History & Staff
We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.
In more than five decades as a funeral director, James W. Tunie, Sr.
- - reserved but otherwise capable of talking to anyone and everyone like a childhood friend - - had a compassionate nature trained on helping the families who needed him. In the summer of 1941, Mr. Tunie - - then 14 years old - - went to work in the Larimer funeral home owned and operated by the late George W. Gaines, a close friend of Mr. Tunie's parents. He lived and worked at the funeral home while attending Westinghouse High School, and was so impressed by Mr. Gaines's work that he decided to follow in his footsteps and become a funeral director. After graduating from Westinghouse in 1945, Mr. Tunie served in the Army during World War II until 1946. After his discharge, Mr. Tunie returned to his parents' house in Homestead, PA and used the benefits of the GI Bill to enroll in the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in 1947.
After graduating from mortuary science school in 1948, there was no immediate openings available at local African-American funeral homes, so Mr. Tunie worked as a laborer for four years at the Hay's Brick Yard, where he made and stacked bricks to fill orders.
A funeral director apprenticeship finally became available, and Mr. Tunie was able to work at Frances A. Keith Funeral Home in McKeesport, PA while also working a night shift at a hotel in the HIll District to make extra money, Ms. Hawkins Tunie said. Mr. Tunie became a licensed funeral director in 1956 and established his own funeral home in 1960. With the help of friends and family members including Ms. Hawkins Tunie - - who became a funeral director after graduating from mortuary school in 1968 - - and Mr. Jenkins, who became a funeral director in 2005 after 38 years as a mill worker, the modest business grew so much that it had to relocate several times.
Our Valued Staff
James W. Tunie, Founder
James W. Tunie was raised, along with his six siblings, In the then thriving steel capitol of the world, Homestead, Pennsylvania. His parents, the late Rev. Edgar Price and Effie D.Tunie were close friends of the late George W. Gaines, a prominent Pittsburgher and proprietor of the Gaines Funeral Home located In the East Liberty section of the city. In the summer of 1941. a fourteen year old James Tunie went to work for Mr. Gaines. That was the beginning of a relationship which would last a lifetime. He lived at the funeral home and that invaluable and most impressionable four year on call work experience exposed him, from the ground up, to every aspect of the funeral business. After graduating from Westinghouse High School In 1945, he answered the call to duty and served in the United States Army. Upon his discharge he returned to his parents home and using his G.I. Bill's benefits, enrolled at The Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science (PIMS) graduating in the Class of 1948. With no immediate openings available within the local minority establishments, he worked as a laborer for four years at the Hays Brick Yard. In 1953, he accepted a position with the Frances A. Keith Funeral Home in McKeesport. Pennsylvania. While serving his apprenticeship there he married longtime sweetheart, Evelyn Hawkins. This union would produce five children: James, Jr., Terri. Linda, Tamara, Stacey, and the later adoption of daughter, Michelle. In 1956, James became a Licensed Funeral Director, and in 1960, established the James W. Tunie Funeral Home In Homestead, Pennsylvania; a modest operation with a volunteer staff of dedicated family and supportive friends. With his encouragement and support his wife, Evelyn, attended PIMS graduating in the Class of 1968 and eventually receiving her LF.D. After a number of moves (all within the core service area of Homestead) The Tunie Funeral Home, Inc. is now located at 218 E. 11th Avenue: James W. Tunie, Jr., CEO; James W, Tunie, Sr., L.F.D-Supervisor; and Ronald W. Jenkins. L.F.D.-Manager. James W. Tunie, Sr. Is celebrating 52 years of continuous funeral service, His decades of dignified service and compassion to all have earned him the respect of his peers and the gratitude of the generations of families that he has so faithfully served. He is the proud grandfather of 10.
Ronald W. Jenkins, Supervisor
Mercer Keyes, Staff
Benard Cooney, Staff
218 East 11th Avenue Homestead, PA 15120
Employee Since 1999