David Lee Hernandez, Jr has been an embalmer and funeral director since 2004 but his interest in funeral service started at a young age. Influenced by his mother Debora, who began a second career working in a cemetery, he spent his summer breaks going to work with his mother in various roles around the grounds.
Immediately after high school he decided to pursue funeral service and become a funeral director in New Jersey. He began his internship at Waitt Funeral Home. Shortly after becoming a funeral director, the firm he worked at was purchased, and after becoming licensed he began managing the bookkeeping, purchasing/ordering and staffing of the funeral home.
Call volume at Waitt Funeral Home began to increase and ownership decided to build a branch location in neighboring Old Bridge Township. David was responsible for the design of the building and was the project manager throughout construction. Old Bridge Funeral Home opened in May of 2007. Although David was in a management capacity, he grew frustrated with ownership that cared more about revenue and less about families and the team members in the locations.
Less than two years later the opportunity arose to purchase the two firms he started his career at and in 2009, David completed the purchase of Waitt Funeral Home and Old Bridge Funeral Home, completing a goal and dream of owning both funeral homes.
Bedle Funeral Home History
William Bedle, eldest son of the late Thomas and Elizabeth (Aumack) Bedle, was born February 17, 1808. Mr. William Bedle married Miss Jane Morrell, the youngest daughter of the late Jacobus and Mary (Brown) Morrell in 1831. In 1838, when Albert, their eldest son, was three years of age, Mr. Bedle and family moved from their old homestead to Keypot and took up residence in a house he had previously erected on the corner of Main and Stout Streets which has since been moved to Kearney Street. Mr. Bedle established a sash and blind business in a large frame building on the south-east corner (opposite the Brown block), of Main and Front Streets.
Mr. Bedle did a large sash and blind business. He supplied a great deal for an uncle of Mr. Rufus Ogden, a builder in New York City. He took a large contract for the Bilsey house and a very large hotel at Fort Hamilton. The Keyport steamboat stopped there night and morning on its passage to and from New York.
Mr. Bedle continued the sand and blind industry, with the assistance of his eldest son, Albert Bedle for a number of years and then sold the business to him, and the factory was removed to a building in Atlantic Street, opened my Mr. Albert Bedle.
As the need for coffins grew in the little hamlet and the nearby community, the undertaking business was developed and Mr. Bedle opened and conducted a furniture and undertaking business in the same building where he had operated his sash and blind factory.
In Keyport's first newspaper, "The New Jersey Standard," March 28, 1855, we find the following advertisement:
Undertaking at Key Port
The subscriber desires to inform the public of Keyport and vicinity, the he still continues the Undertaking Business, at the shop, on the corner of Main and Front Sts., Keyport.
He is prepared at all times to furnish every article necessary for Burials in all styles at short notice and at moderate prices. He has always at command and excellent Hearse with good horses.
He is prepared, in addition to the various styles of Rosewood, Mahogany, Walnut and other coffins and furnish "Huyler & Putnam's" metallic Burial cases the most complete article ever invented.
A continuance of his former patronage is respectfully solicited.
Keyport, August 16, 1854.
A number of years after Mr. Bedle took into partnership his youngest son, Asbury F. Bedle, but Mr. William Bedle remained at the head of the firm of William Bedle and Son up to the time of his death. (Died December 6, 1896.)
Asbury F. Bedle was associated with his father (William Bedle) in the business from his boyhood, and after the death of his father in 1896, continued the business until his death in 1905.
During the late years of Mr. Asbury F. Bedle's life, his son, Harvey S. Bedle, Sr., assisted him, and upon the death of Asbury F. Bedle, his son, Harvey, conducted the business. Following, the business passed to Harvey S. Jr. and thus the undertaking business has remained in the Bedle family passing from father to son for over 4 generations. Nearly all of the people of Keyport who have died have been laid to rest by the "Bedle" family.
In 1934, Harvey S. Bedle purchased property from Floyd T. Taylor and expanded his business to two locations.
As David and his management began to implement families-first service, best practices, and team member development; the firms continued to grow in call volume organically. After three years of ownership, property was purchased for another buildout of a new funeral home to service the Jersey Shore. This began Jersey Memorial Group and the growth that would continue today across three states with holdings of 11 funeral homes, 2 cemeteries including combination locations, an insurance agency, and multiple service brands to reach local families.
"You can’t grow faster than the good people you have. Our core philosophy for growth both organically and through acquisition is great people.”
By focusing on the development of our team we can maintain our high standards of family service and sustainable growth. By selecting firms whose ownership and team share the same values and culture, David and the Jersey Memorial Group team can provide the flexibility owners decision, and staff development that your team desires and financial and managerial experience that have made us a leading name in funeral service.