Syracuse, New York
Fifteen years ago, one of the biggest funeral chains in North America added Syracuse to its empire by paying more than $6 million for Pirro & Sons, one of the area’s most prestigious and successful mortuaries.
As it does in other cities, Service Corporation International went on to snap up other area mom-and-pop funeral homes in Syracuse to add to its chain of more than 1,200 mortuaries.
Now the Pirros have split from SCI and one has started an independent mortuary, Thomas J. Pirro Funeral Home, in Salina. That move has sparked a fight between SCI and the well-known Syracuse family of morticians over the right to use the name “Pirro.”
“The biggest problem is: It’s confusing to consumers,” SCI spokeswoman Lisa Marshall said.
Pirro Jr., 39, a fourth-generation mortician, said customers are confused because they don’t know who they are dealing with when they call Pirro & Sons to arrange funerals.
“They don’t realize there are no Pirros there anymore,” he said. “People are calling, thinking they will get the Pirros and they aren’t.”