Our family began directing funerals in 1896 in Lower Manhattan.
Felice Farenga was the first in our family to handle the details of a funeral service including the presentation of the deceased (usually in the family's home or apartment), gathering items for mourners including candles and bearer gloves, and organizing horse-drawn coaches for the funeral cortege. His wife, Maria, was also involved in helping families who had experienced a loss and she became a licensed undertaker; one of the first women in New York State to do so. Maria ran the business upon her husband’s passing and took her eldest son, Salvatore, out of school at the age of 14 to help. The Farenga’s moved to the bustling community of East Harlem in the early 1900’s and established a store front office. Sal grew up in this community and served the people of East Harlem for many years. He became a well trusted man known for his integrity and desires to help those in need. He was even elected by his neighbors as their Assemblyman in the late 1930’s.
Around this time his oldest son, Felix, graduated from Fordham University and became his father’s understudy. Felix’s career took a pause as he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the Pacific Theater. Felix returned from the war to a baby girl and a new direction for Farenga Bros. Funeral Home. More and more there was a desire to take funerals outside the home, to a more public gathering place where friends and family could express their sympathies and conduct services. The funeral home moved into the stately building at 204 East 116th Street, a former bank, which provided large chapels and facilities to accommodate guests.
In 1957 Farenga Bros. Funeral Home moved to the Eastchester section of the Bronx. Since then the funeral home at 920 Allerton Avenue has expanded and been renovated several times over and stands as a mainstay in this Bronx community. It is here where Felix’s son, Sal, graduated from Mount St. Michael Academy and St. John’s University and began his career in funeral service in 1971. Sal calls this area of the Bronx home and has sought to follow his father and grandfather’s example of becoming deeply involved in the community. It is this idea of becoming part of a community that creates an atmosphere of trust and comfort and requires our family to serve with the highest level of respect and dignity.
These lessons and ideals, in place since 1896 have now been passed to the 5th generation of the Farenga family in funeral service. After attending Fordham Preparatory School and Fairfield University, Sal Anthony received his funeral director’s license in 2002 and seeks to follow his family’s tradition of caring, and above all, listening to the needs and desires of the families the Farenga’s serve. Along with his brother Salvatore, Nicholas Farenga is continuing the 5th generation of caring service in the Farenga Brothers history. After graduating from Fordham Prep and Manhattan College, Nick became licensed in late 2009. In 2004, our family has had the opportunity to begin serving the Woodlawn and McLean Heights Community through our funeral home at 899 McLean Avenue in Yonkers. In 2011 the tradition of Farenga service extended to the village of Port Chester New York. The Farenga brothers look forward to serving a new community and help it flourish while taking the legacy of James J. Gunipero funeral home into the future. Sal and Nick continue to implement the Farenga philosophy that has guided the services we have provided for over 120 years.