Bayside building at 36-46 Bell Blvd. In its first year, the new and improved third location handled over 70 funerals.Some of their more memorable services have included funerals for a bishop and a past AFL-CIO union president. Another was for one of the several victims shot to death in the 2000 massacre inside a Wendy's in Flushing. Just as memorably tragic was the service for First Deputy Commissioner William Feehan, the highest-ranking fire official to die in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.For them and others, Golden sees it as his duty to provide family and friends the best farewell possible. Given the diversity of Queens and the rest of the city, that send-off could take any form."For Jewish ceremonies we often contact rabbis and provide yarmulke," Golden said. He described Chinese funerals where quarters in envelopes were handed out for good luck and mourners wore black armbands.He may need to find a vocalist to sing or a Scotsman in a kilt to play the bagpipes.T
©2005 Community News Group
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