By Kathianne Boniello
John “Jack” Possenriede, owner of Lloyd’s Funeral Home in Bayside and a well-respected figure throughout the community, died Saturday of a heart attack. He was 57.
Possenriede, a fourth-generation funeral director who grew up in Kew Gardens Hills and took over the Urban Funeral Home in Woodside at age 19, was the longest owner of Lloyd’s Funeral Home in Bayside, his employees said. Possenriede lived in Manhasset, L.I. but spent seven days a week at Lloyd’s in Bayside, colleagues said.
Civic leaders and clergy alike voiced their grief for Possenriede throughout the week as his colleagues at Lloyd’s prepared for his public funeral services.
A funeral service for Possenriede was scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at Sacred Heart Church in Bayside. The public was welcome to attend and a number of clergy throughout Bayside were expected to participate in the service.
Possenriede joined a longstanding family tradition when he took over Urban Funeral Home in Woodside in 1964, which his great-grandfather began in 1895.
In 1972 Possenriede expanded his business by purchasing Lloyd’s Funeral Home on 39th Avenue in Bayside, where he would have celebrated his 30th anniversary this spring. Possenriede also was widely recognized by colleagues in the funeral home business: he was head of the Metropolitan Funeral Directors Association and the State Funeral Home Directors Association.
Bayside remembered Possenriede as a caring man who treated clients who came to Lloyd’s with the utmost respect.
Monsignor Thomas Donovan, of Sacred Heart Church in Bayside, said he was personally and professionally moved by Possenriede’s sudden death.
“Jack to me was an extraordinary man,” Donovan said Tuesday. “He was so quiet, so even tempered, even in the middle of stress you never saw him lash out.
“He was a man for all seasons,” Donovan said.
Rev. Samuel Joubert, pastor of Community Baptist Church in Bayside, last saw Possenriede during a funeral at the church Saturday.
“He was very efficient, friendly and dependable,” Joubert said. “He was a humanitarian for all seasons. It’s really a loss to the community.”
Employees at Lloyd’s said their boss was a mentor who understood how to care for people in need.
Mark Mongelluzzo, who had worked with Possenriede for 12 years, said he was devastated by Possenriede’s death.
“He was more than just a proprietor, a boss — he was a friend,” Mongelluzzo said. “He viewed this business as a celebration of life and the opportunity to care for people when they were most vulnerable.”
Lloyd’s manager, Santo Aiosa, said even though Possenriede was not a Bayside resident, he had a strong sense of community.
“He always sponsored the Little League and any groups for kids,” Aiosa said. “He cared about the kids.”
Bayside civic leaders, many of whom have held family funerals at Lloyds, were in mourning for Possenriede this week.
Loretta Napier said “he was one of the kindest, most loving people that I have met. He was a humble sweetheart.”
Frank Skala, president of the East Bayside Homeowner’s Association, also had kind words for Possenriede.
“I found Jack not only to be someone who was a caring businessman but a person who was a friend and a good guy,” Skala said.
Mandingo Tshaka, head of the Bayside Clear-Spring Council, voiced his grief as well.
“He had what we call a sweet spirit,” Tshaka said.
Possenriede is survived by his wife Donna, his daughter Emma, a sister, Barbara Schwab of Long Island, his brother-in-law Robert, niece Heather and nephews Craig and Robert.
A wake was planned for Wednesday and Thursday at Lloyds, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The funeral was scheduled to be held at Sacred Heart Church at 215-35 38th Ave. in Bayside.
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.