New funeral director continues father’s legacy

ST. PETERSBURG — Irving Sanchez, III said he is so glad to be back home trying to make a difference for his community.

Sanchez, a St. Petersburg native, and his wife Judy, recently returned to the area and founded Sanchez Rehoboth Mortuary and Cremations Services, located at 6501 25th Way S, St. Petersburg.

Being a support to families in their time of grief has been a part of Sanchez’s life since he learned about the funeral business from his father Irving Sanchez, Jr., who owned a funeral home on 22nd Street South in the height of black-owned businesses in St. Pete.

“My father was a funeral director in the mid-1960s,” he said. “I was exposed to the business, and l learned how to do what I do.”

Sanchez III, who also serves as the funeral director for his new business, got his director’s license and decided he wanted to try and venture out on his own.

“I went to Seattle and managed a funeral home there,” he revealed. “Then Nashville and St. Louis, but I always had a desire to have my own place.”

When he began to realize that his mother would need more assistance and care in St. Petersburg, he said he just knew it was time to return home.

“The Spirit just hit me to do it, and by the grace of God, we are here,” Sanchez declared.

His wife, Judy Sanchez, serves as the chief financial officer for the firm. She said they work hard to make sure that their business is a blessing to the community. They both believe that it is vital to give back and be a real part of the community.

The couple installed a “blessing box” outside the funeral home where those in need can stop by and take non-perishable items while those who want to donate can leave non-perishables in the box to help someone who needs it.

They also provide various informational sessions at the funeral home. The latest being a class on aromatherapy for grief with a focus on the top nine oils to help support those going through the grieving process.

“It’s just something that’s on our heart, to give back,” Sanchez III said.

The funeral home also offers a host of services for families making final arrangements for their loved one from pre-planning to custom memorial jewelry.

The husband and wife duo recently held a grand opening and ribbon cutting to introduce the community to the business. Judy Sanchez said the event drew more than 100 attendees including Mayor Rick Kriseman and Chris Steinocher, president of the St. Peterburg Chamber of Commerce.

“Several organizations came out to support us including the Alumni Singers of St. Petersburg and the Al Downing Tampa Bay Jazz Association,” she said. “We had food vendors, and giveaways, and people brought food for the blessing box. It was truly a festive occasion.”

Along with introducing the community to their new business, Irving, III said he wanted to use the event to reconnect with his hometown, and can’t express how excited he is to be back serving the community he loves, doing what he loves.

“It’s good to be home,” he said.

For more information on Sanchez Rehoboth Mortuary and Cremation Services, visit www.sanchezrehobothmortuaryandcremationservices.com. You can also contact the funeral home at 727-317-0035.

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