James Rada, Jr.
At a time when people are at their lowest because a loved one has died, Colt Black is there to help.
“I was always interested in a profession where I could help people, and a funeral director can help people when they most need it,” said Black, who owns Black’s Funeral Home in Thurmont.
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because funeral services runs in Black’s blood. His great-great uncle, Elmer Black, owned Black’s Undertaking in Thurmont in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
After graduating Catoctin High School, Black enrolled in mortuary school at Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. While studying in Pittsburgh, he also worked for a funeral home and a removal service. He transferred to the American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service in New York City and graduated in 2009 with his degree in funeral service. He then served an apprenticeship in Western Maryland before getting licensed in 2010.
He wanted to stay in this area with his family, but he couldn’t find work as a funeral director.
“I wound up subcontracting with funeral homes to pick up bodies and embalm them,” Black said.
He also got licensed in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Washington D.C., and Delaware so that he could increase the area he serviced. He even leased a colleague’s facility in Westminster to offer cremation services.
Even with a place of business, he soon discovered that people didn’t consider it a “real” funeral home because there was no place for viewing or funerals.
“In 2016, an opportunity came up to allow me to start out on my own,” Black said. He rented out the old Woodsboro Bank space in the Thurmont Plaza on N. Church Street.
“It hadn’t been occupied in 10 years, and it was in bad shape,” Black said. “Dad and I did most of the demolition.”
The entire inside needed to be gutted and then remade into a place where families and friends could feel at peace when attending a viewing. Because of the thickness of the walls around the old vault, Black decided that instead of removing it, to take the door off and turn it into a nice waiting room.
“We have as nice a space now as any other funeral home in Northern Frederick County,” Black said. “We have everything we need to hold any service anyone needs.”
Besides typical funerals and viewings, they offer cremation, mortuary shipping, pet services, DNA recovery, pregnancy loss, and Jewish funeral services.
Although proud of his facility, Black said that isn’t what makes a funeral home stand out. “What really counts is the service you render and how the family is treated,” he said.
Black’s Funeral Home can create online memorials, tribute videos, flowers, grief-support emails, and more.
“We are personable, compassionate, and efficient,” Black said. “Families need that when they have had a family member die.”
Funeral service room in Black’s Funeral Home in Thurmont.