STAFF SPOTLIGHT: Carina DiFrancesco, Funeral Director with a Twist

By: Andrea Ruggieri
Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Funeral Director: spunky, colorful, vibrant…  funny? Is this possible? Yes! Carina DiFrancesco carries a sense of humor that will send you rolling off your chair with laughter!  She joined the Bartolomeo and Perotto team in December of 2015, fresh out of mortuary school and excited to fulfill her residency requirements, 2 years later she’s still here. And… oh by the way, she’s a full-fledged funeral director and certified celebrant now. Carina brings something to the field of funeral care that may seem different. Aside from her quirky, silly demeanor among peers, in her professional life her heart bursts at the seams to help people that are in need.

It is an honest reaction for today’s families to be surprised when a young female director shows up to take care of a loved one after their passing. Yet, women in the field of funeral care are becoming more and more prevalent. The families Carina has served have described her as “wonderful, comforting and caring.” She is a fresh face in funeral care, with emphasis on CARE.  

She grew up in the Rochester area, graduating from Webster Schroeder High School back in 2009. Believe it or not, before beginning her journey in funeral service, she aspired to be a wedding planner! How’s that for evolving? Needless to say, as a result of her initial dream, Carina got a hospitality/travel and tourism degree under her belt.

This begs the question, what leads someone like Carina to the funeral service industry after working in hospitality and tourism? Like most, she had difficulty deciding on a career path, so she did what any rational person would do and let the internet decide for her! She found an online test, plugged in her interests, and there it was… a new profession! It screamed an unlikely choice. No one in her family was linked to funeral care and being a first-generation funeral director seemed unreachable to her. But, if you inquired to anyone in her immediate circle, they would tell you that when Carina sets her mind to something, she gets it done.

Most of Carina’s friends and family were at the very least, surprised when she told them that she wanted to study to be a funeral director. How often do you hear anyone in the 20-something crowd, much less a woman take this professional direction? But… Carina talked through her reasons and following her heart and it continued to make sense to her. What initially drew her to funeral care was her love of people; she had the opportunity to be there on someone’s worst day and bring comfort and support when it was needed most. So that was it… she decided to attend mortuary school at the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science (PIMS), in Pittsburgh, PA. After receiving both an Associate Degree and Crematory Operator Certificate from PIMS, she went on and earned a Bachelor of Science in Funeral Service from Point Park University (PPU), graduating summa cum laude.

As they say… all work and no play makes for a dull life. Outside of work, Carina enjoys hiking the beautiful trails of upstate New York. Camping and exploring the finger lakes on the family boat also fulfill her need of the great outdoors. Her dogs Lucky and Benny are the apples of her eye and she likes to think she shares “custody” with her parents and sister. Volunteering for cemetery clean up on weekends is something she got involved with even before her career in funeral service began. Recently trying out her green thumb in the garden has sparked this interest. Over the summer she grew tomatoes, strawberries, bell peppers, onions and potatoes which she picked carefully with the goal of transforming her fresh produce into new recipes.

In recent years, Carina has become a bit of a thrill seeker and found an undiscovered love for adventure sports. She overcame her fear of heights and completed a tree top ziplining and repelling course. The future brings plans to go not only whitewater rafting, but also skydiving this spring. In the midst of all her outdoor thrills, she also has a love for music and was classically trained on the piano in her younger years. Coming from a musically inclined family, it was natural for her to gravitate toward other instruments. She eventually took up the guitar and still plays today. Maybe she will play at her wedding? Carina was recently engaged to her longtime partner and now they are enjoying searching for their first home and planning for their special day.

As she approaches her third year in funeral care, she is thankful for the opportunities she’s already had where she can make a difference in the lives of the families we serve. She gives part of the credit for this gratification to the Perotto family who has given her an incredible opportunity to work under some of the best in funeral care. She looks forward to the future and continuing to serve the community that she grew up in.

Her favorite part of the job?... Getting to know the families on a personal level. She instinctively lends a helping hand and a listening ear to anyone who needs it. She has an incredible gift for calming and relating to the people she encounters. As far as future endeavors go, Carina looks forward to helping young people realize that a career in funeral service is a valid option. Though it is not a commonly chosen career path, it can be incredibly rewarding. 


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