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By Lacey Gardner

“Undertakings of an Undertaker” – Local Author Stanley Swan to Visit Hornell Public Library


Swan was a big part of WJQZ and Wellsville for many years

In his novel “Undertakings of an Undertaker”, Stanley Swan, a former funeral director, shares his experiences over three decades of owning a rural funeral home in New York State. Raised with his three siblings on a dairy farm in the Southern Tier, Swan knew at a very young age he was destined to be in the funeral business. Yet it wasn’t until the age of 31 that Swan returned to college and obtained his NYS funeral director’s license. Along with his wife Sandra, a Registered Nurse, he purchased a small funeral home that they operated for twenty years. A bout of cancer led him to sell the firm, but he later returned to the calling he felt so passionately about. After almost 37 years Swan decided to write about the personal sacrifices and the rewards of being an undertaker. In his novel, the author shares the good, the bad, and the sometimes-zany stories from three decades of serving the community and clients’ last wishes.

Stanley Swan will visit the Hornell Public Library on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, at 6:30 PM for a short storytelling presentation and will answer questions afterward about his experiences. This event is free and open to the public, and Stanley will bring copies of his novel that will be available for patrons to purchase.  To get a glimpse into Swan’s stories, visit his blog ( or check out his novel from the Hornell Public Library.

Book Synopsis of “Undertakings of an Undertaker: true stories of being laid to rest”

Could these remains, yet to be identified, be one of the victims of Rochester’s Genesee River killer? Did the mourner in the chapel with the casket and the deceased actually think there was an apparition present? Is it legal to bury a man with no pants? Would a man really drive his deceased wife to a mortuary instead of calling the authorities? Those ashes seeping from the fractured urn…imagined or real? The black cat visiting the deceased man’s wake…a family friend or fiend?

These are just some of the intriguing, unusual and funny stories to be found in Undertakings of an Undertaker: True Stories of Being Laid to Rest. Author Stanley Swan spent 37 years in funeral service, making notes from day one, and he has now penned them to paper and put them into print for others to see. Here you will read about the challenges facing those in funeral service – the highs, the lows, the personal sacrifices and the rewards. You will also experience all of the emotions encountered during the day-to-day business of taking care of a community’s funeral and burial needs. Every story is true, as it really happened, with no embellishment, nothing left out…100-percent fact. Step into the world of funeral service, of which little has been written about over the last few decades. Funny, gut wrenching, chilling, unbelievable in many instances. Come take part in the Undertakings of an Undertaker: True Stories of Being Laid to Rest. A book you’ll want to share for sure!

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