The Kuratko and Nosek families both have deep roots in the funeral home business in this area. Those ties deepened July 13 when Frank Nosek Jr. completed his purchase of the Kuratko Funeral Home located at 2447 Desplaines Ave. in North Riverside.

“The Noseks and the Kuratkos go way back,” said Ken Kuratko. “When my mother and dad got married they rented a Nosek limousine.”

Kuratko’s dad, Donald, opened Kuratko Funeral Home in 1948 after dropping out of medical school. Ken, now 61, took over from his dad in 1980. In 1997 he sold the funeral home to publicly owned Houston based Service Corporation International (SCI), the largest owner and operator of funeral homes and cemeteries in the country. But Kuratko stayed on to manage the funeral home as an employee of SCI.

In April SCI announced it would pay $856 million to buy Alderwoods, the nation’s second largest operator of funeral homes and cemeteries. Alderwoods owns the Woodlawn Cemetery along Desplaines and is currently building a large new funeral home at 22nd and Desplaines. To pass Federal antitrust muster SCI needed to sell Kuratko Funeral home.

The Nosek family has been in the funeral home business since 1896. Nosek Jr. is a partner with his father in the Joseph Nosek and Sons Funeral Home located on 16th Street in Berwyn.

Nosek Jr., 39, decided to buy Kuratko Funeral Home himself when he heard it was on the market. He declined to disclose the purchase price.

He said he is not worried about the competition that Woodlawn’s new funeral home will present.

“To be honest with you, I don’t see it as competition,” said Nosek Jr. “I see it as an opportunity to demonstrate the advantages of a family owned funeral home. I don’t answer to shareholders. My service doesn’t end with the funeral.”

Nosek has a paralegal on his staff, Karen Rompa, who has more than 20 years experience working for law firms on estates and probate. She helps survivors with filing insurance claims, transferring car titles, and other such tasks.

Nosek is currently working to launch a Web site for the funeral home. He will also change the name of the business to Kuratko Nosek Funeral Home.

Nosek Jr., who grew up in Stickney and now lives in Brookfield, is the fifth generation of his family in the funeral home business.

Kuratko, a longtime Riverside resident, was offered an opportunity by SCI to manage another one of the company’s funeral homes, but instead he decided to start his own grief counseling business.

Kuratko said he is in the process of completing the paperwork to get his business off the ground.

“It’s basically going to be public speaking on funerals and grief,” said Kuratko.

Kuratko and Nosek Jr. both said there is a possibility that Kuratko will do some work at his old funeral home, but that has yet to be decided upon.