New York State Funeral Directors Association

Funeral Director Kristin Catalano and Children Maria, Frankie, Rocco and Sonny

It’s 5 a.m., the phone rings.

“Hello?”

A robotic voice answers, “This is an alert. St. Mary’s School in Wappingers Falls is closed today due to inclement weather.”

The children appear.

Anita Freer had career goals decades ago, but she put those aside to focus on raising her family.

And, just like the late First Lady, Barbara Bush, Freer carried with her the grief of losing a young child.

Though she’d put her personal goals aside, Freer raised children and grandchildren and had no regrets by the age of 72.

When Barbara Bush passed away, she lost a role model.

View of the Elks Lodge, Tacoma, Washington. Photo by John Margolies

The church in the rural, thinly-populated area filled up quickly before the funeral.

There was only room to stand when ceremonies began for a man who was clearly beloved by many.

Halfway through the service, I realized why so many people were there.

Video: Slaves No More

New York's Capital Region honors, re-buries Colonial-era slaves. Found by accident in an unmarked cemetery, scientists pinpointed their African origin and the community held a wake and funeral.

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