Central New York, Community, Feature, Syracuse

S.U. Student Studying to Become 5th-Generation Mortician

The Thomas J. Pirro Jr. Funeral Home is filled with respectful, polite and professional workers. But one worker may be one of the most valuable. . . and they can't even talk or understand what people are saying. (c) 2018 Mike Mulford

By Mike Mulford SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — At first glance, Tom Pirro looks like┬ájust another senior at Syracuse University. But what someone wouldn’t know just by looking at him is that he is a soon-to-be mortician. Yes, Tom will become a 5th generation Pirro man to enter the rather gloomy, but important, business.

For nearly eight years, Tom has worked with and learned the ropes from his father, Thomas Pirro Jr. He took over the Thomas J. Pirro Funeral Home from his father back in 2010 and will most likely pass the torch to Tom one day.

“One day. . . maybe Tommy will take over,” Jr. said while chuckling. The job is seemingly all but in Tom’s hands already.

Tom has been in and around his father’s funeral home since he was 13, learning the tricks of the trade. Many would feel squeamish or uneasy in the role, constantly being surrounded by death and tragedy. Tom says that all of this is just part of the job.

“It really didn’t bother me,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot and it hasn’t really bothered me. . . to a degree, anyway.”

When asked why he wanted to become a mortician like his father, Thomas Pirro Jr. responded similarly to his son.

“I was around it since I was a kid,” he explained. “I was always cutting grass and washing cars and doing odds and ends because my father told me to.”

Tom plans to graduate from S.U. and head to mortuary school somewhere in the Northeast. He will go to school for up to two years before he enters a residency, before ultimately returning to his family’s funeral home in Syracuse.