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The Yankee Express

Mulhane Home for Funerals marks 150 years as a town asset

The Buck Homestead on Main Street in Millbury, home of Mulhane Home for Funerals since 1938.

By ROD LEE

Few people can say with certainty what the town of Millbury felt and looked like one hundred fifty years ago. But this much we know: Mulhane Home for Funerals opened for business in 1872, and is still going strong today.

 Stuart Mulhane and his son Matthew greet spectators during a Fourth of July parade.

Stuart Mulhane and his son Matthew are not making a big deal about the 150th anniversary, or the fact that they are the fourth and fifth generation care keepers of an enterprise that has demonstrated staying power while earning the respect of the communities it serves.
Like the family itself, the former Buck Homestead at 45 Main St. in the heart of Millbury Center—the only address Mulhane has known since being purchased by Joseph Mulhane and his son Dennis Sr. in 1938—has stood the test of time.
Besides extensive renovations that were undertaken between 1980 and 1993, the home has undergone more recent upgrades as well.
“We have added additions and taken down walls to open up the area,” Matt Mulhane said on September 12th. “We’ve made things as large as we can to accommodate any kind of service.”
Stu Mulhane joined the company in 1969, Matt Mulhane in 2003, fresh out of Colby-Sawyer College with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Matt became the company’s fifth fully licensed embalmer and funeral director in 2009.
Their credentials as prominent “Millburyites” and active members of a number of civic-minded organizations are a reflection of their commitment to municipal life.
Stu Mulhane has affiliations with the Millbury Veterans Council, the Charles F. Minney VFW Post, Devoe-Taylor American Legion Post No. 9, the Millbury Lions Club, the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Brigid Church and Millbury National Bank.
He has been on the Board of Directors of Millbury National Bank since 1990, as was his father Dennis before him, according to MNB President and CEO Kate Marcum.
Matt Mulhane is an assistant football coach with the Sutton-Douglas program. He joined the Board of Directors of Millbury National Bank in 2021. Like his dad, he is a member of the Millbury Lions Club.
Stu Mulhane is also a decorated military veteran who received a Purple Heart for wounds incurred in action and the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement in ground operations against hostile forces while serving with the U.S. Army’s 25th infantry division in Vietnam.
Both Mulhanes are “well-connected in the community,” Ms. Marcum said on September 13th.
Stuart is modest and reserved, Ms. Marcum said.
“He is very quiet. He doesn’t like to be the center of attention. He does like chocolate though! That will get his attention! He is Steady Eddie, a big supporter of the elderly and the Lions Club.”
John T. Latino Jr., VP and COO of Millbury National Bank, agrees with Ms. Marcum’s appraisal.
“Stu is very humble but when he opens his mouth you should listen,” Mr. Latino said.
Millbury National boasts impressive longevity of its own, having been founded in 1825.
Mr. Latino said the bank and Mulhane Home for Funerals have adjusted to the difficulties imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which explains why both institutions are doing well.
Small-business activity is picking up, post-pandemic, Mr. Latino said.
“Covid limited their business,” he said, of Mulhane Home for Funerals. “Mulhane is an example of how small businesses” can adapt and move forward from adversity.
Matt Mulhane said working in the funeral trade can be stressful. He has drawn on his father’s many years of experience to chart his own path.
“We have tried to get the word out to let people know” about the 150th, he said. “People do come up to us and congratulate us. We’ve served generations and generations. Families talk about my grandfather.”
With the improvements they have continued to make in the property, Stu and Matt Mulhane have stayed true to the original vision put forth by Joseph Mulhane and Dennis Sr., who chose the name “Mulhane Home for Funerals” as a way to make families feel comfortable in a welcoming environment.
The funeral industry has changed, with different kinds of services for different people, Matt Mulhane said. Mulhane Home for Funerals understands this, and offers not only funeral services and memorial services but personal video tributes, customized online memorials, funeral pre-planning, sharing of service details with friends and family, burial, cremation and grief support.
As Mr. Latino says, “they have changed a lot of the services to offer more, with technology.”
“No one wants to come here,” Matt Mulhane acknowledges, of families’ reluctance to say goodbye to loved ones. “But everyone wants to do something.”
Matthew actually started his career at Mulhane at a young age, doing “painting and small jobs.”
Asked if he still takes on painting tasks, he says, “yes, when it’s called for.”
  
Contact Rod Lee at rodlee.1963[email protected] or 774-232-2999.