The first funeral service Houston funeral director Syd Waldman, CFSP, remembers occurred in February 1987. It was for his mother. He was 28.
The next day, Waldman and his family were at the Long Island Cemetery where his mother was to be buried. “As we drove away, I remember her casket wasn’t in the ground. Instead, it was sitting in the rain with flowers on top,” Waldman said.
“What I didn’t know then, but learned later, was because it was mid-February, you couldn’t dig graves on Long Island because the ground was frozen,” he said. “So, I assume she was buried sometime in March when the ground had thawed. In the interim, her casket was placed in storage.”
But, it wasn’t this experience that led Waldman, 57, into funeral service and to eventually establish Waldman Funeral Care.
In 2010, in Houston, Waldman sought counsel at Jewish Family Service, and was directed to Levy Funeral Directors. Soon after, he earned his license to be a funeral director.
In June 2013, he established Waldman Funeral Care, LLC, affiliated with Hardin Funeral Home. “I wanted to provide the community with personalized, individual attention on every funeral,” he said. “I meet every family and answer my own phone, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, if I’m not on an airplane. I also wanted the luxury of focusing on the details, so families can focus on their families and friends and their healing.
“I’m a helper and I want to serve, and I get to do that daily for people having the worst day of their life. And, if I can, in some small way, make it better or easier for them, what better work could there be?
“… Every day, I get to help families honor their loved one, whatever that looks like, and it’s always such a satisfying and fulfilling experience.”
Approved by Chevra Kadisha of Houston, Waldman Funeral Care is a member of Texas Funeral Directors Association, Southeast Texas Funeral Directors Association, National Funeral Directors Association, International Cremation Cemetery Funeral Association and Jewish Funeral Directors Association.
Waldman continues to seek knowledge and new tools to assist in his practice. Recently, he obtained the designation of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner, presented by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice. The designation goes to a select few among the 22,000 funeral directors in the U.S.
“My philosophy and my approach to each family I serve is simple,” Waldman said. “I treat every family as if they were my own … and it’s personal … it’s very personal for me.”
A 25-year member of Congregation Emanu El, Waldman has served as president of the temple’s Brotherhood and for 10 years has been a member of Emanu El’s Memorial Park board of trustees. He has been a volunteer or rider with the annual MS150, from Houston to Austin, since the early 1990s. He volunteers with Literacy Advance of Houston.
Waldman is married to Susan Goodfriend Waldman, and they have one adult daughter.