It was the death of his father that landed Albert J. Freyvogel in the funeral business.
His father, who also was named Albert J. Freyvogel, owned a funeral home on Craft Avenue in Oakland. The younger Albert and his sister grew up helping their father by greeting families and opening doors.
He was 19 when his father died, leaving the family business without a funeral director. After his father's death, his mother hired a licensed mortician to run the business while he finished college at Washington and Jefferson University and then mortuary school, said his sister, Helen Hernon of Cordova, Tenn.
On Wednesday, Mr. Freyvogel died of pneumonia at home. He was 83.
As a licensed mortician, he took over the family business and decided to move it from Oakland to Bethel Park, where the Freyvogel family had moved while he and his sister were children.
He chose a location on Fort Couch Road, designed the facility himself and even helped with the construction, according to his longtime friend Jim Cain, of Venice, Fla.
"It turned out to be a very good funeral home," Mr. Cain said.
The new location opened in 1960 when Mr. Freyvogel was 30 years old. For the next 27 years that he owned the funeral home, he never took a vacation, said his wife, Carolyn Freyvogel. She said he was dedicated to his work and the families who needed him.
Mrs. Freyvogel said her husband would receive calls while they were out to dinner or the movies to inform him that someone had died and Mr. Freyvogel was needed.
While working at all hours, he still took time to coach his children's sports teams and to volunteer as a firefighter for the Bethel Park Volunteer Fire Department, where he became a life member.
He died just two days before his wedding anniversary, but still, on Friday when he would have been married for 44 years, a friend arrived at Mrs. Freyvogel's home, carrying flowers, candy and a card from her husband. He had arranged for her to receive the gifts even if he couldn't be there to celebrate.
In addition to his wife and sister, he is survived by two sons, A.J. of Bethel Park and William of Indiana, Pa., and a daughter, Stephanie Hartman of Severna Park, Md.
A Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. today at St. Thomas More Church, 126 Fort Couch Road, Bethel Park. Interment will be private.
Ann Belser: email@example.com or 412-263-1699.