From Russia to to Roxbury, Four Generations
*Still Independent. Still Family Owned*
Of the 3 Historically Jewish Funeral Homes in the Greater Boston area, The Schlossberg Chapel is the *only* one to remain family owned. Both the Stanetsky & Levine Funeral Homes were sold to SCI Coporation which is publicly traded and based in Houston, Texas.
Barney “Berl Dov” Schlossberg was born in Russia in 1878 the oldest of 7 children to Chaim Chaikel Schlossberg & Lena Rosenthal. When Barney was 20 years old, he convinced his father to immigrate to America and in 1898 the family left Europe for America, the land of the free and settled in Boston, eventually settling in Roxbury. Barney started as a Chauffer and then became an “Undertaker” arranging Jewish funerals out of his house at 167 Magnolia Street in Roxbury where he lived with his wife, Sarah (Shuman) and their seven children. He later rented a storefront at 195 Blue Hill Avenue in the Grove Hall area and named it “B. Schlossberg and Sons.” It was, by all definition, a family funeral home, where Barney built simple wooden caskets in the basement of the storefront and Sarah sewed shrouds at the house on Magnolia Street.
In the 1930’s, “B. Schlossberg and Sons” moved to the first floor of a large house at 1272 Blue Hill Avenue on the corner of Clarkwood St. in Mattapan near Morton Street. The house was owned by their eldest daughter, Jesse and her husband, Harry Sandofsky. Barney and Sarah lived upstairs and Barney still built simple wooden caskets himself and Sarah still sewed shrouds herself.
In the late 1930’s Barney was joined in the business by his middle son, Louis, and they operated the business together through World War II. After the war, Louis purchased the business from Barney and, shortly thereafter, was joined in the business by his younger brother, Albert, who was discharged from the Navy. Barney died in 1948. Louis became President and he and Albert were a team for nearly fifty years, joined at various times by their own children and nephews. Louis was elected President of the Jewish Funeral Directors of America in 1968 while Albert was elected Commander of the Jewish War Veterans of America in 1970. They were both ardent supporters of Israel often meeting political officials to advocate of behalf of Jews around the world. Albert met with President Nixon in 1971 stating his concerns about about the oppression of Soviet Jews. Louis’ son Ken, who is now the current President of The Schlossberg Chapel married Sophia (Stolyar), a Soviet Refusenik in 1977.
In the early 1950’s Louis built a free-standing Chapel across the street at 1257 Blue Hill Avenue, a beautiful brick colonial building with ample parking.
In the early 1960’s, Louis and his wife, Annette (Lichtenstein) negotiated the purchase of the Solomon Funeral Home on Harvard Street in Brookline, changing the name of B. Schlossberg and Sons to the Schlossberg-Solomon Memorial Chapel.
Then in the early 1970’s Louis, following the movement of the Jewish community in Roxbury-Dorchester-Mattapan to the south suburbs, purchased the vacated Trinity Episcopal 1897 stone chapel at 824 Washington Street in Canton across from town hall. Albert passed away in 1997.
Louis Schlossberg, the beloved President of the Schlossberg Memorial Chapel for nearly 70 years, passed away peacefully in September 2014 at the age of 98. The Schlossberg Memorial Chapel was his life’s work, and it was his desire that it would continue to provide independent, family owned, first class services to the Jewish community even after he was no longer with us. His son Ken Schlossberg, who served as General Manager since 2005 succeeds him as President with Ken’s daughter and Louis’ granddaughter Ilyana, serving as Vice President. Ilyana has worked in various roles with the Chapel since 2005 and is currently attending The American Academy McAllister Institute and expects to receive her funeral director’s license in late 2022.
God willing, the relationship between the Schlossberg Memorial Chapel and the metropolitan Boston Jewish community will continue for many years to come.
Through the use of video and Internet technology, Ken Schlossberg has produced a video history of the Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan area which brings the story to life. It is now possible to not only show this historic past, but also to preserve it for future generations. Click on image to go to “Sidewalk Memories” website.
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